Greely senior Matt McDevitt takes a deep breath after making a clutch free throw in overtime during the Rangers’ palpitating 55-54 victory at Falmouth Tuesday night.
Chris Lambert photos.
More photos below.
G- 10 9 13 14 9- 55
F- 9 10 17 10 8- 54
G- Bagshaw 6-5-17, McDevitt 6-5-17, DeWolfe 4-2-11, Wood 2-0-4, Twitchell 1-1-3, Coppersmith 1-0-2, Kane 0-1-1
F- Coyne 6-3-19, Bryant 7-2-16, DePatsy 3-1-7, Walsh 3-1-7, M. Simonds 1-0-3, Welch 1-0-2
G (1) DeWolfe 1
F (5) Coyne 4, M. Simonds 1
FALMOUTH—Based on what we witnessed Tuesday night, the second act of the Falmouth-Greely boys’ basketball rivalry, circa 2016-17, will be something to behold.
And act three, if it happens, could be unforgettable.
But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s take a moment to appreciate yet another epic between the ancient foes, act one, which Tuesday evening thrilled a packed house, featured big shots made and missed and needed more than 32 minutes to determine a winner.
The undefeated Rangers paid a visit to the defending Class A champion Yachtsmen and it would be an evening of punches and counter-punches.
Greely started fast, grabbing an 8-3 lead, but Falmouth rallied within 10-9 after one quarter and took its first lead midway through the second period on a layup from junior Jack Bryant, who had a terrific game.
The Rangers came back and forged a 19-19 tie at halftime, but in the third quarter, the Yachtsmen went ahead by as many as nine points on a layup from senior Colin Coyne.
Greely then cut the deficit to 36-32 heading for what we thought would be the final stanza.
In the fourth quarter, Falmouth held a four-point lead with a little more than two minutes to go, but on successive possessions, the Rangers stole the ball and senior Jordan Bagshaw made layups to tie it, 44-44, with 1:45 to play.
After Coyne put the hosts back on top with two free throws, junior Shane DeWolfe tied it for Greely on a leaner and when Bryant just missed a shot at the horn, the game went to overtime.
In the four-minute extra session, the Rangers never trailed and went ahead to stay when senior Matt McDevitt converted a three-point play.
Coyne had a chance to give the Yachtsmen the lead when he took a 3 with 5 seconds showing, but it was off target.
McDevitt added two free throws to seemingly ice it, but at the horn, Coyne banked home a 3-pointer from just inside halfcourt and for a split second, it looked as if a foul might be called as well which would have given Coyne a free throw to extend the game, but the whistle never blew and Greely held on for dear life and survived, 55-54.
McDevitt and Bagshaw both had 17 points, DeWolfe added 11 and the Rangers improved to 7-0, beat Falmouth for the third straight time and dropped the Yachtsmen to 6-2 in the process.
“It was a very emotional game,” said McDevitt. “There was so much energy in the building. It was one of the most exciting games I’ve played in.”
Greely was the best team in Class A South in the regular season a year ago, but the distinction of state champion went to Falmouth after the Rangers were upset by Brunswick in the semifinals and the Yachtsmen dispatched the Dragons before crushing Oceanside in the state final.
This winter, both squads have played very well, with just one loss between them heading into Tuesday’s tilt.
Falmouth downed its first five foes: visiting Kennebunk (69-46), host Biddeford (60-46), visiting Brunswick in a regional final rematch (54-36), host Mt. Ararat (50-33) and Westbrook, 53-42, in a game played at the Portland Exposition Building as part of the Red Claws Christmas Showcase. Last Thursday, again at the Expo, the Yachtsmen fell from the unbeaten ranks, losing, 40-37, on a buzzer-beater to Cape Elizabeth. Falmouth bounced back Saturday with a 65-55 win at York.
Greely won its first six games, but last played Dec. 22. The Rangers beat visiting Cape Elizabeth (62-44) and York (77-51), before avenging last year’s ouster with a 55-44 win at Brunswick. The wins kept coming against visiting Yarmouth (80-58), Gorham (64-53) and Morse (96-50).
Entering play Saturday night, since the start of the 2001-02 season (see sidebar, below), Falmouth had won 17 of 31 meetings, but Greely captured both a year ago, 57-56 at home on two Bagshaw free throws with a second left, and 54-44 at the Yachtsmen in the regular season finale.
This time around, Falmouth appeared on several occasions primed to earn a victory, but the Rangers simply wouldn’t be denied.
Greely jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead, as Bagshaw set up senior Ryan Twitchell for a layup and McDevitt hit a bank shot.
With 3:33 to go in the frame, Coyne finally got the Yachtsmen on the board with an NBA-range 3-pointer, but McDevitt countered with two free throws and DeWolfe banked home a leaner for an 8-3 lead.
Senior Sean Walsh made a free throw for Falmouth before Bryant drove for a layup, was fouled and hit the free throw to convert the old-fashioned three-point play.
After Bagshaw made two foul shots for the Rangers, Yachtsmen senior Brock Welch drove for a layup with 5.5 seconds left.
