WINSLOW — Quickness equals defense, and when defense leads to turnovers, quickness leads to easy transition baskets. Quickness was the difference between No. 5 Winslow and No. 12 Foxcroft in Wednesday’s Eastern Class B boys preliminary round game. Winslow turned 17 steals into transition baskets and took a 58-46 win.
“They’re a pretty good team, but we’re pretty quick. We just outhustled them,” said Winslow’s Justin Martin, who had 14 points, 11 rebounds and eight blocks.
Winslow, now 16-3, will face No. 4 Caribou (15-4) in the regional quarterfinals at 10:35 a.m., Saturday at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. Foxcroft ends the season at 7-12.
“That was our point of emphasis in practice the last few days. We wanted to speed them up, get them out of their comfort zone,” Winslow coach Jared Browne said. “They really like to slow the game down and be very patient on offense. We knew if we sped them up we could create a lot of turnovers, and we did.”
Still, it was a close game for a half. Winslow led 24-22 at the break before breaking the game open with a 14-5 third quarter run.
“We turned the ball over some key times. We didn’t lack any toughness. We might have lacked a little bit of skill, as far as hanging onto the ball long enough for us to do the job,” Foxcroft coach Dave Carey said.
Back-to-back layups by Justin Kervin with just under three minutes to play pushed the Black Raiders’ lead to its largest, 52-36.
“That first half, I thought we played a little softer than I would have liked to, but we came out after the half and really picked up the intensity. We got some easy transition baskets, and that got us going,” Browne said.
Winslow took an early 12-2 lead on back-to-back 3-pointers by Trevor Lovely (16 points, six steals), but the Ponies rallied, tying the score at 18-18 midway through the second quarter on a Hunter Smith (22 points) basket.
“We did come up with a few defensive stops, and it gave us the opportunity to get the game going our way,” Carey said.
Martin kept the Ponies from getting comfortable offensively in the paint, with five of his blocks coming in the first half.
“I just waited for them down in the post. Hopefully, I timed it right so I could block it. I was just the last defense so I tried to make it count,” Martin said.
DK Herman was a spark off the bench for the Black Raiders, scoring 13 points.
“He’s been great off the bench all year. He quietly just does his job. He’s not flashy. He just works really hard,” Browne said.