Greely senior Caleb Normandeau shoots over Falmouth junior Colin Coyne during the Rangers’ 57-56 victory Saturday night.
Chris Lambert photos.
More photos below.
F- 15 16 14 11- 56
G- 7 18 19 13- 57
F- T. Coyne 10-2-25, C. Coyne 4-1-12, Skop 3-4-10, J. Bryant 3-0-7, Simonds 1-0-2
G- Bagshaw 7-5-23, Normandeau 5-0-11, McDevitt 4-0-10, Soule 2-0-5, DeWolfe 0-4-4, Brown 1-0-2, Twitchell 1-0-2
F (7) C. Coyne, T. Coyne 3, J. Bryant 1
G (8) Bagshaw 4, McDevitt 2, Normandeau, Soule 1
CUMBERLAND—Tradition suggests that there’s magic in the air in the days leading up to Christmas.
That’s unquestionably the case when Falmouth and Greely’s boys’ basketball teams do battle this time of year.
Saturday evening, the undefeated Yachtsmen paid a visit to a Rangers’ squad coming off an agonizing loss 24 hours previously and the ancient rivals produced an instant classic which featured sharpshooting, momentum swings and even a little controversy.
One that needed every last second to determine a winner.
Greely, which lost in overtime at Gorham on a buzzer beater Friday night, got the game’s first three points, but was staggered when senior Thomas Coyne and junior Colin Coyne led the Yachtsmen on a 15-0 run.
The Rangers could have buckled and it would have been hard to fault them if they had, but this group, in a season defining effort, roared back.
Thanks to a spark from unheralded senior Caleb Normandeau, Greely pulled even at 21-21 and 23-23 in the second quarter, but Falmouth closed on an 8-2 run, capped by a long 3 and a floater from Thomas Coyne, to lead, 31-25, at halftime.
The Yachtsmen took a short-lived seven point lead early in the third period, but again, the Rangers responded as junior Matt McDevitt heated up and when McDevitt canned a 3 midway through the frame, Greely was back on top for the first time since the game’s opening moments. A late putback from Falmouth sophomore Jack Bryant allowed the visitors to take a 45-44 lead to the final stanza.
There, Greely put itself on the precipice of victory when junior Jordan Bagshaw canned a clutch 3 with 2:38 to play, making it 55-49, but the Yachtsmen got the next seven points and when Thomas Coyne hit a jumper with 54 seconds remaining, Falmouth was back on top, 56-55.
All the Yachtsmen needed to stay perfect was a defensive stop, but as time wound down, Bagshaw was fouled, a call met with enormous displeasure on the Falmouth side of the packed gym, and Bagshaw calmly sank both ends of a one-and-one to give the Rangers the lead with 1.7 seconds to go.
The Yachtsmen had one final possession and Colin Coyne had an opportunity to repeat his game winner of a year ago against Greely, but his desperation heave was off target and the Rangers, who lost 57-56 at Gorham Friday night, won by that score and earned a big dose of confidence in the process.
The Rangers got 23 points from Bagshaw, 11 from Normandeau and 10 from McDevitt and improved to 5-1, dropping Falmouth, which got 25 points from Thomas Coyne, to 5-1 in the process.
“After last night, it was very difficult to turn the switch,” said Greely coach Travis Seaver. “The guys beat themselves up about last night and any competitor would. It was the best thing in the world to get back in the gym and compete. The kids did well. We have a lot of guys back from last year. If we were down 15-3 last year and it might have been a different game, but we have competitors.”
Falmouth and Greely shared Class B status for many years, but the past two seasons, the Yachtsmen spent their postseason in Class A. The ancient rivals are together again this winter in the newfangled Class A South and figure to see plenty of each other in the weeks to come.
Entering play Saturday night, since the start of the 2001-02 season (see sidebar, below), Falmouth had won 17 of 29 meetings, including two close victories a year ago (55-52 at home, on Colin Coyne’s buzzer beater, and 60-51 in Cumberland).
Both teams have excelled so far this winter.
Falmouth began its season with a 75-52 win at Kennebunk, then downed visiting Cape Elizabeth (69-66), visiting Biddeford (71-41), visiting York (68-34) and host Brunswick (61-51).
