Greely junior Ryan Twitchell drives to the basket as Yarmouth senior C.J. Cawley, left, and junior Nolan Hagerty defend. Twitchell led all scorers with 20 points as the Rangers won, 60-48.
Chris Lambert photos.
More photos below.
G- 7 18 14 21- 60
Y- 8 10 16 14- 48
G- Twitchell 9-2-20, Bagshaw 2-6-12, McDevitt 3-4-11, Normandeau 3-4-11, Soule 2-0-4, DeWolfe 0-2-2
Y- Medenica 7-2-17, Darling 4-0-10, Hagerty 2-2-6, Shields-Auble 2-2-6, M’Bareck 2-0-5, Cawley 2-0-4
G (4) Bagshaw 2, McDevitt, Normandeau 1
Y (4) Darling 2, M’Bareck, Medenica 1
YARMOUTH—A lot of teams have talent, but what has set the Greely Rangers apart so far this winter has been their ability to come up huge in tough spots and in tough environments.
Tuesday night, in a highly anticipated boys’ showdown at rival Yarmouth, Greely started slowly and in the early going, had no answer for Clippers junior Aleksander Medenica, but the Rangers were jump-started by the play of junior Ryan Twitchell and gradually opened up a 25-18 halftime lead.
Yarmouth, spurred on by its partisan crowd, turned up the pressure and made things tough for Greely, twice drawing within three points in the third quarter, but Twitchell scored 10 points in the fourth and the Rangers met every challenge, pulling away to win, 60-48.
Twitchell led all scorers with 20 points, pacing the Rangers’ accustomed balanced attack, and Greely improved to 8-1, dropping the Clippers to 7-2 in the process.
“Yarmouth played great and at times, they made us feel uncomfortable, but at the end of the day, I have to give our kids a lot of credit,” said Greely coach Travis Seaver. “As well as Yarmouth did, I thought we had composure down the stretch and made plays.”
When Greely and Yarmouth took the court Tuesday, both were ranked first in their respective regions due to stellar starts this winter.
The Rangers opened with an emphatic 73-47 home win over defending Class B champion Cape Elizabeth, then beat host York (81-67), visiting Brunswick (62-49) and visiting Yarmouth (72-57) before falling from the undefeated ranks at Gorham (57-56, in overtime). Greely bounced back to edge visiting Falmouth in a 57-56 thriller, then downed host Morse (60-31) and host Poland (85-56).
The Clippers downed host Gray-New Gloucester (69-47) in their opener, then rallied to avenge last year’s playoff ouster with a 72-68 home victory over Lake Region before earning an impressive 58-44 win at Waynflete. After losing at Greely, 72-57, Yarmouth defeated host Maranacook (70-60), visiting Poland (61-36), Sacopee Valley (89-42) and Lincoln Academy (66-46).
Entering play Tuesday night, since the start of the 2001-02 season, Greely held a 20-8 lead in the series (see sidebar, below).
This time around, Yarmouth hoped to achieve its biggest win to date, but the Rangers managed their second series sweep in three years.
Medenica, the standout Serbian, who is new to the Clippers this winter, started the scoring with a driving layup 22 seconds in.
Greely drew even when Twitchell took a pass from senior Caleb Normandeau and made a layup, but seconds later, he was called for his second foul.
Medenica put Yarmouth ahead by driving for another layup and after Normandeau took a pass from senior Calvin Soule and tied the game with a pretty left-handed layup, Yarmouth went back on top when senior C.J. Cawley took classmate Bailey Darling’s feed and made a layup.
After Normandeau was called for his second foul, Medenica’s third driving layup made it 8-4 Clippers.
The Rangers didn’t buckle and after junior Matt McDevitt sank two foul shots, junior Jordan Bagshaw made one and the deficit was only one, 8-7, after eight minutes.
Greely tightened up on defense in the second quarter and opened up a lead.
Sixteen seconds into the new frame, Twitchell drove for a layup to give the Rangers the lead for good. Bagshaw knocked down a 3 and Yarmouth coach Adam Smith called timeout.
