BANGOR — The Waterville Senior High School girls basketball team hasn’t trailed often this season, so trailing by four to Hermon at halftime of their Class B North semifinal game Wednesday night, was their any reason to panic?

Absolutely not.

“That’s just basketball. We’ve been there before,” Waterville coach Rob Rodrigue said.

The Purple Panthers scored the first 11 points of the second half, taking control of the game and pulling away for a 49-38 win. No. 3 Waterville, now 20-0, will face either No. 1 Mt. Desert Island or No. 5 Winslow in the regional final Saturday at 2:05 p.m. at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. No. 2 Hermon ends the season at 17-3.

A key to Waterville’s second half surge was controlling the tempo, junior Sadie Garling said.

“We just had to keep up the pace, because that’s what we’re used to. Fast breaks, they’re not used to that,” Garling, who scored 12 of her game-high 18 points in the second half, said. “When we’re down four, that’s just motivation to keep on shooting.”

Down 22-18 at the half, Waterville opened the third quarter with a Garling three to cut the lead to one. With 5:48 to play in the third, a Garling layup gave the Panthers the lead for good, 23-22. Waterville outscored the Hawks 17-4 in the third quarter, turning what began as a four-point deficit into a nine point cushion.

“We came out and ratcheted up the pressure, and made our depth a strength,” Rodrigue said.

Hermon’s Caitlynn Tracy scored 10 points to pace the Hawks in the first half, but Waterville shut her down in the second, holding Tracy to four points over the final two quarters.

“We just had to take care of (Tracy),” Garling said. “We had to stop giving her wide open looks.”

“We guarded her,” Rodrigue said of Tracy’s low second-half production. “We try to get into the passing lanes, and we elevated a little high and were losing track of her (in the first half). She’s a great scorer. Once we decided we were going to take that away we settled in defensively.”

Sophomore Kali Thompson was a spark off the bench for Waterville, grabbing 12 rebounds — seven offensive — to go with eight points, all in the pivotal second half.

“I could not imagine this season without her,” Garling said of Thompson.

Added Rodrigue: “She’s a nice little addition to this group. She could start for a lot of teams in our conference. Who wouldn’t take eight points and 12 boards off their bench?”

With Thompson leading the way, Waterville dominated the boards, outrebounding Hermon 36-28.

The Waterville girls basketball team celebrates its win over Hermon in the Class B North semifinals Wednesday night at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. Morning Sentinel photo by Michael G. Seamans

The teams had five ties and six lead changes in the first half, as neither team could find offensive rhythm. Caitlynn Tracy hit a pair of foul shots with 1:24 left in the second quarter to give the Hawks a 19-18 lead, and Madison Lebel’s 3-pointer with 24 seconds to play pushed the lead to four points, Hermon’s largest lead of the half.

Waterville’s largest lead also was four points, and that came in the first minute. Sadie Garing scored a layup off the opening tip, just four seconds into the game. After a Hermon turnover, Jayda Murray’s layup gave the Panthers a 4-0 lead 29 seconds into the game.

Waterville had eight offensive rebounds in the first half, but was unable to convert many of those second chances into points.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM









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