The Rangers opened with an emphatic 73-47 home win over defending Class B champion Cape Elizabeth, then beat host York (81-67), visiting Brunswick (62-49) and visiting Yarmouth (72-57) before falling from the undefeated ranks Friday at Gorham (57-56, in overtime).
Saturday, Falmouth hoped to win in Cumberland for the second year in a row, but Greely, by the skin of its teeth, earned its first win over the Yachtsmen since an overtime thriller four days before Christmas in 2013.
The Rangers’ ability to bounce back and their mental state was a concern heading into the game, but Seaver insisted his kids would be ready, something which was affirmed by Bagshaw, who made a 3-pointer 21 seconds in for a quick 3-0 lead.
Then, the Yachtsmen erupted and threatened to run away and hide.
With 6:35 to play in the first quarter, Colin Coyne made a 3 to get Falmouth on the board.
Thomas Coyne then one-upped his brother with an even longer 3-ball, but Colin Coyne answered with a jumper, then sank a 3 for an 11-3 lead, forcing Seaver to call timeout.
It didn’t help initially, as Thomas Coyne made a floater, then, with 1:44 remaining in the first, Thomas Coyne took a pass from his brother and hit a bank shot for a seemingly safe 15-3 lead.
The Rangers were at a crossroads, but they got up off the deck.
With 1:05 to go in the quarter, Normandeau drove to the hoop for a layup to snap the 15-0 run and a 6 minute, 34 second drought. McDevitt then set up freshman Zach Brown for a layup and Greely was back within eight, 15-7, heading for the second period, where the Rangers continued to close the gap.
Senior Cal Soule started the quarter with a 3 and after Falmouth junior Ben Simonds made a jumper, Normandeau converted a leaner and Normandeau knocked down a 3 to cut the deficit to a mere two points, 17-15.
“We have two of the best scorers in the state,” Normandeau said. “We knew that Falmouth would try to shut (Jordan and Matt) down and someone else had to get to the hoop. Whether it was getting to the hoop and scoring or getting in the lane and finding Jordan and Matt.”
“We have a number of guys who can be threats on the floor,” Seaver said. “It’s great when we shoot well, but when we’re not, we have to have other guys change their game and get to the rim. We did well to continue to attack.”
After Thomas Coyne drove for a layup, Bagshaw did the same, but Coyne made two foul shots to make it 21-17.
Greely completed its comeback, as junior Ryan Twitchell sank a floater and sophomore Shane DeWolfe knocked down a pair of free throws and after Thomas Coyne put the visitors back ahead with a pullup jumper, Bagshaw answered with a jump shot to tie the game again, 23-23.
Thomas Coyne responded with a 3 and after DeWolfe hit two more foul shots, Coyne made a 3 while being fouled and while he missed his attempt to complete a four-point play, he managed to hit one more shot before the half, a floater, and Falmouth was up, 31-25, at the break.
In the first half, Thomas Coyne went off for 21 of his team’s 31 points, but the Yachtsmen hadn’t been able to put the Rangers away.
McDevitt, who had eight 3-pointers in Tuesday’s win over Yarmouth, didn’t score a single point in the first half, but he would find his stroke in the third period and Greely took advantage.
Bagshaw started the second half with a 3, but Simonds set up senior Sam Skop for a layup and Skop added a pair of free throws for a 35-28 lead.
Greely then went on a 13-2 run.
With 6:03 to go in the quarter, McDevitt let loose a long 3 to get the Rangers going.
“Matt’s a scorer,” Normandeau said. “If he sees the rim, he’ll shoot. Once he gets hot, he stays hot.”
Sure enough, McDevitt then drove for a layup and after Simonds again set up Skop for a layup, Bagshaw hit a 3 and McDevitt pulled up and buried another 3 with 4:12 to play in the third, giving Greely its first lead since 3-0 and forcing Falmouth coach Dave Halligan to call timeout.
It didn’t help, as Bagshaw set up Soule for a layup and a four-point lead, 41-37. After Colin Coyne ended the surge with a free throw, Skop scored on a putback, but Bagshaw was fouled while shooting a 3 (Thomas Coyne appeared to have blocked the shot, but was given the foul, much to the chagrin of Halligan and his assistants) and made all three attempts for a 44-40 lead.
