Cape Elizabeth junior Andrew Hartel (32) is congratulated by senior Andrew Lockwood near the end of the Capers’ 51-30 win over Yarmouth in Thursday’s Class B South semifinals. Cape Elizabeth will face defending regional champion Wells in the Class B South Final Saturday.
Mike Strout photos.
More photos below.
Y- 7 10 8 5- 30
CE- 20 12 12 7- 51
Y- Haywood 5-2-12, Hagerty 4-0-9, Hickey 1-1-3, Rogers 1-1-3, Torres 1-0-2, Eckersley-Ray 0-1-1
CE- Bowe 6-3-17, Hartel 5-0-10, Mullen 3-0-9, Carpenter 2-0-5, Hare 2-0-5, Jacobson 2-0-5
Y (1) Hagerty 1
CE (8) Mullen 3, Bowe 2, Carpenter, Hare, Jacobson 1
PORTLAND—All winter, the prospect of the Cape Elizabeth boys’ basketball team becoming more than the Finn Bowe Show struck fear into the opposition.
Thursday evening at the Cross Insurance Arena, that prospect became a reality and as a result, the Yarmouth Clippers have been sent packing, while the Capers find themselves two wins from a Gold Ball.
Second-ranked Cape Elizabeth got off to a nearly perfect start and put the third-seeded Clippers in a serious hole before the first period was half over.
Senior Liam Jacobson set the tone with a 3-pointer and an 11-0 run, highlighted by a 3-pointer from freshman Nate Mullen and capped by Bowe setting up junior Andrew Hartel for a layup, made it 14-2.
Yarmouth was staggered and tried to rally, but the Capers had a 20-7 lead after one quarter and extended it to 32-10 before the Clippers got the last seven points of the first half.
Any Yarmouth comeback hopes were quickly dashed, however, as Bowe and Hartel never let it go on a run and a late 3 from Mullen made it 44-25 Cape Elizabeth heading to the fourth quarter and the Capers went on to put the finishing touches on their 51-30 victory.
Bowe stuffed the stat sheet to the tune of 17 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists, as he just missed a triple-double, and he got plenty of help from his teammates, including Hartel, who had a double-double of 10 points and 12 rebounds, and Mullen, who scored nine points, as Cape Elizabeth improved to 13-7, ended Yarmouth’s season at 13-7 and in the process, advanced to meet defending regional champion Wells (14-6) in the Class B South Final Saturday at 2:45 p.m., at the Cross Insurance Arena.
“We shot really well in the first half and that was the key,” said Bowe, a senior captain. “That separated us. Everyone came out shooting and made their shots. We attacked their zone well, we got in the middle, found the shooters and we made them pay.”
Cape Elizabeth and Yarmouth have been on a collision course all winter in a very balanced Class B South region that didn’t boast a dominant team.
The Capers started the year 7-1, lost six of eight games, then won their final two to go 11-7 and earn the second seed in the region (see sidebar, below, for links to previous stories).
That experience made the team stronger.
“We hit a rough stretch and we played well in some of those games but lost close ones,” Bowe said.
“We got tired of losing and we finished the season strong,” Hartel said.
“We learned from our losses,” Cape Elizabeth coach Jim Ray added. “These kids are very coachable and they don’t hang their heads.”
The Clippers, coming off consecutive regional final appearances, won 12 of 18 games and earned the third spot before downing No. 6 Maranacook, 43-33, in their quarterfinal Saturday.
Cape Elizabeth and Yarmouth split during the regular season, with each winning at home (Capers, 48-44, on Jan. 9; Clippers, 71-55, on Jan. 23).
The teams had done battle four previous times in the playoffs with Cape Elizabeth winning on three occasions (see sidebar, below). The most recent encounter went to Yarmouth, 45-43, in the 2014 Western B quarterfinals.
Thursday, the Capers made an emphatic statement, thanks to a dazzling start.
Yarmouth had a chance to score first, but junior Jonny Torres couldn’t finish a layup opportunity off the opening tip and Cape Elizabeth soon seized control.
Jacobson made a 3 to get things started and after Torres hit a layup for the Clippers’ first points, Bowe set up Hartel for a layup, Jacobson fed Hartel for a layup, Bowe hit a jump shot, Mullen added a 3 and with 4:02 to go in the first quarter, Bowe fed Hartel for another layup and a quick 14-2 advantage.
