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Greely’s boys’ basketball team celebrates its third consecutive Class A state championship after beating Lawrence, 62-45, Friday night.
Derek Davis / Portland Press Herald photos.
More photos below.
G- 10 19 9 24- 62
L- 2 14 10 19- 45
G- Bagshaw 8-3-21, Brown 6-2-14, Storey 5-1-11, Coppersmith 1-5-7, Lawrence 1-0-3, Bernheisel 1-0-2, Boddie 1-0-2, Butler 1-0-2
L- Robertson 5-4-16, Martin-Hachey 4-0-9, Nadeau 4-0-9, Herrin 2-1-5, Pomerleau 1-0-3, Coombs 1-0-2, Duprey 0-1-1
G (3) Bagshaw 2, Lawrence 1
L (5) Robertson 2, Martin-Hachey, Nadeau, Pomerleau 1
AUGUSTA—Greely’s boys’ basketball team has gone somewhere it had never gone before.
To a third consecutive state title.
Not many teams have been able to accomplish such a feat, but the Rangers capped a challenging season with a familiar celebration Friday evening at the Augusta Civic Center.
Facing a Lawrence Bulldogs squad enjoying a Cinderella run, Greely never trailed and while they weren’t able to enjoy a runaway victory, the Rangers, behind the excellence of their three stars, seniors Zach Brown and Andrew Storey and junior Logan Bagshaw, did enough to win comfortably.
The game started slowly, as the Bulldogs didn’t score for nearly seven minutes and during that span, Greely managed just six points, but things ramped up for the Rangers when Storey produced a highlight-reel, reverse slam dunk to punctuate the first quarter and give his team a 10-2 lead after eight minutes.
Bagshaw then got red-hot in the second period, draining a pair of 3-pointers, then scoring on multiple transition layups to make the score 29-16 at the half.
When Bagshaw scored five early points in the third period, the Rangers enjoyed an 18-point advantage, but Lawrence came back and was still within hailing distance, 38-26, heading to the fourth quarter.
There, the Bulldogs got as close as nine points, 40-31, before Storey made a layup, Brown sank two free throws, Bagshaw scored on a putback and Storey added a basket to end all doubt and Greely went on to a 62-45 victory.
The Rangers finished 19-3, closed the year on a 12-game win streak, ended Lawrence’s season at 13-9 and not only won the Gold Ball for the third year in a row, but for the seventh time in the program’s proud history.
“We’ve been so focused day after day and I refused to think about it or let them think about it, but what these seniors have accomplished is truly amazing,” said Greely coach Travis Seaver, who won a couple championships with the Rangers back in his playing days.
Greely was expected to play for a Gold Ball this winter.
Lawrence’s presence in the state final came as a surprise.
The Bulldogs went just 10-8 in the regular season, overcoming an 0-4 start. As the No. 4 seed in Class A North, Lawrence downed fifth-ranked Erskine Academy (53-38) in the quarterfinals, shocked top-seeded Cony (63-56) in the semifinals, then advanced to its first state final in two decades by virtue of a 47-40 win over No. 7 Skowhegan in the regional final.
The Rangers, meanwhile, entered the season on a 44-game win streak and stretched it to 46 by downing visiting Cape Elizabeth on Opening Night, 74-62 (giving Seaver his 100th victory with the program) and beating host Wells, 61-47. Greely finally met its match with a 62-55 loss at South Portland, but bounced back to defeat visiting Falmouth (46-29), host Brunswick (62-50), visiting Gray-New Gloucester (73-54) and visiting Gorham (72-57), before falling at York, 57-51. After a 75-61 home win over Freeport, the Rangers lost again, this time at home, 59-57, to Oxford Hills. Greely then closed the regular season on an seven-game surge, downing host Yarmouth (45-35), host Fryeburg Academy (68-37), host Westbrook (73-40), host Gray-New Gloucester (72-48), host Cape Elizabeth (61-54), visiting Yarmouth (63-60), visiting York (75-60) and visiting Fryeburg Academy (56-41).
“Sometimes losing is a good thing,” Brown said. “We worked on the things we had to and took things from losses and turned it into positives.”
“December was a grind for us,” Seaver said. “We had guys step up. It wasn’t until late January that we were really healthy.”
As the top seed for the fourth year in a row, the Rangers advanced by handling No. 8 Mt. Ararat (70-46) in the quarterfinals, outlasting No. 4 Kennebunk (69-62) in the semifinals and downing third-seeded Falmouth (64-48) in the regional final.
Greely and Lawrence had no prior playoff meetings, but both had ample experience in state finals (see sidebar, below), including last year, when the Rangers edged Hampden Academy, 47-46, on Shane DeWolfe’s late free throw.
The Bulldogs were hoping to complete their Cinderella run and win their third Gold Ball, but it would be Greely getting the job done.
The first period was slow going, as both teams were tight, but the Rangers managed to open up a lead.
