CAPE ELIZABETH—Entering Friday night’s home game with York, the Cape Elizabeth boys’ basketball team knew it couldn’t surrender many easy baskets if it hoped to compete.
It didn’t take long, however, for the Wildcats to impose their will.
York made 27 field goals in the game, 21 of which were layups and dunks, and the Capers simply had no answer.
Cape Elizabeth did hang tough for a half, but a late surge extended a two-point Wildcats’ advantage to eight by halftime and York embarked on a backbreaking 19-4 run in the third period to seize control en route to a 65-47 victory.
The Wildcats got 22 points and nine rebounds from senior bruiser Aaron Todd, 18 points from classmate Zach Leal and ran up a commanding 29-16 advantage on the glass as they improved to 12-1, dropping the Capers to 9-4 with just two weeks remaining in the regular season.
“We were close for a half, but it’s a 32-minute game,” Cape Elizabeth coach Jim Ray said. “(York) comes out and nails you in the first period or they nail you in the third. They nailed us in the third and it was over.”
Last winter, the Capers failed to take part in the quarterfinals for the first time in 15 seasons, but that could be forgiven considering how much talent they’d graduated from teams who had played in the Class B Final in 2008, 2009 and 2011 (and lost in the regional final in 2010). This winter, Cape Elizabeth has returned to its accustomed perch as one of the best teams in the region.
The Capers stumbled in their opener, a 72-49 home loss to powerhouse and still unbeaten Falmouth, then closed 2012 with victories over visiting Freeport (66-34), host Gray-New Gloucester (64-38), visiting Greely (56-47), host Lake Region (63-41) and host Fryeburg (55-44). Cape Elizabeth won twice more with the arrival of the new year, 55-44, at Fryeburg and 52-34 at home over Western C power Waynflete, then dropped a tough 70-65 home decision to Wells. After winning at reigning Class B champion Yarmouth (59-50) and at home over Fryeburg in overtime (53-48), the Capers fell at Falmouth, 53-41, last Friday.
York, which lost to Falmouth in last year’s regional semifinals, entered the season as the favorite and excelled early, winning at Fryeburg (54-35) and Greely (71-48) to start, then downing visiting Poland (72-39), host Yarmouth (72-48), host Traip (68-39) and visiting Freeport (70-19) before the holiday break. The arrival of the new year wasn’t so kind, as the Wildcats were dominated at Falmouth, 71-51. York rose off the deck and handled visiting Gray-New Gloucester (64-41), host Lake Region (63-24), visiting Wells (67-39), host Poland (68-39), and visiting Greely (53-33).
York beat Cape Elizabeth in both meetings last winter, 64-59 in overtime at home and 58-40 at the Capers.
Cape Elizabeth’s last win over the Wildcats came Feb. 24, 2011, 55-42, in the Western B semifinals.
Friday, the Capers were clearly outmanned physically, but they tried to slow the pace and hang tough. It worked for nearly a half, but Cape Elizabeth could only stem the York tide for so long.
A free throw from sophomore Eddie Galvin gave the Capers the game’s first points, but with 6:18 to play in the first quarter, in a portent of things to come, Leal set up senior Hayden Webster for a layup to put York on the board. After a tip-in from senior Chad Peterson momentarily put Cape Elizabeth back on top, Leal made a layup and Todd hit a foul shot for a 5-3 lead.
The Capers tied it on a runner from sophomore Ethan Murphy, which kissed home off the glass, but a steal and a layup from Leal gave the Wildcats a 7-5 advantage.
The hosts tied the score on a floater from Galvin and with 1:18 left in the first, Galvin took a pass from senior Henry Babcock and finished a pretty left-handed layup to give Cape Elizabeth a 9-7 lead.
After York tied the score on a reverse layup from senior Luke Claflin (assisted by Todd), a Peterson layup (set up by Galvin) gave the Capers their final lead.. A driving layup from Leal tied the score, 11-11, after one quarter.
Cape Elizabeth had managed to stay close by virtue of forcing six turnovers, but the Wildcats would get some separation in quarter number two.
A Todd layup 82 seconds in gave York the lead for good. Todd (from Claflin) made another layup and with 4:57 left before halftime, junior Ross Hogan banked in a shot for the Wildcats’ first non-layup field goal and a 17-11 advantage.
With 3:48 to go, Capers senior Chris Robicheaw hit a pullup jumper to end the 8-0 run and a 4 minute, 49 second scoring drought, but Todd fed Leal for a layup and Todd had the favor returned, as senior Adam Bailey found him for a layup and a 21-13 bulge.
Cape Elizabeth would respond, however, as Babcock fed Murphy for a 3-pointer and with 1:24 to go before the break, Robicheaw drove for a layup, was fouled and made the free throw to make it a two-point game, 21-19.
If the teams had gone to halftime then, the Capers might have hung around awhile in the second half, but instead, the Wildcats closed strong and seized momentum.
After Todd made two foul shots, Todd took a pass from Leal and made a layup and after a late Cape Elizabeth turnover, Leal scored on a driving layup to stretch the lead back to eight, 27-19, at halftime.
“We had them within two points, then we had a couple subs, a lack basketball IQ, a couple calls and it changed the game,” Ray lamented. “(York) went in up eight. That eight felt like 20.”
