BANGOR — How do you overcome 26 turnovers and win by double digits? By giving your best defensive effort of the season, for starters.

Throughout Wednesday’s Class B North girls basketball semifinal, Winslow defenders harassed and pestered John Bapst relentlessly. The Crusaders struggled to find open shots, and what they did take, often didn’t fall. The result was a game Winslow dominated from late in the first quarter on en route to a 39-26 victory.

No. 6 Winslow (16-5) will face either No. 1 Hermon or No. 5 Presque Isle in the regional final Saturday afternoon. No. 2 John Bapst ends the season 15-5.

“I’m not happy with the 26 (turnovers), but double-digit win, I’ll take it,” Winslow coach Lindsey Withee said.

TENACIOUS D: Entering the game, Winslow knew its focus had to be on stopping Grace Phillipon in the paint, as well as Crystal Bell on the perimeter. That said, the Crusaders had a 6-0 lead two and a half minutes into the game, and Winslow had five turnovers before scoring a single point. With 5:22 left in the first quarter, Withee called a timeout to calm her team down.

“She said, ‘don’t get flustered. You know this stuff. We ran it in practice yesterday. Get organized, get into our sets, and everything will fall into place,'” senior Haley Ward said.

The Black Raiders took the lead for good on a Silver Clukey 3-pointer with 47 seconds left in the first quarter, and after spotting the Crusaders those six points, closed the first half on a 22-4 run to take a 22-10 lead into the half.

Phillipon (10 points) scored on a layup with 6:17 left in the second quarter, and it was Bapst’s final points of the first half, and final field goal until Bell (four points) made a jumper with 3:06 left in the third.

“We just knew coming in that we had to put up that defensive effort. They’re extremely well-coached offensively, particularly Bell and Phillipon. I just believe our team is clicking at the right moment right now,” Withee said.

Bell hit three 3-pointers in the Crusaders’ quarterfinal win over Waterville. Against Winslow, Bell didn’t make one.

“We had no help side responsibilities on her. Hand up, no matter where she was on the court,” Ward said. “We knew coming in what they would do. We knew all of their sets. We knew what we had to stop. I think boxing out, just defensive execution, really helped us get that win.”

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Ward scored a game-high 20 points, including 14 over the middle two quarters, to help the Black Raiders build their lead. Ward went 6 for 7 at the line and had five rebounds.

“She came ready to play today,” Withee said.

The Black Raiders were patient against John Bapst’s zone defense, particularly when the Crusaders extended their 1-3-1 zone out in the second half. Most of Winslow’s offense came from inside the paint or open short baseline jumpers.

“Twenty-six turnovers, that’s a lot, but we just had to stay mentally sound. Just take good shots, get good looks at the rim,” Ward said.

Maeghan Bernard had 12 rebounds and eight points for Winslow.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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