The first points came with 6:23 remaining in the opening stanza, when Brown got a contested jumper to fall.
“This floor is a lot different from (the venues in) Portland,” Brown said. “We were getting used to it and nerves set in.”
“It was nerves early,” Seaver said. “It was important to us to get out to a fast start so they couldn’t slow the game down. As long as we had a lead, we could do what we needed to do. These guys are teenagers playing in front of a couple thousand people in a state championship game, so there will be nerves.”
After a layup from senior Mikey Coppersmith was waved off due to basket interference on Storey, Coppersmith drove into the lane and got a leaner to bounce in for a 4-0 lead, forcing Lawrence coach Jason Pellerin to call timeout.
It didn’t help, as sophomore Luke Gabloff set up Storey for a layup and his first points and after the Bulldogs got on the board with 1:10 left in the quarter, when senior Kobe Nadeau banked home a shot, Bagshaw stole the ball and set up Brown for a layup and with 25.4 seconds showing, Storey stole the ball, raced in, then slammed it home in reverse style for a 10-2 advantage after one period.
“Zach played good defense, that led to the steal and I just didn’t look back,” said Storey. “I’ve done a bunch of those in practice. I didn’t think about and it worked.”
“I didn’t expect a reverse dunk, but that really got us going,” Brown said.
“That was the spark,” Bagshaw said. “That was a nice dunk. The crowd went crazy, everyone went crazy.”
“It got everyone energized,” Seaver added. “(Andrew’s) got the green light. He’s a great athlete. It was exciting and it also relaxed us a little bit.”
In the second quarter, Bagshaw heated up and Greely pulled away.
Thirty-seven seconds into the frame, Bagshaw drained a long 3.
“My teammates were finding me when I was open and making the right pass and setting screens,” Bagshaw said. “Credit to Coach Seaver, he looked out for me all season.”
“Logan’s a great player,” Storey said. “He shot the ball well. He put the team on his shoulders. I appreciate it a lot.”
“Getting Logan going in the second quarter was huge,” Seaver said. “When he makes shots, we become a lot better. He settled in and took great shots. Every time he shoots, I think it’s going in.”
Bagshaw made another e with 5:31 left in the half, making it 16-2 and forcing Pellerin to call timeout again.
This time, it momentarily helped, as senior Gavin Herrin scored on a putback, but Storey made a free throw.
After two foul shots from senior Nick Robertson pulled the Bulldogs within 11, Brown countered with a layup.
A 3-ball from Nadeau and a layup from junior Dylan Martin-Hachey cut the Rangers’ lead to 19-11, but senior Lars Boddie scored on a putback for Greely and Bagshaw made a layup to stretch the lead to a dozen.
After sophomore Dylan Coombs made a layup for Lawrence, Greely got its transition game going, as Bagshaw made a fastbreak layup, Coppersmith stole the ball, passed it to Brown and Brown fed Bagshaw for a layup and after a Bulldogs’ miss, Storey set up Bagshaw for another layup and a 29-13 lead.
“They didn’t get back in transition and that’s one of our strengths, so we took advantage of that,” Brown said.
A 3-pointer from Martin-Hachey just before the horn pulled Lawrence within 13, but the Rangers were in control at halftime.
Bagshaw had 14 first half points, while Martin-Hachey and Nadeau each had five points for Lawrence.
Greely kept the pressure on in the third quarter.
A jumper from Brown opened the second half and after Nadeau banked home a shot, Bagshaw got a leaner to roll in, then Bagshaw was fouled while shooting a 3-pointer and he sank all three attempts to make it a 36-18 game.
The Bulldogs would fight their way back, as Nadeau made a jumper and after Bagshaw set up junior Jakob Bernheisel for a layup, Robertson scored on a runner, Martin-Hachey scored on a putback, then just before the horn, another Martin-Hachey putback pulled Lawrence within 38-26 heading for the fourth period.
Where Greely finally finished it off.
Bernheisel set up Brown for a layup to start the final stanza, but the Bulldogs made one more run, drawing within nine on a leaner from Robertson and an old-fashioned three-point play (putback, foul, free throw) from Herrin, to make it 40-31 with 6:55 to go.
But the next eight points went to the Rangers to end all doubt.
First, Coppersmith set up Storey for a layup.
After Brown added two free throws, Bagshaw scored on a putback and Storey’s leaner with 5:19 remaining made the score 48-31.
“Lawrence was a really good team,” Brown said. “When they cut it to single digits, we knew we had to step up and we went on a big run to close it out.”
Robertson countered with a long 3 for the Bulldogs, but Coppersmith sank a pair of foul shots.
After Robertson got a leaner to roll in, Bagshaw set up Storey for a layup and a 52-36 lead.
Lawrence got back within 13 on a free throw from senior Adam Duprey and two foul shots from Robertson, but Bagshaw set up junior Nick Butler for a layup, Coppersmith made two free throws and with 1:38 to play, Brown’s layup gave Greely its biggest lead, 58-39.