“The rivalry between Cape and Yarmouth got us super-hyped for the game,” Hartel said. “That helped us start fast. That and hitting all those shots.”
“You can tell the confidence Andrew plays with when he gets the first basket to fall,” Ray said. “He attacked the basket.”
Out of a timeout, Yarmouth ended the 12-0 run, as junior Ashanti Haywood banked home a shot while being fouled and added the free throw for the old-fashioned three-point play.
After Bowe hit a free throw, Clippers senior Nolan Hagerty scored on a putback, but Mullen drained another 3 and senior David Hare buried a long jumper to make it 20-7 after one quarter.
“(The guys) were on fire,” said Ray. “Everybody. We moved the ball well and got good looks and knocked them down. What a difference it makes when shots go in.”
“We called timeouts and put new players in, but it kept going the same way,” lamented Yarmouth coach Adam Smith. “They weren’t stoppable tonight. I thought we had better looks than they did early. It just didn’t happen.”
In that first quarter, Bowe had just three points, but he grabbed seven rebounds and dished out five assists. Hartel and Mullen led the way with six points apiece.
In the second period, Cape Elizabeth continued to build on its lead, but at the end of the half, the Clippers started to show some life.
Bowe started the frame with a floater for one basket and a spinner for another.
After junior Jake Rogers banked home a shot for Yarmouth, Hare answered with a 3.
Rogers made a free throw, but junior Tanner Carpenter went coast to coast for a layup and with 4:02 to go before halftime, Carpenter knocked down a 3 for a commanding 32-10 advantage.
The Capers wouldn’t score again, however, and the Clippers got a layup from Hagerty, a fastbreak layup from sophomore Aidan Hickey (off a pass from Haywood) and just before time expired, a 3 from Hagerty, to pull within 15.
In the first half, Bowe approached a triple-double, scoring seven points, adding 10 rebounds and seven assists, while Hartel and Mullen both contributed six points.
Yarmouth got seven points and six boards from Hagerty, but entered the second half with a lot of work to do.
And Cape Elizabeth never allowed the Clippers to make a run.
Hartel started the third quarter with a putback and after Haywood drove for a layup, Bowe sank a 3 for a 37-19 lead.
Hickey hit a foul shot, but Hartel scored on a putback and after a Haywood foul shot, Bowe stole the ball and fed Jacobson in transition for a layup and his eighth assist.
After Haywood drove for a layup and Hagerty made a layup, Mullen made his third 3-pointer, off Bowe’s ninth assist, for a 44-25 advantage heading to the final quarter.
There, Cape Elizabeth finished it off with little drama.
A Bowe 3 opened the frame and after junior Noah Eckersley-Ray made a free throw and Haywood put home a missed shot, Bowe made a jumper for a 49-28 advantage.
Haywood scored the Clippers’ final points on a leaner, but a pair of Bowe free throws brought the curtain down on the Capers’ 51-30 triumph.
“The defense got better as we went along,” Ray said. “It wasn’t as good as it was supposed to be at the start, but the offense picked up the slack. We got contributions from everybody on both sides of the ball and that was great to see.
“We had a week to practice before the quarterfinals and we went over a lot of stuff. We had three practices before this game to prep for a team we know. We did a good job of executing the game plan and the game plan included making shots. We also rebounded very well today.”
Bowe has come up big so often in his career, but this time, it wasn’t just his scoring acumen that turned heads. In addition to 17 points, Bowe had 11 rebounds and his nine assists left him agonizingly one short of a triple-double.
Bowe, as always, was humble following his memorable performance.
“The rebounds, a lot of them were credit to my teammates for boxing out their big guys,” Bowe said. “The ball fell into my hands. The assists, I got the ball in the middle and found my teammates and they hit shots.”
“Finn gets a lot of attention,” Hartel said. “He’s very good at dishing the ball off and getting everyone good looks.”
“(Finn) lives for these moments and I still wanted more (from him),” Ray added. “He’s very dangerous. When he can play like that and get other people involved, we like to consider that our trademark and it didn’t happen a lot earlier in the season, but it’s a good time for it now.”
