PORTLAND — The No. 4 Medomak Valley boys basketball team had quite a debut at the Portland Expo this week, with the Panthers one win from their first regional title in seven years.

The Panthers, who squared off with upset-minded and No. 9 Maranacook of Readfield on Tuesday, Feb. 22, scored the first seven points and never trailed on way to a convincing 77-49 Class B South semifinal playoff victory at the Expo.

Medomak Valley’s Kory Donlin (15), along with Maranacook’s Chris Reid, left, and Nick Florek. Photo by Mark Haskell

With the high school court win, Medomak Valley (17-4) advances to the regional championship game, where it will face No. 2 Yarmouth (18-3) on Saturday, Feb. 26 at 2 p.m. at the Expo. This is a change due to the forecast of inclement weather the previous day. The game originally was scheduled for Friday, Feb. 25 at 3:45 p.m. at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland.

Yarmouth defeated No. 3 York 50-41 in the other semifinal Tuesday night.

With the loss, Maranacook’s season wrapped at 11-9. The Black Bears and Panthers split two regular-season contests.

Medomak Valley’s Patrick McKenney, facing. Photo by Mark Haskell

On Tuesday, Medomak Valley jumped to a 22-8 first-quarter lead before it extended its advantage to 37-16 at halftime and 54-30 after three quarters.

The Panthers’ balanced scoring was led by Trevor Brown with 13 points, while Patrick McKenney, Jake Bickmore and Gabe Lash added 10; Finn Parmley and Jacob Craig, eight; Blake Morrison, seven; Jaiden Starr, five; Kory Donlin, three; Gavin Clark, two; and Kevin Sincyr, one. Brown added six rebounds and three steals, while Starr also had six boards.

Tyler Hreben led the Black Bears with 17 points, while Brayden St. Pierre added 10; Brandon Chilton, eight; Chris Reid, six; Nick Wilson, five; and Jacob McLaughlin, three.

Medomak Valley was 13-of-19 (68 percent) from the foul line, while Maranacook was 12-of-20 (60 percent).

“Very happy [with the win],” said Panther coach Nick DePatsy. “A total team effort. We played as one all night, which has been a major goal of ours all season. Defensively we were consistent all night [and] run outs were successful, especially in the first half. Different people stepped up all night at different times.”

Medomak Valley’s Gabe Lash. Photo by Mark Haskell

The win appears to have come at a cost as Bickmore limped out of the game with a non-contact injury mere seconds into the start of the second half.

Bickmore, a senior, was on crutches during the waning minutes of the game and appears unlikely to play in Friday’s regional championship.

“Losing Jake hurts and we are hoping everything works out for him and us before the finals,” said DePatsy. “Being a senior and how hard he works on the floor and what he means to this team … it’s difficult for all of us.”

Medomak Valley’s Jacob Craig. Photo by Mark Haskell

McKenney buried a three-pointer mere seconds into the game, which sparked a 7-0 run after jumpers by Bickmore and Craig, which prompted a Maranacook timeout with 6:10 to go.

The Black Bears were able to cut their deficit to four points moments later, including a short jumper by Hreben, but a long baseline jumper form Craig and a triple by Bickmore allowed the Panthers to prowl to a 14-5 lead.

Medomak Valley’s Trevor Brown, right, and Jake Bickmore, left, along with Maranacook’s Nick Florek. Photo by Mark Haskell

St. Pierre countered with a three-pointer, but Medomak Valley ended the stanza on an 8-0 run after a short jumper from Bickmore — who had a dime of an assist on a baseball-type throw to a streaking Brown for the next layup — while Brown did the same moments later on back-to-back scores by Starr to make the score 22-8.

The Black Bears found themselves down 27-14 after a pair of baskets, but the Panthers then got a three-point play from Brown, a fast-break layup from Morrison and a three-pointer by Bickmore to make the score 35-14 with roughly three minutes to play in the half.

Medomak Valley’s Trevor Brow (31) and Kory Donlin (15), along with Maranacook’s Tyler Hreben, among others. Photo by Mark Haskell

After Bickmore went down with his injury with 7:09 to play in the third, the game went a bit sideways as St. Pierre and coach Travis Magnusson were called for technical fouls less than a minute apart, which resulted in McKenney burying 3-of-4 foul shots, which made the score 44-16 with 5:25 to go.

McKenney, Morrison and Craig were in foul trouble late in the game, which, coupled with Bickmore’s injury, forced other players onto the floor, namely, freshman Lash, who scored his 10 points in the fourth quarter.

Medomak Valley’s Kevin Sincyr, left, and Gabe Lash, right, along with Maranacook’s Keagan McClure. Photo by Mark Haskell

Lash, a swing player, had 10 varsity points coming into Tuesday’s semifinal.

Donlin also had a coast-to-coast layup to end the third quarter, which gave Medomak Valley a 54-30 advantage. Maranacook got no closer than 20 points the rest of the way.

Prior to last season, where there was no state basketball tournament due to COVID-19, Magnusson’s Black Bears were the defending Class B South regional champions and lost a two-point heartbreaker in the state final to Caribou at the buzzer.

Magnusson also coached Dirigo of Dixfield to a state Class C title in 2012.

Panther coach Nick DePatsy also coached the Panthers to regional championship victories in 2013 and 2015, including a two-point heartbreaker in the state final to Cape Elizabeth at the buzzer.

Interestingly, DePatsy coached Magnusson in basketball four years at Class C Georges Valley of Thomaston. Magnusson, who graduated from GVHS in 2002, scored more than 2,000 points during his days with the Buccaneers and was the only player in school history to have his jersey number (14) retired.

The opponents split two games this season as the Black Bears earned a 62-58 win on Dec. 29 at Readfield, while the Panthers returned the favor with a 76-49 victory on Jan. 17 at Waldoboro.

Medomak Valley defeated No. 13 Oak Hill of Wales 79-43 in the prelims on Feb. 15 at Waldoboro and No. 5 Lisbon of Lisbon Falls 60-47 in the quarterfinals on Friday, Feb. 18 at the Expo.

Maranacook defeated No. 7 Lake Region of Naples 55-45 in the prelims and knocked off top-seeded Spruce Mountain of Jay 38-31 in the quarterfinals on Friday, Feb. 18 at the Expo.