Greely freshman Zach Brown goes up for a shot as Marshwood senior Zach Mitchell defends during the teams’ Class A South quarterfinal Friday night. Brown provided an early spark off the bench and helped the Rangers to a 63-50 victory. Greely will face Brunswick in the semifinals Wednesday.
Jason Eggleston photos.
More photos below.
M- 9 13 13 15- 50
G- 15 14 15 19- 63
M- Beers 5-1-13, Lontine-Kearson 4-2-12, O’Neil 3-0-8, Casey 2-2-6, McDaniel 1-2-5, Doyon 2-0-4, Spear 1-0-2
G- Twitchell 7-4-18, McDevitt 5-2-16, Bagshaw 2-5-9, Soule 2-3-7, Brown 2-1-6, Normandeau 3-0-6, DeWolfe 0-1-1
M (7) Beers, Lontine-Kearson, O’Neil 2, McDaniel 1
G (5) McDevitt 4, Brown 1
PORTLAND—The Marshwood Hawks were no typical No. 8 seed, but the top-ranked Greely Rangers have the potential to become something special this month and they made sure they took another step toward a Gold Ball behind an impressive team effort in a Class A South boys’ basketball quarterfinal Friday evening at the Portland Exposition Building.
Marshwood, which beat Greely just three weeks ago, shot to a quick 6-0 lead, but the Rangers turned to a freshman reserve, Zach Brown, for a spark and Brown produced six quick points.
Greely’s veterans took it from there, as junior Matt McDevitt knocked down some 3-pointers, juniors Jordan Bagshaw and Ryan Twitchell came through offensively as well, senior Caleb Normandeau did a little of everything and senior Calvin Soule’s defensive prowess and unselfishness couldn’t be quantified.
The Rangers took a 15-9 lead after one period and extended it to 29-22 at halftime, but the Hawks refused to go away.
Marshwood twice drew within four points in the third quarter, but a 10-2 run, capped by a Soule layup, seemingly put Greely on the brink of victory.
But the Hawks got an improbable 3-point shot from just inside the halfcourt stripe from senior Ryan O’Neil as time expired in the frame to pull within nine and they got within six on a couple occasions down the stretch before the Rangers scored the game’s final seven points to advance, 63-50.
Twitchell had 18 points, McDevitt added 16 and Greely improved to 16-3, ended Marshwood’s season at 10-10 and advanced to meet No. 4 Brunswick (14-5) in the semifinals Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. at the Cross Insurance Arena across town.
“The first (tournament) game is always the toughest,” said Rangers coach Travis Seaver. “Once you get it under your belt, you can take a sigh of relief and get back to work. The biggest thing that helped us tonight was we kept our composure and found other ways to score. We learned from the first game to keep our composure.”
Greely enjoyed a terrific regular season, one which was only marred by a buzzer-beating, one-point overtime loss at Gorham and back-to-back setbacks at Marshwood and Cape Elizabeth. The Rangers closed with a 54-44 win at Falmouth to go 15-3 and lock up the top seed in Class A South.
Marshwood, a perennial contender, was competitive all year, but wasn’t able to win consistently, going 9-9 and winding up eighth in the region before holding off No. 9 Kennebunk, 63-54, in Tuesday’s preliminary round.
On Jan. 22, the Hawks ended the Rangers’ eight-game win streak, 66-52, behind 23 points from O’Neil.
The teams had met four times previously in the tournament with Greely prevailing on three occasions, but the last encounter came way back in the 1997 regional final, when Seaver led the Rangers to a 68-46 win.
Friday, Greely won again, but it took nearly 32 minutes for the Rangers to completely shake the Hawks.
Marshwood got to off to a fast start as first O’Neil, then junior Ben Beers knocked down 3-pointers.
Greely got on the board with 3:54 to play in the first quarter, as McDevitt knocked down an NBA-range 3-pointer. He was fouled after the shot, allowing the Rangers to keep the ball and Brown buried a 3 from the corner to complete a rarely-seen six-point possession.
The Rangers then went on top to stay when Brown scored on a putback, was fouled and added the free throw to complete the old-fashioned three-point play.
“Zach was awesome,” Soule said. “He’s a great player. He’s a freshman and we try to give him confidence.”
