AUGUSTA — The Medomak Valley boys basketball team will want to forget the first 30 minutes of Saturday’s Class A North quarterfinal game as quickly as possible.

The final six, however, were ones it’ll want to remember.

Carson Murphy came off the bench to hit two 3-pointers in the last minute and 15 seconds to help force overtime, and Patrick McKenney took over in the extra period to lead the third-seeded Panthers over No. 6 Skowhegan 50-46 at the Augusta Civic Center.

Medomak Valley (16-3) advanced to the semifinals, while Skowhegan (10-9) fell just shy of yet another first-round upset.

“We won,” said McKenney, who scored seven of his 16 points in overtime. “I don’t know how.”

Indeed, the third seeds were in some serious trouble. Skowhegan’s defense, A North’s best scoring unit during the regular season, was closing out on Medomak shooters, and the Panthers couldn’t hit from the few clean looks they had. It was 13-2 Skowhegan after one, 18-10 at the half, and 34-23 after Matush Prokop’s three-point play with seven minutes left in the game.

Skowhegan was still ahead 35-28 with just over two minutes left when fortunes changed for the Panthers. Parker Morrison knocked down a 3-pointer with 2:10 remaining, and with 1:15 to go, Murphy hit a three for his first points of the night to make it a one-point game.

Skowhegan pushed the lead to three with a Jimmy Reed free throw with 29.4 seconds remaining, but the ball again found Murphy, and the senior connected again to tie the game at 39 with 18 seconds left.

“When you get the chance, you can’t think about it. You’ve just got to go out and play,” Murphy said. “As soon as you shoot, there’s always a little ‘Uh oh’ moment in your head. Seeing it go through the net was great.”

After struggling from the field for most of four quarters, the teams made overtime a track meet. Trevor Brown (15 points) converted a three-point play for Medomak. Levi Obert (16 points) hit a layup for Skowhegan. McKenney hit a three. Obert hit another. McKenney hit a pair of free throws, and so did Chase Carey, cutting the Medomak lead to 47-46 with 1:06 left.

That’s as close as Skowhegan got. Morrison hit a free throw, McKenney made two more free throws, and Skowhegan couldn’t find an answer on the offensive end.

“At times, we struggled with our offense. We’ve just got to make little plays, and at times we make little plays, and at times we don’t,” Skowhegan coach Tom Nadeau said. “Tonight was just one of those things. … We didn’t get hands up on some guys that we needed to, and they made the shots.”

For most of the afternoon, it was unclear if Medomak would ever find the rhythm. Missed shots and turnovers had coach Nick DePatsy consistently covering his face in bewilderment, wondering how one of the region’s most consistent teams all season had become untracked.

At one point, DePatsy used a timeout not so much to discuss strategy, but to try to uplift his team.

“I got on them a little bit,” he said. “At one point, I’m going to be honest with you, I was positive, told them how good they are, what a great season, there’s no reason why we’re doing this. You get on them, but you also bring them back up.”

Soon, his team began to resemble what it had been. The Panthers committed 10 turnovers in the first three quarters, but none in the fourth and overtime.

All they needed was some help in the dramatics department. Once they got it, they knew the feel of the game had shifted.

“I’m really proud of our boys for battling,” said McKenney, who fought off foul trouble after picking up his fourth infraction with seven minutes to go. “I felt the momentum going into it. Carson hit big shots, Parker hit big shots. We definitely had the momentum.”

Skowhegan got eight points from freshman Kyle LePage and six from Carter Hunt. It was a disappointing result, but one Nadeau knows will be a good growing experience for a team that leans on two sophomores and four freshmen.

“At the end of the game, you need a sense of urgency. You need something to fall back on, and having been there before helps,” he said. “They pressured the ball and forced us to make some key mistakes, so hopefully we learn from it and use it as motivation to get better for the future.”

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