McDevitt nearly buried a 60-foot prayer at the horn, but it went in-and-out and Greely was up by just one, 10-9, after one period.
In the second, the Rangers tried to pull away, but Falmouth found its long range accuracy to go on top.
After DeWolfe took a feed from Bagshaw and made a layup, he buried a 3 for a 15-9 lead, but the next eight points went to the Yachtsmen.
Coyne stemmed the tide with another deep 3 and freshman Michael Simonds took a pass from Coyne and made a 3 of his own to tie the score, 15-15.
With 3:15 remaining in the first half, Bryant drove for a layup and Falmouth had its first lead.
A free throw from Greely junior Jack Kane ended the run. DeWolfe added one to tie it.
With 49.1 seconds to go before halftime, Bagshaw got successive offensive rebounds before being fouled, then hit both free throw attempts for the lead, which was short lived, as Coyne drove the lane and fed junior Nikko DePatsy for a layup with 33.5 seconds left to make it 19-19 at the break.
In the first 16 minutes, DeWolfe led all scorers with eight points. The Rangers made 8 of 10 free throws and only turned the ball over five times in a high-pressure environment.
Coyne had six points and Bryant five to lead the Yachtsmen, who committed seven turnovers.
In the third quarter, Falmouth started fast, as Walsh hit a jumper and after Twitchell made one of two free throws, Bryant banked home a shot in the lane and Walsh scored on a putback for a 25-20 lead.
Back came Greely, as McDevitt banked home a shot, then McDevitt set up sophomore Zach Brown for a transition layup, cutting the deficit to 25-24.
Bryant, the quarterback on the Yachtsmen’s football team which was beaten in the quarterfinals last fall by, you guessed it, Greely, then stepped up again, feeding DePatsy for a layup, then hitting a leaner in the lane.
“They took the ball out of Sean and Colin’s hands, so someone else had to step up,” Halligan said. “Jack did. He’s a competitor.”
Bagshaw answered by putting back his own miss, but Coyne made a free throw, then drained another long 3 before driving for a layup for a 35-26 lead with 1:50 left.
The Rangers didn’t buckle, however, and closed the quarter strong.
McDevitt countered with a leaner and after Bryant hit a free throw, sophomore Mike Coppersmith drove for a layup and Bagshaw made a layup after a bad inbounds pass by Falmouth to cut Greely’s deficit to 36-32 heading for the fourth quarter.
Where the rivals fought to the finish.
Bryant set the tone for his huge final stanza by driving for a layup, but Bagshaw countered by doing the same and Bagshaw set up McDevitt for a layup making it a two-point game with 5:08 to go.
After Walsh answered with a floater, DeWolfe fed Brown for a layup, cutting the Yachtsmen’s lead to 40-38 with 4:40 remaining.
Back came Bryant, scoring on a leaner off the glass, but with 3:33 left, Bagshaw was given credit for a putback when Falmouth was called for goaltending and the spread was a mere two points again.
And again, Bryant stretched it back to four, driving for a layup with 2:56 to play for a 44-40 lead.
This time, Greely was able to catch up, as Bagshaw made a layup after a steal and with 1:45 left, after a Twitchell steal, Coppersmith fed Bagshaw for another layup, making it 44-44.
“We didn’t get off to the scoring start we wanted, but we played great defense.” McDevitt said. “We’re an emotional team. When things weren’t going our way, we needed a spark. Those two steals that led to buckets were big turning points and gave us the emotion we needed.”
With 1:13 to go, Coyne was fouled on a drive and sank both free throws, but the Rangers came right back and drew even when DeWolfe hit a leaner in the lane to make it, 46-46, with 55.2 seconds left.
That set the stage for Falmouth to hold the ball for the win. Coyne dribbled out much of the clock, but eventually gave the ball up and it came to Bryant who had a good look to win it, but his shot at the horn was no good and the teams went to overtime.
Greely won the tip and took its first lead since late in the first half when Bagshaw made one of two free throws 12 seconds in.
The Yachtsmen got the point right back as DePatsy sank one of two foul shots.
After DeWolfe, Twitchell and McDevitt all missed, McDevitt put home his own miss with 3:03 to go in OT for a 49-47 lead.
Falmouth countered, as Coyne fed DePatsy for a layup. DePatsy was fouled on the play, but couldn’t make the free throw and at the other end, McDevitt made the Yachtsmen pay, scoring on a leaner which being fouled, then making the free throw to complete the three-point play with 2:16 left.
“They know me as a shooter and I wanted to get in the paint better and I did that better in the second half and overtime,” McDevitt said.
“Matt is a player who wants the ball in his hands with the game on the line,” Greely coach Travis Seaver said. “He goes after every rebound. I’m glad he’s a Ranger.”
“(McDevitt) had some putbacks and got fouled,” Falmouth coach Dave Halligan said. “That’s what seniors do.”
At the other end, Walsh missed a shot and Bagshaw got the rebound.
With 1:14 to go, Bagshaw was fouled and had a chance to extend the lead, but he missed the front end of a one-and-one.
Walsh got the rebound and the ball came to Coyne, who drove for a left-handed floater and Falmouth was within one, 52-51, with 1:02 remaining.
