AUGUSTA — Midway through the fourth quarter, Brewer’s Brady Saunders drove through a lane wide enough for a dump truck. He sailed above the rim and cashed in an easy layup before a foul at the tail end of the play sent him to the line for an old-fashioned three-point play.

A single play at the end of a blowout, but one that told the entire story.

Saunders scored a game-high 20 points to lead No. 2 Brewer past No. 3 Skowhegan in a runaway, 58-30, in the Class A North boys basketball semifinals Wednesday at the Augusta Civic Center. The Witches advanced to Friday’s regional final against either No. 1 Nokomis or No. 4 Cony.

“I knew we were going to come out with our game plan, and it worked just as well as we thought it would,” Saunders said. “I didn’t expect to win by that much, but it was definitely a good game.”

The game was nothing like the two regular season meetings between the two teams, contests settled by a combined nine points — including Skowhegan’s 60-57 win at home in the penultimate game of the season.

Instead, a 13-5 run for Brewer early in the second quarter sent the Witches flying into halftime with a 31-19 lead.


It didn’t get any closer from there.

Brewer scored 17 of the first 21 points after halftime, and things were quickly out of hand.

“They just played with a higher level of energy than we were used to them playing,” Skowhean coach Tom Nadeau said. “They got after it.”

Skowhegan senior guard Levi Obert, left, looks to pass while Brewer senior guard Aaron Newcomb defends during a Class A North boys basketball semifinal game Wednesday at the Augusta Civic Center. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

As soon as Saunders capped his night with the traditional three-point play with 4:04 remaining, both teams emptied their benches and gave the starters the rest of the night off.

The River Hawks’ big man inside, Adam Savage, was barely a factor. He managed just four points, and none after halftime.

Kyle LePage led Skowhegan with 10 points. However, Savage and Collin LePage combined for just eight points. It wasn’t enough to keep up with the pace Brewer wanted to push at both ends of the floor.


“Our guards struggled to get the ball inside,” Nadeau said. “It was a very physical game and we didn’t adjust well.”

Brock Flagg added 10 points for Brewer, and he played a key role in neutralizing Skowhegan’s size advantage in the paint.

“The key was just boxing out and being physical,” Flagg said. “I think we kind of learned our lesson last time. In Skowhegan, they got anything they wanted in the paint. I feel like one of the LePage’s had 30 points.

Skowhegan boys basketball coach Tom Nadeau reacts during a Class A North semifinal game against Brewer on Wednesday at the Augusta Civic Center. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“We put in a whole new defense this week, fronting the post and doing everything we can.”

Skowhegan turned the ball over 21 times, including five times in a span of six possessions while Brewer was running away to open the second half.

“I think the kids came in relaxed and ready to play. They had a lot of confidence. They had a game plan and executed that. They took the shots they wanted. We didn’t expect the (blowout), but we expected to play well.”

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