PORTLAND — Leavitt was ready for York to try and take away Jordan Hersom inside. They planned for it, and practiced the scenario.
But when it came time to execute in a game situation, the Hornets’ outside shooting game disappeared.
York held Leavitt’s big man to only one point in the first half and eight overall — which still led the team — while the Wildcats couterattacked with a hot-shooting Liam Langaas and a large supporting cast at the other end. That balance allowed York to run away with a 59-38 victory over Leavitt in the teams’ Western Class B boys’ quarterfinal contest at the Portland Expo on Saturday.
“Everybody who helped on him did a great job,” Langaas said. “It was stifling. Whenever he had the ball, two or three guys were on him. That’s what we pride ourselves on, nothing easy in the defensive end.”
Tim Dow also managed nine for the No. 5 Hornets, who found themselves in a 10-point hole in the first quarter. They clawed back to within four to begin the second, but then went ice cold, shooting just 1-for-11 in that second frame and only 2-for-5 from the line.
“We did a good job with our zone at the end of the first,” Leavitt coach Mike Hathaway said. “We kind of held them off the board for a while, and we got some of those points back. We just struggled in the second.”
While Leavitt struggled, the Wildcats flourished. Langaas hit a pair of treys and finished with nine in the second as York built a 28-15 advantage
After falling even further back to begin the third, Leavitt again got itself back into the contest. The Hornets outscored York by one in the third, and cut the deficit to 10 early in the fourth.
“We put a lot energy into coming back, and we got it to 10 at one point,” Hathaway said. “Of course, we were leaving pretty much the same guys on the floor that whole time. They came in with some fresh legs, it was just tough.”
Langaas also cooled off in the third, thanks in large part to Hathaway’s defensive switch.
“I thought (Zach) Goulette did a good job on (Langaas) in the third quarter,” Hathaway said. “He’s a good player.”
York is a veteran team that many picked to run the table in Western B this season. They are a playoff-tested group, and it showed from the outset.
“Putting a team away early is something we’ve been focusing on,” Langaas said. “We came out hard and everything was flowing for us, especially on defense. That’s what allowed us to get out ahead and in control.”
Next up for York is top-seeded Falmouth, which held off upset-minded Poland on Saturday.
“We’ve been here before, and we’re not satisfied at all,” Langaas said. “Three more games, obviously that’s what we’re looking for. One at a time, but three, that’s the big one.”