Western B girls: Lincoln Academy proves a point by using a 20-4 run in the final 8:44 to knock off York in the quarterfinals.

Coach Kevin Feltis said that for two years, all he and his Lincoln Academy girls’ basketball players have heard is how they cannot compete against the teams in the southern part of the state. Tuesday night, they proved otherwise.

The fifth-ranked Eagles held fourth-ranked York without a basket in the fourth quarter to pull away for a 50-40 victory in the Western Class B quarterfinals at the Portland Expo. Trailing 36-30 at one point, Lincoln ended the game with a 20-4 run over the final 8:44.

“I definitely think we proved something,” said Gabrielle Wajer, a sophomore guard who led Lincoln with 18 points. “We had a little chip on our shoulder to come out here and prove to people what we can do because I don’t think we did that last year against Greely.”

Wajer was referring to a 55-27 loss to Greely in the quarterfinals last year. On Tuesday, the Eagles fell behind 8-0 and 11-1 in the first, but never folded.

Lincoln Academy (14-5) will play No. 9 Cape Elizabeth in the regional semifinals at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Cross Insurance Arena.

The Wildcats (15-4) had trouble contending with Lincoln’s size – especially when 6-foot freshman Kaitlyn Feltis (eight points, six rebounds) came into the game – and struggled mightily offensively after the Eagles switched from their man-to-man defense to a zone late in the second quarter.

But York still led 36-30 when Erin McCafferty hit a short jumper with 44 seconds left in the third. And the Wildcats looked to add more, but Wajer stole an inbounds pass in her defensive end and drove all the way down for a basket just before the quarter ended.

That started the Eagles’ surge. Feltis scored three inside baskets – two on offensive rebounds – to give Lincoln a 38-36 lead. Baskets by Alyx York and Leslie Sandefur made it 42-36 before York’s Paige McElwain hit two foul shots with 1:58 remaining to pull the Wildcats, who were led by Shannon Todd with 15, within four. That would be the closest they would get.

“They put a lot more pressure on top and forced us to run our offense further out,” said Wildcats Coach Rick Clark. “We let them push us out. And we didn’t shoot that well either.”

Clark felt his team’s inability to put Lincoln away early was pivotal.

“They had a chance to fold and they didn’t, they stayed with it,” he said.

Kevin Feltis said his team just stuck with it. “We came in with a chip on our shoulder,” he said. “It was a lot of scrappy play.”