AUGUSTA – The mystery team of this year’s Western Class D boys’ basketball tournament cleared up a few things Saturday morning.

Second-seeded and unbeaten for a reason, Gould Academy raced to a 54-34 quarterfinal victory over No. 7 Forest Hills of Jackman at Augusta Civic Center.

With arguably its best player, Ian Siekman, limited to three late points due to foul trouble and the flow of the game, Gould turned to fellow seniors T.L. Tutor and Evan Bruens to chase away the Tigers.

Tutor turned in 20 points, eight assists, six steals and five rebounds. Bruens scored 14 of his 16 in the first half, when the Huskies (15-0) mounted a modest 26-20 lead.

“That’s been our team all season,” said Tutor. “We’ve had other games where Ian had 25 points and I didn’t score at all. And Evan’s always got a nice stroke going.”

Gould makes a rare semifinal appearance at 10 a.m. Wednesday against No. 3 Valley, which will be seeking its 10th consecutive berth in the Western final.

“I’ve seen both teams, and I think Gould can beat them,” said Forest Hills coach Anthony Amero, whose team had its 11-game winning streak snapped and finished at 15-5.

Forest Hills saw Gould squirm away with a 14-3 disparity in the third period. Tutor struck for seven points in that stanza. Seth Gray added a timely 3-pointer, and frontcourt reserve Jerry Kan chipped in a big second-chance bucket.

Turnovers (30 of them) and free-throw struggles (9-of-21) tamed the Tigers.

“We missed a lay-up and I think six straight free throws, while (Siekman) was on the bench in the first half,” Amero said. “If we make some of those, maybe we’re tied or we’re up by a couple instead of down six at the half, and maybe it’s a different story.”

Siekman set the tone prior to his unexpected departure with six first-half blocked shots, five in the first quarter alone. He also finished with 10 rebounds, five assists and four steals.

“They were definitely looking inside,” Tutor said. “I think we did a good job shutting them down.”

Zach Achey, one of three senior starters for Forest Hills, led the Tigers with 15 points and 20 rebounds.


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