BANGOR — Ethan Mailman’s dunk in the final seconds was purely decorative. By that time, the Central High School senior had already led the Red Devils to the comeback win.

Down 10 points to Winslow midway through the third quarter, Central took off. After cutting the Black Raiders lead to five, Central went on a 15-0 run that flipped a 10-point deficit to a lead, and the Red Devils took a 49-41 Class B North quarterfinal win.

No. 3 Central, now 16-3, will play in the semifinals on Wednesday at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. No. 6 Winslow ends the season 15-5.

“We stuck with it. We had a bad first half. Second half, we always come out strong,” said Mailman, who scored 12 of his game-high 19 points in the fourth quarter.

Less than 24 hours prior to Friday’s game, Winslow rallied from a nine-point fourth quarter deficit to earn a preliminary round win over Maine Central Institute. The Black Raiders went cold midway through the third quarter, scoring just eight points the rest of the game, but coach Jared Browne said any lingering fatigue from Thursday’s tough game wasn’t a factor.

“I’m not going to chalk that up to (Thursday) night. We’re good players. We should be able to play and make shots whenever,” Browne said. “Give Central credit for defending us, closing out on our shooters. They’re very well coached.”

The biggest game-changer was foul trouble for Winslow junior center Jack Morneault, who picked up his fourth foul with 4:38 left in the third quarter. At the time, the Black Raiders led, 33-25, and Morneault had 12 points and 10 rebounds.

“We thought he had three (fouls). The book had him for four. I’m not sure what the miscommunication was there, but that clearly took us out of our game. Jack made two great plays to start the third quarter, bumped it up to a (10-point) lead, and I thought we were going to roll from there,” Browne said. “Things happen in basketball you can’t predict, and the bottom line is, we didn’t make shots. We didn’t make shots we usually make, and it’s kind of surprising.

With Morneault on the bench, Central’s offense excelled, particularly Mailman, who found almost no opposition in the paint. Beginning with a bucket with 12 seconds to play in the third, and ending with a baseline jumper with 4:31 to play in the game, Mailman scored 12 straight Central points.

“He’s tough. I liked seeing him off the court, that’s for sure,” Mailman said of Morneault. “It gives you more confidence, really, seeing one of their better players out of the game.”

Added Browne: “(Mailman) was a guy we knew we would have to look at. I thought Gray was the big that was going to be more effective, but sometimes other kids step up, especially in the tournament. He carried them when they needed him.”

Morneault returned with 6:09 to play, and finished with 12 points and 11 boards before fouling out with 4:33 left in the game.

Back-to-back 3-pointers by Dylan Hutchinson and Spencer Miranda pulled Winslow to within four points, 45-41, with 1:24 to play. Although Winslow forced a pair of Central turnovers in the next 28 seconds, the Black Raiders couldn’t capitalize with points. Dylan Gray made a pair of free throws for the Red Devils, and Mailman’s dunk was the exclamation point on Central’s strong second half.

Caleb Shaw had 16 points for Central, while Gray added eight. Miranda scored nine points for the Black Raiders, while Hunter Campbell grabbed 10 rebounds.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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