Panther offense struggles late as Crusaders rally for winMedomak Valley held without a field goal over game's final 12 minutes
Waldoboro — In the driver’s seat and holding a 28-14 lead midway through the third quarter, it appeared the No. 7 Medomak Valley girls basketball team was well on its way to an Eastern Class B quarterfinal playoff berth at the new Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.
However, No. 10 John Bapst of Bangor had other plans in the Tuesday night, Feb. 11 preliminary playoff game.
The Crusaders not only turned up the defensive intensity, but the Panthers were held without a field goal over the final 12 minutes of the game and were dealt a disappointing 33-32 loss, which eliminated the hosts from postseason play.
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With the Crusaders trailing 32-30, Karrie O’Donnell netted a 3-pointer from the wing with 38 seconds remaining to give John Bapst their first and only lead of the second half. The hoop proved to be the game-winner.
With Tuesday's victory, John Bapst (10-9) moves on to the Eastern Class B quarterfinals where the Crusaders will face No. 2 Nokomis of Newport (18-0) on Saturday, Feb. 15 at 9:05 a.m. at the CIC. The Crusaders did not face the Warriors during the regular season.
On Tuesday, Medomak Valley (10-9) led 9-6 after the first eight minutes and roared to a 23-12 halftime lead. The hosts then clung to a 28-26 edge after three quarters.
Sophie Cohen scored 12 points to lead the Panthers, while Hannah Mark and Sammie Griffin each added eight; and Brooke Benedict and Maggie Cox, two.
Maegan True scored 12 points to lead the Crusaders, while O’Donnell added 10; Hannah Philippon, six; Madison Higgins, four; and Courtney Benson, one.
Medomak Valley converted 8-of-10 (80 percent) attempts from the foul line, while John Bapst netted 4-of-11 (36 percent).
"We gave up 23 offensive rebounds, and did not score a field goal over the last 12 minutes," said veteran Panther coach Randy Hooper. "Heartbreaking loss for all concerned. Credit John Bapst for picking up their defensive intensity in the second half, as well as their desire to get to the offensive glass all night long."
The hosts appeared to be running away with the game in the second quarter as Cohen netted a pair of 3-pointers to push Medomak Valley to an 11-point halftime lead.
The Panthers then received hoops from Griffin and Marks early in the third quarter, while Griffin added a free throw as the hosts’ advantage swelled to 28-14.
However, True and O’Donnell each hit treys midway through the stanza to key a 14-0 run that spanned into the fourth quarter as the Crusaders rallied to tie the game.
Cohen and Griffin each netted two free throws in the fourth quarter to give MVHS a 32-28 lead, but Higgins cut John Bapst's deficit to two points on an offensive putback with 3:15 left.
The squads struggled offensively over the final minutes of the contest until O’Donnell netted what proved to be the game-winner with 38 seconds remaining.
Cox had a shot attempt blocked off an inbounds play with time winding down and a potential game-winner by Marks rattled in and out with 0.5 seconds to play.