Second-half turnaround gives Fort Fairfield victory over Pirates

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BANGOR — Some halftime adjustments, and a big second half by senior Isaac Cyr, helped give Fort Fairfield a come-from-behind 64-60 victory over PCHS on Feb. 21 in Class C North quarterfinal play at the Cross Insurance Center.

After trailing by nine points at intermission, second-seeded Tigers (17-2) outscored the Pirates 38-25 in the second half to advance to play No. 3 Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln in a Class C North semifinal. PCHS of Guilford, the seventh seed, finished with a 12-8 record.

A defensive switch, along with a pep talk at intermission by Fort Fairfield coach Logan McLaughlin, ignited the Tigers.

Fort Fairfield went with a box-and-one defense for most of the second half, but changed to a 1-3-1 early in the third and eventually to man-to-man, which McLaughlin thought turned things around.

“We wanted to pick up our intensity and aggressiveness,” McLaughlin said. “I thought we were getting outplayed in the first half, but our fullcourt intensity was much better and I think it disrupted their flow a little bit and made them take some quicker shots.”

Down 35-26, Fort Fairfield rallied to take the lead briefly late in the third quarter and for good on a deep 3-pointer by Jared Harvey 45 seconds into the fourth. Cyr owned the 3:45 of the third period as he hit 3-of-4 of his field goal attempts, all four of his free throws, and turned in a solid defensive performance on PCHS star Bryce Gilbert (28 points), who was limited to one third-quarter field goal.

Cyr also dominated the fourth with some big rebounds and steals and added 10 more points to finish with a team-high 27. After hitting just 3 of his first 15 attempts from the floor, including an 0-for-9 stretch, he found his offensive game.

“The first half I kind of got frustrated with myself and the team, and when that happens I usually don’t do very well,” Cyr said. “Coach talked to me and I kind of cleared my head and started playing better.”

Harvey scored 18 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, Liam McNamee added 10 points and Dawson Watson eight for the Tigers.

Cameron Kane tallied 18, including five 3-pointers, for PCHS.

The first half went back and forth and featured 12 ties and 4 lead changes, but PCHS used an 8-0 run beginning at the 5:05 mark of the second quarter to grab what at the time looked like a comfortable lead. Gilbert scored on a baseline jumper, dished off for an assist on an Eben Cooley layup and nailed a pair of foul shots as part of the flurry.

Bangor Daily News photo/Gabor Degree
BOYS QUARTERFINAL ACTION — Piscataquis Community High School’s Eben Cooley drives for the basket past Fort Fairfield High School’s Liam McNamee during the Class C North quarterfinal game in Bangor on Feb. 21. No.2 Fort Fairfield defeated the seventh-seeded Pirates 64-60.

Bangor Daily News photo/Gabor Degree
HEADBANDS UP PLAY — — Piscataquis Community High School’s Bryce Gilbert drives past Fort Fairfield High School’s Malcolm Langer during Wednesday’s Class C North quarterfinal at the Cross Insurance Center. Gilbert scored a game-high 28 points.

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