BANGOR — It’s an old truism about tournament basketball. Survive and advance. That accurately sums up the Hermon High School girls basketball team’s Class B North quarterfinals experience against Winslow.

The Hawks turned the ball over 17 times, including 10 in the second half, and made just 6 of 14 free throws in the fourth quarter. Still, Hermon played strong defense of its own, and escaped the Cross Insurance Center with a 35-33 win.

“I’m glad that’s over,” Hermon coach Chris Cameron said.

No. 4 Hermon, now 15-4, advanced to the semifinals. No. 5 Winslow finished 17-3.

Neither team ever led by more than four points, and after Ciara LeClair hit a 3-pointer in the closing seconds of the third quarter, Winslow entered the fourth with a 27-25 lead. Throughout the game, Winslow’s tight defense and quickness prevented the Hawks from settling into their high-low offensive sets.

“They played a lot of help side, so we had to take it to the opposite wing a lot,” said Lauren Plissy, Hermon’s 5-foot-11 junior forward.

Plissy and 6-foot forward Emi Higgins (13 points) were the focus of Winslow’s defense, but it was guard Alex Allain, who made a pair of 3-pointers, and guard Maddy Curtis, who scored six points in the third quarter, who kept the Hawks in the game.

“Their post players did a great job. They did things we didn’t expect. That duo (Higgins and Lauren Plissy), they’re great. Their guards did a great job of getting them the ball,” Winslow coach Lindsey Withee said. “We didn’t expect their guards to knock down a couple big threes.”

A Paige Plissy basket with 2:09 to play gave the Hawks the lead for good, 32-31. In the final two minutes, Hermon had numerous chances to pull away at the foul line, but couldn’t convert until Lauren Plissy made a pair of free throws with 15 seconds to play, giving Hermon a 35-31 lead.

“I knew we had to have them. I had to relax and stay calm,” Plissy said.

A key for Hermon was preventing Winslow from turning its strong defense into opportunistic offense.

“With our defense, we really look to transition the other way and look for easy scoring opportunities, but we didn’t take advantage of those. We talked about shot faking around their bigs, and we didn’t do those, but they batted and we knew it was going to come down to the last shot,” Withee said.

LeClair led Winslow with 14 points. Heather Kervin, a 1,000-point scorer, had 13 points and eight rebounds for the Black Raiders.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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