BANGOR – The Maine Central Institute boys basketball team had two key issues in its Class B North quarterfinal game Friday night at the Cross Insurance Center.

It’s opponent, Washington Academy, had a hot hand shooting the basketball. Also, MCI had woes at the foul line, making just 9 of 22 attempts.

The combination hurt the No. 6 Huskies, who fell to the No. 3 Raiders 56-45.

Cecil Gray led Washington with a game-high 19 points and six rebounds. MCI was led by guard Owen Williams, who finished with 13 points.

“We’ve had a seven-year drought of first round losses, so we needed to get that out of the way,” Gray said. “So it’s a lot easier (stress-wise) from here on out.”

The Huskies finish the season 13-7. Washington Academy (14-5) advanced to the semifinals  Wednesday.

“The reality is, you can’t go 9 for 22 at the foul line against a good team,” MCI head coach Josh Tardy said. “We missed a lot of shots. We had jitters. That’s just the way it happens sometimes in basketball. Sometimes all the effort in the world, if you can’t make a basket, it doesn’t pay off.”

It seemed Washington was destined to run away with the game in the first half, particularly in the second quarter, when the Raiders outscored the Huskies 22-11. The half was punctuated by a fallaway jumper at the buzzer by Washington guard Hsin-Wei Lin, swish and all, to give his team a 36-20 halftime lead.

“Washington Academy hit some big shots, they shot well from the foul line,” Tardy said. “That was the difference.”

But the Huskies continued to fight. Thanks to a 9-0 run, highlighted by the outside shooting of Gavin McArthur, they pulled within 43-34 by the end of the third quarter. Williams helped take the game over with a jumper and a layup and by the midway point in the fourth quarter, MCI trailed Washington 45-40. It would be the closest the Huskies would come to overtaking the Raiders.

“We didn’t give up, we kept fighting,” Tardy said. “I wish we had another eight minutes.”

Gray stepped his game up in the final three minutes of play low in the post, and ultimately foul trouble – and the Raiders ability to make their free throws – sealed the game.

“We just needed high energy (late in the game),” Gray said. “When we have high energy, we’ve usually done a lot better this season. We just needed high energy and more rebounding.”

Lin and Andon Wood each scored 13 points for the Raiders. Dominic Wilson added nine points for MCI.

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