The Rangers drained the clock down to 25.3 seconds when DeWolfe was fouled. He made the front end of a one-and-one, but missed the second, giving the Yachtsmen a chance to tie or take the lead.
To the surprise of no one, the ball came to Coyne and he got a pretty good look with 5 seconds to go, but his bid for a second game-winner against Greely in three seasons was off-target and McDevitt came down with the rebound.
“The first thing that popped in my head was the buzzer-beater he made two years ago,” McDevitt said. “I couldn’t take that again.”
“It was a good look,” Seaver said. “He’s obviously a great player. Fortunately for us, it went our way.”
“I can’t be mad (Jack and Colin) missed the shots,” Halligan said. “They were the right shots at the right time. Sometimes they go in and sometimes they don’t. That’s basketball.”
McDevitt was fouled and went to the line with 2.9 seconds to go. He calmly sank both free throws.
“I looked over at the fans and hyped them up,” McDevitt said. “I stepped to the line and took the free throws and felt confident.”
“(Matt’s) shooting great from the line right now,” Seaver said.
That apparently iced it, but nothing in this rivalry comes easily.
Coyne caught the inbounds pass while DeWolfe blanketed him and just before the horn sounded, Coyne, just inside halfcourt, launched a shot with DeWolfe breathing down his neck.
The shot bounced in off the glass and there appeared to be some contact as well, but the whistle never blew.
“We talked about (the situation) during the timeout,” Seaver said. “It’s a learning experience. The one thing that’s great with us is that we’re emotional. We have to transition some of that into learning experience. I guarantee that won’t happen again.”
At 8:57 p.m., the victory was at last secured.
Greely 55 Falmouth 54.
“I didn’t take anything for granted tonight,” McDevitt said. “Falmouth’s a great team. We had to take care of business in overtime.”
“In this type of environment, it’s hard not to get into it,” said Seaver, who was as animated as his players during the game. “I’m an energetic coach and I feed off these guys. I’m super-proud of them. This is what high school basketball is all about. Winning big is nice, but coming into a packed house and having an exciting game is great. I think the momentum was on our side going into overtime. We had guys make big plays and we took over.”
McDevitt had 17 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double.
Bagshaw also had 17 points (to go with seven rebounds, three assists and two steals).
DeWolfe tallied 11 points, Wood finished with four, Twitchell had three (as well as 12 boards), Coppersmith two and Kane one.
“I thought Mike coming off the bench did a great job defensively,” Seaver said. “Guys who didn’t do what they normally do best, like Jordan, came up big defensively. Twitchell didn’t have a great offensive game, but he handled ball screens well on defense.”
The Rangers had a 34-23 rebounding advantage, only turned the ball over nine times in 36 pressure-packed minutes and hit 14 of 21 foul shots.
For Falmouth, Coyne had 19 points, Bryant 16, DePatsy and Walsh seven apiece, Simonds three and Welch two.
The Yachtsmen turned the ball over 16 times and made 7 of 12 foul shots.
“It was a great atmosphere,” Halligan said. “Both teams will be better having played a game in an atmosphere like this. We made some inexperienced mistakes. Guys were looking around for someone else to do it. Losing like this is better than blowing teams out by 20 or 30. It’s what makes you better. If you make a mistake, they make you pay. We’ll learn and not make the mistake again. We responded well off the Cape game, but Greely’s a very good team.”
The teams will play again in the regular season finale Feb. 9 in Cumberland.
There’s a very good chance they’ll meet in the playoffs too, but both squads have much to work on in the interim.
Falmouth has a trip to defending Class B champion Lake Region looming Friday and hosts York a week from Thursday as it looks to right the ship.
“We know we can play with Greely,” Halligan said. “Our confidence should be up. This should motivate us to come to practice and get better. We’ll get better. We had seven turnovers in the fourth quarter. That’s uncharacteristic. The turnovers we made, we shouldn’t have made. We’ll learn.”
Greely hosts Poland Friday. A trip to Yarmouth Tuesday will be a test as well.
“We’ve got character,” McDevitt said. “This game was good for us. We have to stay down to earth and keep winning. We don’t always take the best shot. We have to change that if we want to be a championship-caliber team.
“I’ve thought about this year my entire life. It’s all the motivation I need.”
“This is a good gut-check for us,” Seaver said. “We wanted to win tonight and we did, but we still have things to work on down the stretch. Our biggest goal is to play our best come February. If we take what we learned tonight and get better, tonight will serve its purpose.”
Greely junior Shane DeWolfe soars for a shot over Falmouth senior Colin Coyne.
Greely senior Jordan Baghaw drives on Falmouth freshman Michael Simonds.
Greely senior Matt McDevitt shoots over Falmouth junior Jack Bryant.
Falmouth senior Colin Coyne sends a pass past Greely senior Ryan Twitchell.
Falmouth junior Jack Bryant drives to the basket as Greely senior Matt McDevitt defends. Bryant had 16 points.
Greely’s fan section storms the court at the conclusion of the game.
@ Greely 57 Falmouth 56
Greely 54 @ Falmouth 44
@ 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