After Robertson sank a 3 for his final points and Coppersmith made one of two free throws with 1:09 to go, both coaches cleared the benches and down the stretch, junior Andrew Lawrence drained a 3 for the Rangers and senior Nikolas Pomerleau did the same for the Bulldogs, bringing the curtain down on Greely’s 62-45 victory.
At 9:31 p.m., another title celebration ensued.
“It’s unbelievable,” Brown said. “Most kids dream of winning one (championship). Three gives me the chills. Two years ago, I was just trying to stay in my role and get the seniors as many shots as possible. Going out on top senior year means a lot. I started off injured the first four games and it was tough watching the team play without me.”
“This means a lot,” Storey said. “It’s great for the community. We worked hard every day and it paid off. It’s a great team, on and off the court. We’re close and it’s amazing to do this as a family. We had to slow it down, take a step back and just work together as a team and do what we did all year.”
“It feels amazing,” said Bagshaw. “It’s the best feeling in the world, just awesome. Defense got us going. We just never let up. Lawrence fought the whole game. They never gave up. Credit to them.”
“We didn’t know much about Lawrence,” Seaver added. “Obviously they started playing their best basketball the past two weeks and put a run together. They were tough defensively. They made some tough shots, but our seniors have played a lot of minutes in a lot of big games and knew what they needed to do.”
Bagshaw had a game-high 21 points to go with four assists and a pair of steals.
Brown bowed out with 14 points and four assists.
Storey had 11 points and four rebounds.
Coppersmith added seven points, six rebounds and four assists, Lawrence had three points and Boddie (six boards), Butler and Bernheisel each wound up with two.
“It’s a testament to a guy like Jakob, who went from starting to being the sixth or seventh man, and he’d come on the floor and slap the floor like he did when he was starting,” Seaver said. “We didn’t have an issue all year and that’s because the guys stayed focused.”
Greely controlled the glass, 33 rebounds to 22, only turned the ball over 11 times and hit 11 of 16 free throws.
Following the win, for the second year in a row, Greely’s boys’ and girls’ teams posed together with their hardware, reminding the state that Cumberland truly is basketball Titletown.
“It goes to show how much we do for each other in the community,” Brown said. “The support is unbelievable.”
“We’re very fortunate to have a great community,” said Seaver. “We have great rec programs and great youth coaches. It’s a testament to the boys’ and girls’ teams. They push each other and it’s fun to watch.”
For Lawrence, Robertson led the way with 16 points. Martin-Hachey and Nadeau added nine points apiece, Herrin had five (to go with six rebounds), Pomerleau three, Coombs two and Duprey one.
The Bulldogs made 6 of 7 free throws and only committed 10 turnovers, but couldn’t complete their fairy tale run.
“We were getting stops, we just weren’t getting buckets at the other end,” said Lawrence coach Jason Pellerin.
No Class A school has ever won four straight titles, but Greely is hopeful to do that very thing this time next year.
Boddie, Brown, Coppersmith and Storey’s contributions will be missed, but the Rangers are always able to reload and behind Bagshaw, Bernheisel, Gabloff and others who will play bigger roles in 2019-20, don’t be surprised if Greely makes another deep run.
“Right now, I’m living in the present and enjoying this, but I’d love to do it again,” Bagshaw said. “We’ll go back to work.”
“These seniors have done so much for the program and for me,” Seaver said. “They’re special kids. We have kids coming back who want to work. Once they taste success, it’s hard to give that up.”
Press Herald staff writer Steve Craig contributed to this story.
Greely senior Andrew Storey gets past Lawrence senior Jackson Dudley on a drive to the basket.
Greely junior Logan Bagshaw makes a layup for two of his game-high 21 points.
Greely senior Zach Brown drives for two as Lawrence junior Dylan Martin-Hachey defends.
Greely senior Andrew Storey waves the net in celebration.
Greely shows off its latest Gold Ball.
Class A South semifinal
Greely 69 Kennebunk 62
Class A South Final
Greely 64 Falmouth 48
2018 Class A
Greely 47 Hampden Academy 46
2017 Class A
Greely 59 Messalonskee 43
1998 Class B
Greely 70 Camden-Rockport 69
1997 Class B
Greely 62 Bucksport 49
1995 Class B
Greely 69 Mt. Desert Island 55
1981 Class B
Orono 79 Greely 67
1963 Class C
Greely Institute 45 Milo 42
1999 Class A
Portland 77 Lawrence 58
1994 Class A
Lawrence 65 Westbrook 58
1990 Class A
Lawrence 51 Oxford Hills 44
1989 Class A
Morse 69 Lawrence 62
1986 Class A
Portland 58 Lawrence 52
1984 Class A
Westbrook 88 Lawrence 66
1976 Class A
Rumford 81 Lawrence 80
1974 Class A
Rumford 87 Lawrence 71