“For Zach to come in and knock down two big shots was huge,” Seaver said. “We have all the confidence in the world for him. To do it on a stage like this was amazing.”
After Hawks senior Baili Lontine-Kearson scored on a putback to snap the 9-0 surge, McDevitt buried another deep 3. Beers made a free throw, but Normandeau drove for a layup and McDevitt added a foul shot to make it 15-9 Greely after the first quarter.
“They came out and hit two early 3s, but we really stayed together,” McDevitt said. “I tried to do my part, like taking an offensive foul. We kept each other up.”
McDevitt had seven points, while Brown added six in the first eight minutes. The Hawks committed 10 fouls and turned the ball over six times.
In the second period, O’Neil picked up his third foul 32 seconds in and Bagshaw made Marshwood pay with a pair of free throws.
Marshwood got a 3 from junior Cole McDaniel, but Bagshaw drove for a layup which saw him switch from his right hand to his left in midair, and after consecutive hustle steals from Soule, Twitchell scored on a putback to make it 20-12, forcing Haws coach Mike Zamarchi to call timeout.
McDaniel made two foul shots, but Normandeau set up Twitchell for a finger roll and after senior Jack Spear hit a bank shot for the Hawks, Twitchell got a jumper to rattle in.
After Lontine-Kearson made a leaner and two free throws to pull Marshwood within four, McDevitt buried a 3, then took a gorgeous feed from Bagshaw and made an even prettier reverse layup to give Greely a nine-point edge.
A layup from senior Zach Doyon pulled the Hawks within 29-22 at halftime.
In the first half, the Rangers made just 11 of 27 field goals and 3 of 7 free throws, but hit 4 of 9 from 3-point land. They only turned the ball over five times. McDevitt’s 12 points led the way and Brown and Twitchell both added six.
Marshwood was paced by six points from Lontine-Kearson. The Hawks turned the ball over 11 times and made only 7 of 24 field goals, but converted 5 of 6 foul shots.
Greely hoped to put it away in the third quarter, but Marshwood hung tough.
Lontine-Kearson started the second half with a 3, but McDevitt matched him. Lontine-Kearson hit another 3-ball to make it 32-28, but Soule fed Normandeau on the fastbreak for a layup and off an inbounds set, Bagshaw passed to McDevitt, who gave it back to Bagshaw for a layup. Bagshaw added a free throw and Soule set up Twitchell with a fabulous pass for a layup and a 39-28 lead.
After Marshwood junior Dawson Casey made a layup, Soule hit a free throw, then finished instead of setting up, when he laid in Normandeau’s pass to push the lead to a dozen, 42-30..
The Hawks got a jumper from O’Neil, but after a block by Casey, Soule got the ball back and put it in.
The Hawks did get a boost of momentum as the horn sounded, however, as O’Neil’s shot from just inside the midcourt stripe found nothing but net to make it a 44-35 game with eight minutes to go.
Greely ended all doubt early in the final stanza, as Twitchell twice made a pair of free throws and after Doyon drove for a layup and Casey scored on a floater, McDevitt penetrated into the lane and dished to Normandeau for a layup and Twitchell added a layup to make it 52-39.
Beers countered with a 3 and after a Casey steal, Beers made a layup to cut the deficit to single digits, 52-44, with 4:11 to go.
With 3:57 to play, Normandeau fed Twitchell for a layup, but Casey made two free throws and Beers had a great look to make it even closer when he attempted an open 3 from the corner, but the shot was off.
Compounding matters for the Hawks, seconds later, O’Neil was called for his fifth foul and had to leave.
With 2:17 to go, Beers made it a six-point game with a leaner, but Greely sophomore Shane DeWolfe made a foul shot to make it 55-48.
After McDaniel couldn’t convert a 3 to make things really interesting, McDevitt got the rebound and was fouled. He made one of two free throws, but with 1:27 to go, Beers made a layup to cut the Rangers’ lead to 56-50.
The Hawks wouldn’t score again, however, and Greely put it away.
With 1:07 remaining, Soule went to the line and calmly sank both free throws.
Soule returned to the charity stripe with 47.7 seconds left and made one of two attempts to push the lead to nine.
Twitchell then brought the Rangers’ cheering section to its feet when he took a pass from McDevitt after a steal and went in for a punctuation mark dunk.
