Regional Final Friday


Regional Final Friday

The Regional Finals kicked off yesterday afternoon at the Expo.

I'm finally home at 1am, so let's get to it.

Last year, the Spruce Mountain girls ended Oceanside's season in the B South Regional final and had hopes of doing it again, while the Mariners were looking for revenge.

Things started well for Spruce.

Bessey went 8/11 from three in the first two games and when she broke the record, it tied the game at 3-3. The first half was a bit of a slog and at the half, we were tied at 14.

In the second half, Oceanside got quick threes from Renee Ripley and Bailey Breen to open up a 6 point lead and a couple of minutes later, Ripley hit another to stretch it to 10. Spruce never really recovered.

Breen had 19 points and 11 rebounds.

The Mariners will face Old Town for the Gold Ball.

A lot of people had already written Ellsworth into the state game--being the defending champ with an 18-0 record will tend to do that--but Old Town hadn't.

Even without Taylor Loring, the Coyotes blew out Ellsworth 58-42 behind a big night from Saige Evans (26 points and 16 rebounds).

Old Town girls knock off Ellsworth to claim Class B North basketball crown
Old Town’s senior experience and poise prevailed on Friday night.

Old Town will be going for their first ever Gold Ball.

After Carter Galley was held without a field goal in the semifinals (he did have 5 assists and played well defensively), there was some speculation about the state of the Mr. Basketball race. This is one of the most wide-open races in years and with a number of semifinalists have lackluster games in the semifinals it got even messier. Couple that the fact that Lincoln Academy had nearly beaten Oceanside in Rockland and there were a lot of questions going into the Regional Final.

Well...Lincoln Academy came out kind of tight--the Regional Final is a whole other level of the Big Stage--and Carter Galley did not. Galley was 5/6 from the floor in the first quarter. Late in the second quarter, he was shooting from well behind the NBA line. He had 23 at halftime on 9/12 shooting (5/7 from 3) as Oceanside raced out to a 44-20 lead. People had been waiting for the Oceanside offense that had drawn so much discussion during the season in the first half, they saw it. It's kind of like a pressure cooker. You can keep the lid on it for stretches, but eventually it'll explode.

Oceanside ran clock in the 2nd half as Lincoln Academy tried to mount a comeback. Galley finished with 35 and could have easily made a run at Andy Bedard's record of 43. Cohen Galley finished with 13/9/9.

A couple of times every year, the refs will give a foul to a player who's sitting on the bench. It happens. But usually it happens because the table isn't paying attention. In this one, the refs gave a foul to Oceanside's #14, only he wasn't on the floor (#15 was, though). So the table called the officials over and after a consultation (I was sitting right behind the table), they decided the foul was on #10. The only problem was that #10 hadn't even entered the game yet. Ultimately it didn't matter, but geez.

Casey Duncan had 17 for Lincoln Academy. It was an impressive tourney for a kid who wasn't in the starting lineup a couple of weeks ago and for a team that was 0-18 as recently as the 2019-20 season.

Oceanside with get another shot at Orono.

Mr. Basketball semifinalist Pierce Walston had 16 of his game-high 29 in the second half as Orono used a 19-5 fourth quarter to put the game away.

Orono boys take down rival Old Town to earn B North title
The reigning state champion Red Riots will play in the Class B state title game against Oceanside at 7:45 p.m. Friday, March 1 in Bangor

In the evening session, the Mt. Ararat girls faced Brunswick in a rivalry matchup.

The Eagles blocked 4 shots in the first couple minutes and led 10-5 after the first quarter and had Brunswick's Dakota Shipley in foul trouble.

There was a lot of defense in this one. Mt. Ararat had an eFG% of 38% in the first half, while Brunswick's was a minuscule 8.3%

Mt. Ararat led 17-13 at the half.

Meanwhile, thanks to my collaboration with the MPA, we were able to keep an eye on the score of the A North game in Augusta (and by "we", that includes a bunch of fans leaning in to look at the score as they walked by).

photo: me

So far, 57 games have been scored live and there's box scores archived for every one of them.

Hopefully next year we can get the Bangor games added and have every tourney game.

Brunswick started to click a little bit when Shipley came back in. She hit a 3 to get them within 1 mid-way through the 3rd. They really found their offense in the 4th quarter, posting an eFG% of 75% as they turned a very close game into a 39-30 win.

In the State Game, they'll face...Cony?

The Rams pulled of an upset very few people saw coming. Lawrence led by one at the start of the 4th quarter, but Cony held Lawrence to 1/9 from the floor and Morgan Fichthorn scored 7 of her 16 in the 4th quarter to lead Cony to the upset.

Believe it or not, but it's been 17 years since Cony won a Gold Ball. As for Brunswick? They've never done it.

Which leads us to the final game of the night: Noble and GNG.

And the Expo was PACKED.

I was told there were 2,600 at the Expo for this game and it might have been more. All four games had big crowds. And the word is that there were equally big crowds in Augusta and Bangor. Maine High School Basketball is thriving! The talent has never been better and in a fractured landscape with a million different things to do, there's still nothing better than a big tourney game to bring in a crowd.

But first, let's do some scoreboard watching.

In Augusta, Messo's Merrick Smith put up 23 & 16 and with a 7-point lead late in the third quarter it looked like the Eagles were going to pull off the upset.

And then Zach McLaughlin said NOPE.

He scored 10 of his 24 in the fourth quarter and, well, let's go to the tape.

You want to go to 1:17:30.

That's...certainly a foul call. Sure looks like a block, though.

McLaughlin hit all three free throws to give Hampden the lead. He later missed 2 free throws with 2.7 left that could have made the lead 3. Messo's desperation shot went wide and Hampden will advance to the Gold Ball game.

So back to GNG and Noble at the Expo.

Jamier Rose has been one of the breakout stars of the tourney, but he struggled early as GNG built a lead behind Nate Hebert, who was clearly snubbed for the Mr. Basketball semifinalist list.

The Expo, however, was electric. I get that it's a smaller venue, but the atmosphere was awesome. I have issues with the building, but that place gets very, very loud for a tourney game, as opposed to the Hockey Rink Formerly Known as the Portland Civic Center, which is cold and cold. We should put state games at the Expo on a regular basis.

GNG is so fast and so talented and Noble struggled to keep up. They blew a bunch of layups in the first half and Rose wasn't scoring. In fact, he had zero points after 3 quarters.

In the fourth quarter, Jamier Rose found his footing. GNG--God bless them--didn't stall for the entire quarter. They played it straight, even as Noble started to rally.

Rose had 14 in the fourth quarter as Noble cut it to 8, but GNG didn't play scared. They answered every Noble punch in an impressive performance to win their first Regional Title since 1975.

Baring some surprise blizzard, that's a wrap on the Expo.

D North was supposed to be the Region of Death, but the semifinals were a real bust.

Hopefull the Regional Final can make up for it.

Dexter swept the season series. Can beat a team three times in one year?