AUGUSTA — The authors of last year’s game of the tournament seemed to be at it again.

Then the roof caved in on the Skowhegan boys basketball team. And what was shaping up to be an instant classic instead became delicious, emphatic revenge for the underdogs from Medomak Valley.

The sixth-seeded Panthers (12-7) stunned the third-seeded Indians (11-8), blowing open a one-point game with a dominant third- and fourth-quarter run and punching their ticket to the A North semifinals with a 63-31 victory Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center.

Brent Stewart scored 16 points to lead Medomak, which pulled away with a staggering 35-2 run, while Josh Goldrup and Ryan Creamer added 13 and 11, respectively.

Marcus Christopher led Skowhegan with 13 points, while Cam Barnes added nine.

PAYBACK: The Panthers didn’t try to hide it. This game meant a little extra.

It was the first game between the two teams since last year’s dramatic A North quarterfinal, in which Skowhegan, then an eight seed, shocked an undefeated and top-seeded Medomak Valley team 54-53.

All of the Medomak starters from that game are gone. But enough of the players who had to watch it unfold were back to know the value of another crack at the Indians.

“We all had last year in the back of our minds,” said Stewart, a senior. “We were feeding off of it.”

Coach Nick DePatsy downplayed the revenge angle, but a quick grimace when reminded of last year’s result said enough.

“We talked about it. We didn’t dwell on it,” he said. “I think they had it more in their mind than I did.”

SUDDEN COLLAPSE: Determined as they were, the Panthers’ hopes for vengeance were on hold as the game unfolded into a tight, back-and-forth contest, with Skowhegan pulling within 28-27 on a Christopher free throw with 6:18 to play in the third.

The game was close — but not for long. Medomak caught fire, Skowhegan ran out of answers and the Indians were quickly buried beneath an avalanche of Panthers points and their own mistakes.

The stats were staggering. Medomak scored the next nine points, and after the Indians made the score 37-29 on a Barnes layup with 38 seconds left in the third, the Panthers put up a whopping 26 straight points to blow the game wide open.

“We had to make a decision about trying to pressure the ball a little more, and they were able to get points in transition,” Indians coach Tom Nadeau said. “We struggled to get stops, they hit shots. … We didn’t execute, we didn’t finish, we didn’t hit shots. … It didn’t go our way.”

Skowhegan didn’t make a field goal in the fourth quarter (0-for-8) and went 1-for-13 with 12 turnovers over the course of the 35-2 run, which took up 13:24 of game time.

“They were a lot better than us today,” Christopher said. “We weren’t tough enough today. … I think we were just trying to play too fast at times. We didn’t get into our offense as well in the second half.”

PULLING AWAY: Medomak’s run began ordinarily enough, with Gabe Allaire hitting a shot and Stewart following with a 3-pointer and a drive to make the score 35-27 with 4:06 left in the game.

There wasn’t a response from the Indians, however, and the Panthers, who were 6-for-9 from the field for the third quarter and 12-for-20 for the second half, kept attacking.

“When you’re on the court, you’re not really paying attention to the score. You’re just playing,” Stewart said. “But it makes everyone get a lot more hyped, and everyone gets going more.”

The Barnes basket stopped the bleeding temporarily, but the Panthers kept coming. Stewart began the fourth quarter with a floater and a three-point play, and Goldrup followed with a steal and score and a pair of free throws to make it 48-29 with 6:14 to play.

When Creamer followed with a nifty layup off a Stewart steal on the next Skowhegan series, the Panthers knew they had accomplished their mission.

“When my buddy Ryan, with the Euro step, made a layup, we were all feeling it at that point,” Stewart said.

EARLY EXIT: Even as trouble grew for the Indians, they refused to write off their chances at climbing back with a big fourth quarter.

“I was telling the seniors, ‘If I told you you had eight minutes left in your career, what are you going to give me?’ ” Christopher said. “We tried. It just wasn’t enough.”

Christopher appeared unstoppable throughout the first half, picking up 12 points by the break with many of them coming through traffic and contact.

In the second half, however, it all dried up.

“They’re good. I don’t think they’re 32 points better than us,” Nadeau said. “It was not our night.”

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM

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