BANGOR-- The Orono Red Riots girls basketball team pride themselves on tough defense.
They used that defense to force 19 turnovers, including 11 in the first quarter as they rolled to a 40-29 victory over Piscataquis Community high school (PCHS) Pirates in a Maine Principals' Association class C quarterfinal game played on Wednesday morning at Cross Insurance Center.
"That was our goal to get them to turn the ball over against our full court defense,"Orono coach Jessica Witham said. "We knew we had to be in condition to do it. I think we did a good job the past couple of weeks to get ready for this game."
Orono went on an 11-0 run to take a commanding 15-4 lead early in the second quarter.
"We came out very strong in the first half,"Orono sophomore guard Hannah Clement said. "None of us were really hot today, but we found different ways to score."
Clement led a balanced Red Riots attack with 14 points, four rebounds, and two assists.
Katie Sypher scored 12 points and pulled down nine rebounds. Katie Smith also played a strong inside game for the Red Riots. Smith pulled down six rebounds.
Witham said, "I am lucky to have them both (Sypher and Smith) on my team.".
Orono has held their opponents under 30 points in seven of their 19 games.
"We talk on defense, that is the most important thing so we do not get beat long,"Clement said. "We are in shape so the bigger floor didn't effect us."
The only loss for the Red Riots came in early January when they lost 54-50 against Mattanawcook at Lincoln. Orono won their second meeting against the Lynx by a score of 44-38.
Orono (18-1) will take on the Lynx in a semifinal game on Friday evening.
"They are a unique match-up because they can bring in a lot of kids off the bench,"Witham said. "Whoever they bring in, they do not seem to have a drop off or a letdown in talent."
Clement added, "We had a rough game the first time. I think if we come out strong and play like we know how to play, we will be fine."
Mattanawcook won their quarterfinal game against Narraguagus 46-40. The Lynx broke a class C girls single game tournament record with 28 free throws made.
Witham said, "They (Mattanawcook) are a very good free throw shooting team."
Delani Bennett and Jordynne Littlefield scored eight points each for the Pirates.
PCHS finishes the season with a record of 11-9.