Bangor, Blair-Taylor set for rematch in sectional semifinals

Thursday night the region’s two remaining WIAA D5 schools will face off in the sectional semifinals: Blair-Taylor and top seed Bangor.

Both teams faced off earlier this season, and it was Bangor winning fairly easily.

Bangor does not have the size they’ve had for previous State-caliber teams, but the athleticism across the board is apparent. Defensively this team has praised their collective chemistry since day one. Offensively, all five starters can handle the ball, so the offense doesn’t really have to flow through a specific guy each time down the floor.

“Defensively we just bring a lot of energy,” senior Will Reader said. “Whenever we’re at our best, it starts on the defensive end.”

“They all kind of buy into the fact that we have to pick it up defensively, rebound as a team–we can’t just dependent on one person to do it,” head coach Jacob Pederson said. “On the offensive side, we have an assortment of players who have an ability to finish at the basket as well as play from the outside.”

“We don’t have to look at one person all the time [offensively],” junior Dustin McDonald said. “It’s not one person burning themselves out. We’re all playing together, and we all know we can get there.”

As for Blair-Taylor, the Wildcats now have four consecutive regional titles for the first time in program history, but this year’s squad agrees they flew under the radar.

That’s partly because this squad was replacing four starters from a season ago. It took some time and some tough conference losses by single digits for many first-time varsity players to find their groove, but the Wildcats agree they’ve come a long way since the first day of practice.

“Those tight losses definitely made us realize how good we were, and to not play down to competition,” senior Cain Fremstad said.

“We were feeling like we were getting up there every step, and that’s what we wanted,” junior Evan Nehring said. “At the end we wanted to be right up there.”

“We kept telling the kids that if we keep working hard and putting the puzzle pieces together, we’ve got a chance to get there, and now we are,” said Storlie.

Tipoff Thursday night in Arcadia is at is 7 p.m.