The Yachtsmen then closed the period on a 5-0 run, as Colin Coyne sank a 3 and Bryant put back a miss to make it 45-44 Falmouth heading for the fourth quarter.
There, the lead changed hands five times before Greely finally prevailed.
In controversial fashion.
The Rangers retook the lead, 46-45, when Bagshaw scored on a leaner 39 seconds in, but the Yachtsmen went back on top, 47-46, when Bryant made a floater with 7:05 to go.
A bank shot from Normandeau with 6:36 left put Greely back on top and this time, it appeared the hosts would stay there, as Normandeau followed with a left-handed floater.
After Thomas Coyne hit a pullup jumper (his first points of the second half) to pull Falmouth within a point, McDevitt drove for a layup and with 2:38 left, Bagshaw, despite having a hand in his face, buried a 3 to make it 55-49.
The Yachtsmen turned up their intensity and began a comeback of their own.
Eleven seconds later, Skop made two free throws.
With 1:23 remaining, Bryant somehow banked home a 3 and suddenly, Falmouth was only down by one, 55-54.
After a Greely turnover, Thomas Coyne pulled up and made a jumper with 54.1 seconds showing and the Yachtsmen had a 56-55 advantage.
The game would be decided by one final Rangers’ possession.
Seaver called timeout with 22.1 seconds to go, but Greely couldn’t generate a look and he called timeout again with 10.3 seconds left. A third timeout was necessitated when the Rangers couldn’t inbound the ball and finally, play resumed.
Twitchell inbounded the ball to Normandeau, who passed to Bagshaw, who was trapped up top. With 1.7 seconds remaining, Bagshaw made contact with Thomas Coyne and the ball went flying.
And the whistle blew.
The foul, which was met with shock and disbelief by the apoplectic Falmouth bench and cheering section, was the seventh of the second half on the Yachtsmen, sending Bagshaw to the line.
“I was originally supposed to get the ball in the corner,” Bagshaw said. “We had to adjust to the play and I came off a screen and was trying to get the shot up and got fouled.”
With all the pressure on him, Bagshaw calmly made the first free throw to tie the score.
He then hit the second, putting Greely ahead, this time for good.
“I knew I was going to make them,” Bagshaw said. “I felt really good after I made them.”
“We tried to run a couple different plays and Falmouth did a good job defending them,” Seaver said. “The kids didn’t run away and ultimately the ball ended up in Jordan’s hands and we got fortunate. I thought he got fouled. The question I had was the time and was he shooting or not? We were fortunate to be in the bonus. He was very confident.”
Falmouth had a final chance and out of a timeout, Seaver opted not to defend Bryant, whose inbounds pass found Colin Coyne just before the midcourt stripe.
With visions of another game winner running through the minds of many, Coyne threw up a prayer from halfcourt as the horn sounded and it was clear when it left his hand that it was too long.
The ball hit the top of the backboard and ricocheted harmlessly to the court.
Greely 57 Falmouth 56.
“Everyone in the gym remembered last year when Colin made that shot,” Normandeau said. “We sagged off and didn’t let him get too close to the rim. When it was in the air, I didn’t want to look, but when he missed, it was a big sigh of relief.
“It was Falmouth-Greely, a packed house. We fed off the fans’ energy and each other’s energy on the floor and fought back. After last night, it shows we’re resilient, we can bounce back and we’re a tough team to play against.”
“It’s tough having two games in a row and last night was a tough one, but we focused on tonight and we played really well,” Bagshaw said. “We could have buckled, but I’m really happy how we played.”
“We wanted to protect the rim,” Seaver added. “We guessed what we thought they’d run. We wanted to pressure the ball up the floor and protect the basket. If we were going to lose it was going to be on a desperation 3. If you lose by a desperation 60 footer, give kudos, but we defended it well.
“There was a lot of looking in the mirror from last night. This shows what kind of gamers we have. It’s been a tough week. We started with Yarmouth and ended with Falmouth and had a tough Gorham team in-between. We had this week circled on the calendar.”
The Rangers were led by Bagshaw’s 23 points, the final two of which were the difference.