It didn’t help, as Normandeau made two foul shots. After Medenica ended the 10-0 Greely run and a 5 minute, 23 second drought with two free throws, Darling set up Medenica for a layup, cutting Greely’s lead to 14-12.
After Twitchell made a free throw, Medenica got to the basket for a layup to cut the deficit to one, but the Clippers would get no closer.
First, McDevitt pulled up and drained a 3. McDevitt was then fouled while shooting a 3 and made one of three attempts. Bagshaw added a free throw to make it 20-14.
After junior Nolan Hagerty made two foul shots for Yarmouth, Soule drove for a layup and Bagshaw hit a 3 in transition. A bank shot from Darling pulled the hosts back within seven, 25-18, at halftime.
Medenica had 12 first half points, but Greely’s balanced attack was the difference.
The Clippers landed some punches in the third period, but the Rangers didn’t flinch.
A Medenica 3 started the second half scoring. After Soule set up Twitchell for a layup, Darling made a 3 to make it 27-24, but Greely responded with an old-fashioned three-point play (basket, foul, free throw) from Twitchell and a Soule layup, off a nice feed from McDevitt.
Darling answered with a putback, but a Normandeau 3 opened up a 35-26 advantage.
Hagerty got two points back with a layup and senior Musseit M’Bareck added a layup to pull Yarmouth within five, but Bagshaw countered with two free throws.
Late in the quarter, Hagerty made a layup after a nice spin move and Hagerty set up senior Devin Shields-Auble for a layup to again cut the deficit to three, but Twitchell passed to McDevitt for a layup and Greely took a 39-34 advantage to the final stanza.
There, the Rangers made the critical plays and shots to put the finishing touches on their win.
Bagshaw was fouled after a steal and made two free throws to start the fourth. After a Medenica jumper, Normandeau hit a jumper and Twitchell drove for a layup to make it 45-36.
A putback from Cawley and a pair of Shields-Auble free throws after a steal pulled the Clippers within five, 45-40, with 5:33 to play, but at the other end, Twitchell put home a miss to restore momentum to Greely.
Then, on successive possessions, sophomore Shane DeWolfe fed Twitchell for layups to give the Rangers their biggest lead, 51-40, with 4:07 remaining.
“]We set screens and sealed on both ends and my teammates found me underneath,” Twitchell said. “It was easy for me to finish.”
“Ryan finds open spots,” Seaver said “He’s a great athlete. He poses matchup problems.”
A Shields-Auble jumper provided faint hope for the hosts, but with 3:33 to play, Twitchell set up McDevitt for a layup and a 53-42 advantage.
M’Bareck tried to spark a rally with a 3, but Normandeau made two foul shots and DeWolfe one final time set up Twitchell for a layup and a 57-45 lead with 2:13 to go.
In the final minute, McDevitt made a free throw and after Darling sank a 3, DeWolfe made two foul shots to finish off Greely’s 60-48 victory.
“We knew it was a rivalry game and it meant a lot to us,” Soule said. “We’re well seasoned. We have a lot of starters back and we’re deep. More than anything, we trust each other and we know our role and that shows up late in games.”
“It’s great to win a game handily, but there will be games like this where we need to react,” Seaver said. “We make adjustments and the kids are doing well with that.”
Twitchell led all scorers with 20 points. He also had nine rebounds. Bagshaw had 12 points, McDevitt 11 (to go with seven boards, two assists, a steal and a blocked shot), Normandeau 11 (along with three rebounds, two steals and two assists), Soule four (as well as six assists and six rebounds) and DeWolfe two (to go with three assists).
“We’re so deep in our lineup,” Twitchell said. “Anyone off the bench can play. That makes us so good.”
Greely had a 29-27 rebounding advantage, only turned the ball over 13 times and made 18 of 28 foul shots.
The Rangers’ defensive effort, sparked by Soule, helped lead the way to victory.
“Calvin is one of the best defenders in the state,” Seaver said. “He draws the toughest matchups every single night. Most nights, that player doesn’t put up big numbers. That’s huge. He did a good job on Muss tonight.