Bowe also spent time on the defensive side limiting Hagerty’s damage.
“It’s tough when (Nolan) gets the ball in deep because he elevates so high,” Bowe said. “He’s tough to cover.”
Hartel had a solid performance as well, with 10 points and 12 rebounds for a double-double. He also had his battles against Hagerty.
“Our whole defense was around him,” Hartel said. “I thought we did a good job. Going up against him brought the best out of me.”
Mullen added nine points and Carpenter, Hare and Jacobson had five apiece.
“Liam and Nate came out and shot well,” said Bowe. “David plays great defense every game. Hartel has played really well.”
Cape Elizabeth made eight 3-pointers, had a 31-26 rebounding advantage, only turned the ball over 13 times and made 3 of 6 free throws.
Yarmouth was led by 12 points from Haywood, who also had seven rebounds. Hagerty bowed out with nine points, nine rebounds and four blocked shots, while Hickey and Rogers had three points apiece, Torres added two and Eckersley-Ray finished with one.
The Clippers committed 17 turnovers and made 5 of 9 foul shots.
“It’s frustrating to not have anything go your way for 32 minutes,” Smith said. “The guys were prepared, excited and confident. Even at halftime, they were confident. It’s very disappointing, but that’s how our struggles went all year. We battled to the end despite our struggles. Each young man had each other’s back.
“We just tried to find our stride during the season. That changed from night to night. We had health concerns, we had consistency concerns. Through it all, the guys battled. The scoreboard didn’t matter. It was fitting to see them finish strong. We had some great leadership. These guys did a lot of winning the past few years.”
Yarmouth will suffer a big graduation loss when Hagerty leaves to go play next year at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts (Anthony Cleaves and Jack True also depart), but everyone else returns and the Clippers should find themselves in their accustomed contender’s role in 2018-19.
“Hopefully our younger guys gained some leadership ability to help us get off to a better start next year and sustain us,” Smith said. “This isn’t the last you’ll hear of this group. When they get over this, they’ll be excited about the opportunity to play another year.”
As dominant as Cape Elizabeth looked Thursday, top-seeded Wells went out and matched the Capers by dominating No. 5 Gray-New Gloucester in its semifinal, 54-33.
The Warriors know how to win in February and pose a difficult matchup Saturday.
Cape Elizabeth lost at home to Wells, 52-47, Feb. 2, despite 37 points from Bowe.
The Capers are 4-3 all-time against Wells in the tournament with a 57-51 win in the 2013 Western B quarterfinals the most recent.
The winner will head to the state final in Bangor Friday, March 2.
“We just have to play our game,” Bowe said. “Be patient on offense, keep sharing the ball, and play good defense and we have a good chance.”
“We have to start like we did today, work hard on defense and defense will win us the game,” Hartel said. “We’re playing with a lot of confidence.”
“It’s going to be hard work,” Ray added. “It wouldn’t be any fun if it was easy. We look forward to the opportunity.”
Cape Elizabeth senior Finn Bowe lines up a shot. Bowe led all scorers with 17 points and also stuffed the stat sheet to the tune of 11 rebounds and nine assists, as he just missed a triple-double.
Cape Elizabeth junior Andrew Hartel grabs one of his 12 rebounds in traffic.
Yarmouth junior Ashanti Haywood drives on Cape Elizabeth senior Liam Jacobson.
Yarmouth senior Nolan Hagerty leans in for a shot.
Cape Elizabeth senior Finn Bowe drives on Yarmouth senior Nolan Hagerty (0) and junior Jonny Torres.
Cape Elizabeth junior Andrew Hartel and Yarmouth junior Noah Eckersley-Ray battle for a loose ball on the floor.
Cape Elizabeth senior David Hare is defended by Yarmouth sophomore Aidan Hickey.
Cape Elizabeth senior Liam Jacobson tries to protect the ball from Yarmouth junior Ashanti Haywood.
2014 Western B quarterfinals
Yarmouth 45 Cape Elizabeth 43
2011 Western B Final
Cape Elizabeth 61 Yarmouth 47
2009 Western B quarterfinals
Cape Elizabeth 66 Yarmouth 58
2002 Western B preliminary
Cape Elizabeth 77 Yarmouth 48