Normandeau had a solid 11-point output and also had three assists.
McDevitt had 10 points and a team-high 11 rebounds. He also blocked two shots and had three rebounds and a steal.
Soule added five points, DeWolfe had four and Brown and Twitchell (nine boards) each finished with two.
Greely overcame 14 turnovers in part by enjoying a 27-24 rebounding advantage and making all nine of its free throw attempts.
“Last night, free throws were a challenge for us,” Seaver said. “We’re a 78 percent free throw shooting team, so I’m confident in anybody who steps to the line.”
Falmouth got a game-high 25 points from Thomas Coyne, but he was held to just four after halftime.
“Tommy and Colin hit shots and we had to adjust to them,” Bagshaw said. “It’s hard to guard Thomas Coyne.”
“We made adjustments in the way we guarded (Thomas),” said Seaver. “He’s tough. He’s a good player. We wanted to slow him down a little bit and make other guys make shots. I thought we did a better job in the second half.”
Colin Coyne had 12 points, Skop finished with 10 and a game-high 15 rebounds, Bryant had seven and Simonds two.
“We know Thomas and Colin are good players and the others are coming,” Halligan said. “As long as I see that progress, we’ll be fine.”
The Yachtsmen only turned the ball over nine times and made 7 of 9 foul shots, but still fell painfully short.
“You saw the same ending I did,” said Halligan, who remains stuck on 469 career victories. “The last minute we played great defense. They tried three set pieces. We were ready for it. There’s nothing I can criticize the kids for. Some things you don’t have any control over.
“It was an outstanding game. All I can ask for. (Greely’s) a good team. They’re experienced. They have great players. It’s a rivalry. The kids get up for each other. They know each other.”
The teams square off again in the regular season finale, Feb. 4, in Falmouth. By then, playoff positioning will be very much at stake and it’s quite likely the Rangers and Yachtsmen will meet a third time in the Class A South tournament.
First, both squads have work to do and skills to hone.
Falmouth closes the 2015 portion of its schedule Tuesday at home versus Mt. Ararat, as it looks to get back on track. The Yachtsmen are then idle until Jan. 5, when they welcome Lake Region.
“I think things are going well,” Halligan said. “There are things we can do better. The kids are so coachable. We play Mt. Ararat Tuesday, then we have two weeks off to get better.”
Greely returns to action Tuesday at Morse. The Rangers then return to action Jan. 2 at Poland.
“We still have to limit turnovers, have better decision making and play better defense,” Bagshaw said.
“We have to keep getting better every day,” Seaver said. “We’re still a better team than how we’re playing. We have to play our best basketball later in the season. That’s what we’ll keep working on.”
Greely junior Matt McDevitt defends the drive of Falmouth senior Thomas Coyne. Coyne led all scorers with 25 points.
Greely sophomore Shane DeWolfe looks to get to the basket as Falmouth senior Sean Bryant defends.
Greely junior Matt McDevitt launches a long range shot.
@ Falmouth 55 Greely 52
Falmouth 60 @ Greely 51
@ Greely 57 Falmouth 53 (OT)
@ Falmouth 69 Greely 55
@ Falmouth 63 Greely 45
Falmouth 68 @ Greely 45
Falmouth 55 @ Greely 48
@ Falmouth 53 Greely 51 (2 OT)
@ Greely 45 Falmouth 36
Greely 49 @ Falmouth 48
Falmouth 74 @ Greely 63
@ Falmouth 73 Greely 63
Falmouth 54 @ Greely 49
Greely 61 @ Falmouth 38
@ Greely 63 Falmouth 52
@ Falmouth 65 Greely 56
Western B quarterfinals
Greely 50 Falmouth 49
Greely 53 @ Falmouth 40
Falmouth 64 @ Greely 55
Western B semifinals
Greely 63 Falmouth 40
Falmouth 57 @ Greely 53
Greely 77 Falmouth 73 (3 OT)
Falmouth 58 @ Greely 39
@ Falmouth 54 Greely 36
@ Falmouth 64 Greely 38
Falmouth 51 @ Greely 42
@ Greely 57 Falmouth 45
Western B semifinals
Greely 62 Falmouth 45
Greely 56 @ Falmouth 52