Murray propels Panthers to semis
BANGOR — Add Medomak Valley senior John Murray to those wistful about the impending demise of the Bangor Auditorium.
"I always feel pretty good when I shoot on these rims," said Murray, who led the top-seeded Panthers to a come-from-behind 52-47 victory over rival Camden Hills in an Eastern Class B boys´ basketball quarterfinal Saturday. "There´s something about this atmosphere. I always look forward to coming to Bangor."
Murray scored 25 points and pulled down 15 rebounds to help the Panthers (17-2) recover from a shaky start that found No. 8 Camden Hills with a 6-0 lead before Medomak managed its first shot.
At 6-foot-8, Murray enjoyed a four-inch height advantage over the tallest Windjammer defender. But it was his foul shooting as much as his inside play that made the difference.
Until missing a meaningless pair of free throws in the final three seconds, Murray sank 12 of 16 attempts from the line. By contrast, Camden Hills (13-7) connected on barely more than half its free throws, 17 of 33.
"When you miss 16 foul shots," said Camden Hills Coach Jeff Hart, "you´re not going to beat many people."
Medomak Valley moves on to play No. 13 Foxcroft Academy -- a 41-32 winner over No. 5 Caribou earlier Saturday -- in the regional semifinals.
For Camden Hills, Saturday´s loss was the third this winter to Medomak Valley, and each game was close.
Medomak won 63-60 in early December and 95-91 in four overtimes in late January, so Camden Hills was not intimidated.
The Windjammers used a pressing defense to wreak early havoc. A 3-pointer by Chandler Crans made it 11-3 -- Camden Hills´ biggest lead.
"It was time to change things up," Murray said. "We just had to get it down low."
The big guy scored his team´s first 10 points, including a 3-pointer, to cut the deficit to 16-15 after one quarter.
Medomak took its only lead of the first half on a 3-pointer by freshman Nicholas DePatsy in the final two minutes of the second quarter, but Camden Hills tied it at 23 before intermission.
"They made it very difficult for us," said Medomak Coach Nick DePatsy. "They´re tenacious on defense. It´s a rival team and we knew it was going to be a battle."
It was tied at 43 before two Murray free throws gave Medomak a lead it never relinquished. It was 49-47 after a Connor Hart drive with 37 seconds left, but that was as close as it would get.
Jayson Kuhn led Camden Hills with 17 points. Hart and Crans each added 10.
Staff Writer Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at: