BANGOR — The Ellsworth High School boys’ basketball team will not repeat as the Class B Northern Regional Champs after a motivated, upset-minded Orono team pulled out a 64-56 win over the top-seeded Eagles on Saturday at the Cross Insurance Center.
In a reversal of the regular season matchup between the two teams, the Red Riots came out on fire, outscoring Ellsworth 18-6 in the first quarter. They ended the half up 31-16 as a shell-shocked Ellsworth team searched for any kind of answer.
The Eagles gathered themselves in the locker room at the half, though, and put themselves right back in the game with a 22-point third quarter. The Eagles got themselves back to within two points late in the fourth, but couldn’t make that one shot to take back the lead. The hole they had dug in the early going was just too deep.
Chance Mercier again led the way for Ellsworth with 26 points. Even though his shot was not falling early on, Mercier still accounted for 11 of the team’s 16 first-half points and was a huge part of the team’s comeback in the second half. His teammates also picked up some of the scoring load in the second half, with Josiah James-Chin putting up seven points, and seniors Peter Keblinsky and Michael Harris putting up four points each.
Though their season is over, the Eagles will return the majority of their team for next season, including a potentially highly motivated Mercier for his senior season.