Hawks soar past Breakers to net quarterfinal berthNo. 6 North Haven to face No. 3 Greenville Feb. 15 in Augusta
North Haven — It took the No. 6 North Haven boys basketball team about eight minutes to get comfortable during the team’s Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 12 Western Class D high school prelim playoff game against No. 11 Pine Tree Academy of Freeport.
Once the host islanders settled in, the Hawks flew high and — ultimately — on to the next round of the postseason.
The islanders put on a fullcourt press in the second quarter and did not turn it off until midway through the fourth stanza, as North Haven surged to a 70-31 win over the Breakers.
The win earned the Hawks (16-2) a berth in the quarterfinals, where they will face No. 3 Greenville on Saturday, Feb. 15 at 8:30 a.m. The Hawks did not play the Lakers during the regular season.
On Wednesday, North Haven led 15-11 after the first quarter, while the hosts took a 29-15 lead at halftime and a 53-23 lead after three quarters.
Avery Waterman pumped in 30 points to lead the islanders, while Aidan Emerson added 18; Ethan Mao, 10; Dalton Hornby, eight; and Zeb Campbell and Chayse MacDonald, two.
J.P. Tashomale netted 18 points to lead the Breakers, while Chris Wilday added 10; Zack Falter, two; and Justin Pelletier, one.
North Haven converted 6-of-9 (67 percent) free throws, while Pine Tree Academy made 4-of-10 (40 percent).
North Haven coach Roman Cooper admitted his squad got off to a slow start in the opening minutes of the game as they failed to establish a rhythm against the Breakers.
“The guys were talking in practice about being a little antsy about the game,” said Cooper. “Because they didn’t want to have a play-in game. This is one of those teams [in Pine Tree Academy] that you never know, because they’ve got nothing to lose. And teams that have nothing to lose can come right in and pick your pocket.”
Midway through the second quarter, with the Hawks holding a single-digit lead, Cooper put on the fullcourt press, which forced Breaker turnovers throughout the contest that the islanders turned into quick points.
“As soon as we started doing that, their adrenaline picked up and they started to play basketball again,” he said. “Not only was Pine Tree not able to set up [their offense], but it got [the Hawks] in the mode of playing better, faster defense.”
The Hawks ended the second quarter on an 8-0 run on two free throws form Emerson, a fastbreak hoop from Waterman, a foul-line jumper from Mao and a short jumper off a turnover by Waterman at the buzzer.
The Hawks netted six 3-pointers in the game, four from Waterman and two from Emerson. And the outside shooting quickly allowed the Hawks to move as they started collecting, and connecting on, field goals from close range.
The Breakers had a tough time handling the Hawks’ defensive pressure in the third quarter and quickly found themselves down 53-23, all but putting the game out of reach.
Now the Hawks set their sights on the Lakers, and Cooper is confident his squad will net the school’s first quarterfinal victory.
“There’s a lot of work to be done,” said Cooper. “I am confident that we can get past Greenville. I think this is a game these boys are going to win. Right now their mental attitude is: ‘We’re going to go in there and we’re going to play well.' ”