BANGOR — For a moment, it almost seemed destined that the Winslow girls basketball team was on its way to the regional final. Ready for a matchup against rival Waterville on its path to defending its Class B state championship.

Then Mt. Desert Island’s Julia Watrus hit the shot of her career.

Watrus nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer in the fourth quarter to force overtime, and the Trojans put away the Black Raiders 57-51 in a Class B North semifinal Wednesday night at the Cross Insurance Center to move on to the regional final.

The top-seeded Trojans (18-2) will meet No. 3 Waterville for the Class B North title Saturday. No. 5 Winslow ends its season with a 13-7 record.

“(The win) feels so good,” Watrus said. “They’re the most intense team we’ve ever played. That was a different pace that we had out there, and we definitely need to carry that on to the next game.”

The Black Raiders had a sweet shooting touch on 3-pointers throughout the contest, making a total of 10. But they struggled mightily at the foul line, going 5 for 13 in the game, including 2 for 10 in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter and overtime.

“There’s so many things where you’re going to look back and say ‘If we had only,'” Winslow head coach Brenda Beckwith said. “That’s what we talked about today. Don’t leave that ‘If we had only.’ But, we can’t make free throws for them.”

Winslow jumped out to a 17-7 lead early in the first quarter thanks to a 10-0 run. But MDI had a 7-0 run of their own late in the period, and trailed 17-14 by the end of the quarter.

This type of back-and-forth would continue throughout the rest of the contest. Though Winslow had its success with 3-pointers, MDI had similar success and also dominated on the boards and generated several second-chance shots. At halftime, the Trojans had a 31-28 lead.

“Last year, (Winslow) came out really strong. We kind of got down into a hole,” Watrus said. “This year, we didn’t want that to get the best of us.”

Winslow pressed on in the second half, thanks to the scoring of Silver Clukey, who scored a game-high 20 points. Paige Trask added 12 points. The Black Raiders took the lead back in the third, ending the period with a 38-37 lead.

Winslow led by as many as six in the fourth quarter, but Watrus and teammate Hannah Chamberlain kept MDI in play. A Chamberlain 3-pointer tied the game at 47-47 with 3:40 to play. The Black Raiders scored on the ensuing possession, as Bodhi Littlefield hit a floater in the paint for a 49-47 lead. That was lengthened to 50-47 minutes later, when Maeghan Bernard hit a free throw with 42 seconds left.

But MDI had the ball in the final seconds of regulation, and Watrus was found herself open at the top of the key. She flung the ball into the air, and it landed with a perfect swoosh through the net, sending the MDI fans in attendance into a frenzy.

“It looked like it was going in, but you never know,” Watrus said.

“I’d like to see how that girl made the three, because that was an ESPN highlight right there,” Beckwith said. “I think it was right in (Trask’s) face. That’s a hell of a shot.”

The shot seemed to shake up Winslow, which scored just one point in overtime. A Chamberlain 3-pointer and free throws by Watrus and Alexis Clarito sealed the game.

“Winslow was the defending state champs, and a lot of players that came off that team were still playing,” MDI head coach Brent Barker said. “We knew we had to try to keep the game going, and it’s all about runs. They made runs, we made runs. They made a run, we made a run. We were just the last ones to make that run, and it was a huge deal for us, especially in overtime.”

Watrus finished with 12 points, while Chamberlain and Clarito each had 13 points.

NOTES: Beckwith — a Maine Basketball Hall of Famer — mentioned after the game that she will not be coaching beyond this season. She said after the game how much she enjoyed leading the Black Raiders.

“I had a really good time coaching,” Beckwith said. “I think they know I was only in it for one year… I was just ecstatic to go to practice every day, because they have a great basketball IQ, and they were easy to coach, and they hustled like a son of a gun. As a coach, that just makes your life easy. Just warriors, real warriors.”

Dave Dyer – 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Dave_Dyer

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