There was so much on the line when the Islesboro and Vinalhaven boys basketball squads stepped onto the coveted Augusta Civic Center court late Saturday morning, including a berth in the Western Class D semifinal playoffs.

While that postseason advancement was the most important element, perhaps nearly as meaningful was bragging rights for Penobscot Bay as the two island teams collided at a neutral site in a rare playoff meeting.

When the final horn sounded, No. 5 Vinahaven (10-6) had pulled off the mild upset of No. 4 Islesboro (16-3), securing a 63-55 regional quarterfinal playoff win.

“Our team was amazing,” said sophomore Brian Stanley. “Everyone had the best game and like nobody was the worst player out there or anything like that. We just came together as a team and won that game.”

“I’m very, very proud of my boys. They played smart most of the game,” said Vinalhaven coach Matt Slivinsky. “We are very happy and sad at the same time because Islesboro [is a] fellow island team.”

”When they get to this point we hate to be the ones to put them out [of the tournament], but at the same time, they are our opponent today and we lost to them big time the first time [this season] so we had something to prove and we went out and did it,” Slivinsky said.

While the more playoff experienced Vikings are the defending regional runners-up and Vinalhaven School has twice the enrollment as Islesboro Central School, the Eagles were coming off a 16-win regular season, including a 28-point victory over Vinalhaven in an earlier game this winter.

However, on Saturday, the Vikings certainly brought their “A” game to Augusta and implemented it to the tune of an eight-point decision over their island foes.

Steve Osgood was one of the main reasons the Vikings pulled out the victory as he dumped in 28 points, including 14 in the pivotal fourth quarter.

“We have been practicing all week because we knew they were a tough team and we had it play our best, which we did,” Osgood said. “It wasn’t just me scoring, it was everybody just distributing the ball for everybody and passing it and they just did great.”

Osgood said Vinalhaven did have a slight advantage because it had been to Augusta in the past.

Perhaps all three Midcoast islands, Vinalhaven, North Haven and Islesboro, rose a little in the water Saturday as large numbers of their winter population made the trip to Augusta two watch the big game.

Vinalhaven moves on to face No. 1 Forest Hills of Jackman (14-5, after a 54-51 quarterfinal victory over No. 8 Rangeley, which finished 10-9) in the semifinals on Wednesday, Feb. 23 at 11:30 a.m. in Augusta.

During the regular season. the Vikings beat Rangeley twice, 58-36 and 53-38, and split with Forest Hills, winning 57-41 and losing 55-47.

In their only regular-season meeting, Islesboro defeated Vinalhaven 56-28 in a game at Point Lookout in Northport.

Also scoring for the Vikings in Saturday’s playoff game were Brian Stanley and Bobby Beckman, both with 14 points; Dillon Ames, six; and Tyler Chilles, one. Vinalhaven netted 15-of-31 free throws (49 percent).

For Islesboro, D.J. Johnson tossed in 23 points; Jason Hatch, 16; Gerard Scherr, seven; Max Mahan, six; and Charlie Cilley, three. The Eagles stayed close by making 9-of-11 free throws (82 percent) and a whopping eight 3-pointers, including three from Johnson and two each from Hatch and Scherr.

“I’m proud of them, the way they fought,” said Islesboro coach Andrew Leach. “Even in the locker room after the loss, there wasn’t a lot of hanging their heads. They knew they played well. It just came down to shots didn’t fall and Vinalhaven really, you have to, to give them a lot of credit. They really played their best game that I have ever seen them play. They really fought hard.”

The game was tied 13-13 after one quarter before Vinalhaven grabbed a 30-22 halftime cushion. The game again was tense in the third quarter as both teams traded the lead. By the end of the third stanza it was tied 39-39 thanks to a buzzer-beating hoop from Viking Beckman.

The final eight minutes proved the difference as Vinalhaven outscored Islesboro 24-16 during that time, passing a 43-43 tie with five minutes to go.

Interestingly the teams scored in much different ways in the crucial fourth stanza. Islesboro netted five floor baskets, including four treys, and a foul shot. The Vikings, on the hand, had five two-point hoops and made 14-of-26 foul shots (54 percent).

In the fourth stanza, Osgood made 6-of-11 foul shots, Stanley 3-of-4 and Beckman 5-of-11.

Beckman said Western Class D is even this year and was confident his team could win, despite the earller regular-season defeat to Islesboro. “We knew we could beat any opponent. Every team we played we have either beat them twice or split with them so there isn’t anyone here we cant compete with,” he said. “This last week we have really come together and had a good game plan for this game.”

Coach Leach said that his team played a strong game but the players’ shots just would not fall through the net in the second half. Johnson said “we were worried a little too much about what they were doing and not worried enough about ourselves.”

The coach, though was proud of the Eagles’ play Saturday and throughout the season.

“It was a great season,” Leach said. “I told the guys in the locker room I’m proud of them, I’m proud to be a part of it. The season was great. They played their butts off. They played their butts off today they had nothing to be hanging their heads about.”

That was true for Johnson. He said he talked to Thomas Tatro, a member of a previous Islesboro team that was undefeated and was unexpectantly ousted in the first round of playoffs years ago, before Saturday’s game.

“[Tatro] said his only regret was that he didn’t leave everything he had on the floor [in that game,” Johnson said. “I made sure that’s exactly what I did. I left everything I had. I couldn’t be happier with everyone that did what they did. I gave it my all and they outplayed us. We didn’t beat ourselves, they beat us.”

Village NetMedia Regional Editor/Sports Director Ken Waltz can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail at kwaltz@villagesoup.com.