Things only got worse for the hosts in the third period.
Babcock got his first point of the game at the foul line 33 seconds into the second half, but Webster answered with a short baseline jumper for York. After Galvin hit a free throw, the Capers only trailed, 29-21, but it wasn’t long until the game was completely out of reach.
Webster and Todd both scored on putbacks and after a Galvin foul shot, Webster fed Todd for a layup. A jump shot from Murphy momentarily stemmed the tide, but a quick 11-0 Wildcats’ run ended all doubt.
Todd got it started with an old-fashioned three-point play (layup, foul, free throw). Junior Michael Gallagher made a jumper after a Leal steal, Todd hit a baseline jumper, Leal was fouled after a steal and hit both free throws and Leal banked home a jump shot with 2:04 to go in the third to make it a 46-24 contest.
Senior Peter Pfister (who had a big presence off the bench) hit a runner and Robicheaw drained a 3, but the visitors ended the third in style as Claflin fed Todd for a layup and after a steal from senior Thomas Kinton, Leal registered a resounding dunk to give York a 50-29 advantage with just eight minutes to go.
The fourth quarter was academic, but the Capers continued to play hard.
After Pfister made a jumper, Leal scored on a reverse layup and Claflin scored on a putback. Babcock made two free throws, but Bailey made a layup, then sank a 3 for a 59-33 lead. A reverse left-handed layup from Galvin was countered by a Bailey free throw. After Murphy hit a leaner, Hogan buried a 3 to make it 63-37.
A Galvin left-handed layup was answered by a pair of Webster free throws for York’s final points.
In the waning moments, Pfister made two free throws, sophomore Grady McCormick made a layup after a steal, Pfister scored on a putback and Pfister made two foul shots to account for the 65-47 final score.
“(York knows) where they have to go with (the ball),” said Ray. “That’s their advantage. The goal was to play them man and hang around in the first half. We wanted to make them shoot instead of pound it inside so much.”
The Capers got a team-high 11 points, four rebounds and two steals from Galvin, who battled for 32 minutes.
“I’m asking Eddie Galvin to cover Todd,” said Ray. “He’s 160 (pounds) and Todd probably goes 230, but (Eddie’s) a tough kid. He’s a gamer.”
Pfister had 10 points off the bench, Murphy added nine, Robicheaw eight, Peterson four, Babcock three and McCormick two.
Cape Elizabeth was 11-of-18 from the free throw line and committed 20 turnovers.
York got nine field goals and four free throws from Todd, good for 22 points. Todd also had nine rebounds, two steals and a block.
Leal went off for 18 points and had a game-high six steals (York finished with 15). Webster added eight points (and nine boards), Bailey had six, Hogan five, Claflin four and Gallagher two.
The Wildcats gave the ball away 23 times, but were able to overcome. They sank 9-of-15 free throw attempts.
York (second to Falmouth in the Western Class B Heal Points standings) returns to action Saturday at home versus Lake Region. The Wildcats also play host to Traip, Cape Elizabeth and Falmouth before closing at Wells.
Cape Elizabeth (fourth in Western B) won’t have long to dwell on this loss as it hosts Gray-New Gloucester Saturday at 7 p.m. Next week, the Capers have daunting tests at Wells Tuesday and at York Friday. The regular season concludes with a home game versus Yarmouth and a trip to Greely.
“We need to bounce back tomorrow night,” Ray said. “We’re home. We handled (Gray-New Gloucester) up there, but they’re better now and better prepared. How will we react? We’ll see. It’s Falmouth and York and everyone else has to fight for every win. I don’t look at the (Heal Points standings). It doesn’t mean anything until the final game is played.”
Cape Elizabeth senior Henry Babcock drives to the hoop.
Cape Elizabeth sophomore Ethan Murphy blows past a York defender.
Cape Elizabeth senior Harrison Clarke floats a shot toward the hoop.
Cape Elizabeth senior Peter Pfister was a big contributor off the bench with 10 points.
Cape Elizabeth senior Chris Robicheaw finds his path to the basket obstructed by York senior Adam Bailey. The Wildcats made life miserable for the Capers Friday, rolling to a 65-47 win behind a flurry of layups.
More photos below.
Y- 11 16 23 15- 65
CE- 11 8 10 18- 47
Y- Todd 9-4-22, Leal 8-2-18, Webster 3-2-8, Bailey 2-1-6, Hogan 2-0-5, Claflin 2-0-4, Gallagher 1-0-2
CE- Galvin 4-3-11, Pfister 3-4-10, Murphy 4-0-9, Robicheaw 3-1-8, Peterson 2-0-4, Babcock 0-3-3, McCormick 1-0-2
Y (2) Bailey, Hogan 1
CE (2) Murphy, Robicheaw 1
Y (29) Todd, Webster 9, Bailey 4, Claflin, Kinton, Leal 2, Legg 1
CE (16) Galvin 4, Babcock, Clarke, Pfister 3, Peterson 2, Robicheaw 1
Y (15) Leal 6, Gallagher, Kinton, Webster 2, Bailey, Claflin, Todd 1
CE (9) Galvin 2, Babcock, Epstein, McCormick, Murphy, Peterson, Pfister, Robicheaw 1
Y (3) Bailey 2, Todd 1
CE (1) Clarke