Poland led from the start and held on for a 77-69 upset Saturday over Spruce Mountain in a Western Class B boys’ basketball quarterfinal at the Portland Expo.

The sixth-seeded Knights (11-8) move on to the semifinals, while the No. 3 Phoenix are finished at 16-3.

Poland raced to a 43-30 halftime lead. Spruce Mountain got as close as 69-66 with 1:56 to go.

But one play deflated Spruce Mountain.

Deonte Ring made a steal for the Phoenix and drove to the basket. The whistle blew and it looked like Ring might be going to the foul line to get his team even closer.

But Ring was called for charging – his fifth foul, knocking him out of the game. Spruce Mountain Coach Chris Bessey argued and was whistled for a technical foul.

Instead of the game getting close, Poland’s C.J. Martin hit two free throws. The Knights led 71-66, and the Phoenix no longer had their top scorer. Ring finished with 29 points.

“It was a bad call,” Bessey said calmly after the game. “That’s the problem when you have JV officials working a tournament game.”

“As for the technical, “I did not swear. I was not out of the (coach’s) box. But they said I was out of the box.”

Poland won this game with a dominating first half. The Knights shot 60 percent from the field, outrebounded Spruce Mountain 21-14 and held the Phoenix to 31 percent shooting.

Poland forward Alan Young led his team with 25 points. Martin scored 20, and Derek Michaud added 13.

Martin scored 13 in the first quarter as he constantly broke Spruce Mountain’s press with drives to the basket.

The Phoenix put extra attention on Martin, but the Knights adjusted.

“With me being face-guarded, they didn’t have any help (on defense),” and that opened it up in the post,” Martin said. “We got it inside and Alan had a great game.”

Young said with the open space and his teammates’ screens, “it made it easy for me.”

Spruce Mountain began shooting and rebounding better in the second half, fueling its rally.

But Poland withstood the comeback, led by Michaud at the point.

“It was nice to see him with the ball,” Poland Coach Tyler Tracy said. “He’s a tough kid and won’t back down from anyone.”

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or at:kthomas@pressherald.comTwitter: KevinThomasPPH