“We changed the way we guarded them as the game went on and offered more help. (Medenica’s) a tough player who can finish around the rim. He uses his body well. We had to try to slow him down.”
Yarmouth was led by Medenica’s 17 points (he also had six rebounds). Darling had 10 points, Hagerty six, M’Bareck five and Cawley four.
Shields-Auble had six points and five rebounds off the bench.
“Devin’s been so consistent for us all year,” Smith said. “He can play multiple positions. He probably should be starting, but he plays many minutes off the bench. He’s been very good at helping others on the floor.”
The Clippers turned the ball over 14 times and made 6 of 8 free throws.
“I thought we played well, but they had guys step up,” Smith said. “They took our momentum away. Their offensive tenacity kept at it and broke us down in a few key moments and they had a couple little runs and that was the difference in the game. They’re a very good team.
“I thought we competed tonight better through four quarters than we have all season. We’re not where we want to be execution-wise on the offensive end, but we can look at it and see what we can improve on. It wasn’t all bad for us. Playing well in the first half is a good mark for us.”
A month from now, the regular season will be a thing of the past and Greely and Yarmouth will be gearing up for the playoffs.
Both have plenty of challenges first.
The Clippers (still first in Class B South) hope to bounce back Saturday at home versus improved Freeport. Wells pays a visit Tuesday. Yarmouth also still has to play defending Class B champion Cape Elizabeth, powerhouse Falmouth and last year’s nemesis, Lake Region.
“We still have a lot of growth left,” Smith said. “We have some very good pieces. These guys are working to make the pieces fit. We’re varsity-young still. Half the season is gone and it’s time to pick it up. The guys are getting more comfortable and feel better about themselves after games like this. We have big games coming up. We’re looking forward to the next nine games.”
The Rangers (first in Class A South) are home with Biddeford Saturday and go to Fryeburg Academy Tuesday. Greely still has to make trips to Marshwood, Cape Elizabeth and Falmouth.
“We’re getting where we want to be, but we always talk about improving,” Soule said. “We try to bring our work ethic to maximum potential every day.”
“We have to play as a team and keep our composure the whole game,” said Twitchell.
“I think we’re in a great spot,” Seaver added. “The nice thing is we show up every day at practice and get better. We take things away from tonight that I know we can do better. We have to keep grinding. As long as we continue to do that, we’ll see where we go.”
Greely junior Matt McDevitt skies for a shot as Yarmouth junior Gibson Harnett defends.
Greely junior Jordan Bagshaw and Yarmouth senior Musseit M’Bareck meet in the air.
Greely senior Caleb Normandeau goes hard to the basket with the left hand for a layup as Yarmouth junior Aleksander Medenica defends.
Greely junior Matt McDevitt drives to the basket.
Yarmouth junior Nolan Hagerty alters the shot of Greely junior Ryan Twitchell.
Yarmouth junior Aleksander Medenica blocks Greely senior Calvin Soule’s shot.
@ Greely 72 Yarmouth 57
Yarmouth 57 @ Greely 53
@ Yarmouth 61 Greely 42
@ Greely 58 Yarmouth 44
@ Yarmouth 60 Greely 53
@ Yarmouth 53 Greely 52
@ Greely 58 Yarmouth 57
Greely 61 @ Yarmouth 53
Yarmouth 53 @ Greely 51
Western B semifinals
Yarmouth 54 Greely 42
@ Greely 57 Yarmouth 49
Greely 54 @ Yarmouth 38
@ Greely 63 Yarmouth 44
@ Yarmouth 49 Greely 46
Greely 56 @ Yarmouth 52
@ Greely 72 Yarmouth 55
Western B quarterfinals
Greely 67 Yarmouth 53
Greely 67 @ Yarmouth 33
@ Greely 65 Yarmouth 37
@ Greely 66 Yarmouth 50
@ Yarmouth 61 Greely 59
Greely 43 @ Yarmouth 37
@ Greely 50 Yarmouth 39
@ Greely 43 Yarmouth 38
Greely 69 @ Yarmouth 52