Greely senior Ryan Twitchell is fouled on a drive to the basket during the Rangers’ 61-44 home win over rival Falmouth in Friday’s regular season finale. Greely finished the year 18-0.
Chris Lambert photos.
More photos below.
F- 5 15 12 12- 44
G- 15 11 17 18- 61
F- Coyne 4-0-11, M. Simonds 3-3-9, Manganello 3-0-7, Walsh 2-2-7, B. Simonds 2-1-6, Bryant 0-2-2, DePatsy 1-0-2
G- McDevitt 8-4-22, Brown 5-2-15, Twitchell 5-5-15, Bagshaw 2-0-5, Wood 1-0-3, Kane 0-1-1
F (6) Coyne 3, Manganello, B. Simonds, