It had really been no secret this season that as Ellsworth’s Ryan Petros goes, so do the Eagles as quite often this season the 6-foot-1-inch senior forward, who also figures to be named the Big East player of the year and was the conference’s leading scorer, has been a one-man show this season.

But when Petros headed to the bench midway through the first quarter with two fouls in the midst of a tight Eastern Class B semifinal playoff game with No. 3 Mount View, the No. 2 Eagles showed they are much more than that.

Juniors Andrew Austin and Cote Card combined to score 30 points against the talented Mustangs and the Eagles hit their free throws down the stretch as they advanced to the regional championship game with an 84-65 victory Wednesday afternoon at the Bangor Auditorium.

The Eagles (17-3) will now face top-seeded Camden Hills (19-2 overall) on Saturday, Feb. 20 at 3:30 p.m. in Bangor for the right to advance to the state Class B championship game.

Mount View, which had a sensational season and, according to coach Steve Carson were picked by many to finish at the bottom of Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B division this winter, ended the campaign 16-5 overall.

On Wednesday, the Mustangs led 17-16 after the first quarter, but Ellsworth rallied to take a 38-28 lead at intermission and a 63-44 edge after three quarters.

Petros poured in 27 points to lead Ellsworth, while Austin added 17; Card, 13; Brad Folmer, eight; Tyler Palmer and Jordan Carter, both six; Ross Saunder, four; Thomas Sawyer, two; and Zach Emeigh, one.

For Mount View, Zach Babin turned in a strong 16-point effort, while Dylan Keller added 14; Jason Hughes, 13; Tim Alton, nine; Michael Cochrane, eight; Erick Nealley and Colby Blanchard, both two; and Jalen Babin, one.

Both teams shot outstanding from the charity stripe, as the Eagles made 23-of-28 (82 percent) and the Mustangs 14-of-20 (70 percent). Petros was 13-of-14 from the line for Ellsworth, while Hughes converted all seven attempts for Mount View.

“They shot tremendous,” said Caron. “That’s a great basketball team. They shot over 60 percent from the floor and anytime [an opponent] does that, it’s pretty hard to persevere. My hat’s off to Ellsworth. We’ve watched them play four times now, and at no point did they shoot as well as they shot tonight. They must be getting used to playing at [the] Bangor [Auditorium].”

“That’s about as good as we can play, as far as offensively,” said Ellsworth coach Peter Austin. “Everybody contributed that I put in and they all shot fairly well and when we did miss, we got our rebound and put it in. But defensively we’ve still got some work to do.”

Petros hit the bench with 4:29 remaining in the first quarter, and it appeared right away that the momentum in the game was about to shift to the Mustangs. Trailing 12-9 with Cochrane at the line, the 6-2 senior missed both free throws, but the ball went out of bounds off an Ellsworth player, giving Mount View the ball under their own cylinder.

Keller received the inbounds pass and canned a trey to tie the game 12-12.

Folmer and Cochrane then traded hoops, followed by Keller penetrating to the hoop and finding Zach Babin underneath on a pretty behind-the-back pass to put the ‘Stangs up by two points. Austin came back to tie the game with a field goal of his own, while Mount View later retained possession with 4.3 seconds left, which saw Babin get fouled while attempting a 3-pointer as time expired. He hit 1-of-3 from the line to give Mount View the one-point cushion.

However, with the score 21-20 in the second quarter in favor of the Mustangs, the Eagles rattled off 13 straight points to take a 33-21 edge midway through the stanza. Austin put a shot off the window, followed by back-to-back 3-pointers from Card and Folmer to put the Eagles up 28-21. That prompted a Mount View timeout.

Folmer canned another trey following the timeout, while Card came up with a steal at midcourt and scored on a quick transition layup. Babin stopped the bleeding with a 3-pointer, but could not recover.

The Eagles also outscored the Mustangs 25-16 in the third quarter. 14 of which were scored by Petros.

“He’s tough to stop once he gets going,” said Austin. “He’s got a tough shot to block where he kind of fades away a little bit. Not that he can’t be blocked, but he’s tough to stop.”

“Normally he’ll come out and get his 25-30 points or whatever he gets and we thought if we could shut him down we’d have a chance,” said Caron of Petros. “But everybody on the floor, kids off the bench or whoever it was, they were all shooting really well today.”

While being disappointed at the Mustangs not having the opportunity to compete in the regional final, Caron was happy how well the season played out, including competing in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B title game, ending No. 1 Camden Hills’ long win streak and himself receiving conference coach of the year honors.

“I’m proud of my guys,” said Caron. “We were picked to be last in the league this year, and to go 15-3 and beat Camden [Hills] during the regular season, I’m really proud of them. They’re a great group of kids.”

Click for more photos from the Mount View and Ellsworth playoff game.

Village NetMedia Associate Sports Director Mark Haskell can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail at mhaskell@villagesoup.com.