With 27.6 seconds to go, Casey was called for a technical and Bagshaw made two free throws. The Marshwood bench was also assessed a T for an illegal substitution, but Bagshaw missed the next two foul shots and that accounted for the 63-50 final score.
“We just had to settle down and keep our composure,” Soule said. “Teams will make runs and we needed to make ours. You have to commend them for battling. They matched up well with us. We played together and understood our roles better.”
“They’re a good team with good players and good shooters,” McDevitt said. “I knew it would be tight, but I had confidence in the team and knew what we could do. I think the first time we might have underestimated them a little bit. We didn’t know much about them. It was a long ride. We came ready this time. We have a lot of experience from last year too. That helps a lot.”
“They’re a tough 8 seed,” Seaver added. “They started our one bad week in the regular season. They’re physical and they matched up size-wise with us. When they shoot as well as they did tonight, good things can happen for them. They forced us to make some mistakes down the stretch. Fortunately, we had some guys knock down some free throws.”
Twitchell rode a big second half to a game-high 18 points. He also had seven rebounds.
“Twitchell can finish around the basket,” Seaver said. “He’s a great athlete.”
McDevitt finished with a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds. He also had three assists and two steals. Bagshaw had nine points, four assists and four rebounds.
Soule added seven points, three steals, three rebounds and two assists and again was the backbone of a solid defensive effort.
“I try to do what I can, whether that’s guarding the other team’s top player, or sometimes shoot, even though I prefer not to, but my teammates give me confidence,” Soule said.
“Calvin always has the toughest job, because he’s always on the other team’s best player,” Seaver said. “To transition to stopping that guy, which doesn’t show up in the box score, and be a workhorse and a leader, that makes us so tough.”
Brown (four rebounds, two steals) and Normandeau (five assists, three rebounds) had six points apiece and DeWolfe finished with one.
“We have a lot of guys who can do a lot of things,” Seaver said. “We can put five guys on the floor who are all pretty dangerous. We have guys who can come off the bench and contribute.”
Greely held a 32-26 rebound advantage, hit 42 percent of its shots from the field, made 5 of 14 3-pointers, connected on 16 of 28 free throws and only turned the ball over 10 times.
For Marshwood, Beers led the way with 13 points. Lontine-Kearson had a double-double (12 points, 11 rebounds). O’Neil finished with eight points before fouling out, Casey had six points, eight rebounds and four assists before fouling out, McDaniel added five points, Doyon had four and Spear two.
The Hawks shot 35 percent from the floor, made 7 of 25 3s and 7 of 8 free throws. They turned the ball over 15 times. They were also called for 26 fouls to just 10 on the Rangers.
Wednesday’s semifinal features two teams who don’t know each other very well.
Brunswick won 13 regular season games and eliminated rival Mt. Ararat, 61-52, in its quarterfinal.
The Rangers hosted the Dragons way back on Dec. 11 and prevailed, 62-49. McDevitt had a team-high 20 points in that one.
The teams have no playoff history.
Greely is ready to take the next step.
“We played them earlier in the season and it was a good game,” Soule said. “We’ll review the film, but it’s the same thing for every tournament game, we have to play hard, play together, rebound, do the little things and hopefully we’ll come out victorious.”
“We’ll be ready for the rest of the tournament,” McDevitt said. “It’ll be a tough game (Wednesday). Anything can happen, but if we play our basketball, we’ll be tough to beat.”
“Every game has the potential to be a great, tough game,” Seaver added. “They’re a tough team with some good players. They have height and they’re physical. It’s a different venue, but we never have to worry about being ready because these guys are such competitors. We need to take care of the basketball. If we have an opportunity to put the game away, we need to do it.”
Greely junior Matt McDevitt skies for a shot in between Marshwood senior Baili Lontine-Kearson, left, and junior Dawson Casey.
Greely senior Caleb Normandeau goes up with the left hand as Marshwood senior Zach Mitchell defends.
Greely junior Jordan Bagshaw’s drive is impeded by Marshwood senior Jack Spear.
1997 Western B Final
Greely 68 Marshwood 46
1986 Western B quarterfinal
Greely 72 Marshwood 54
1985 Western B quarterfinal
Marshwood 71 Greely 65 (OT)
1982 Western B prelim
Greely 48 Marshwood 39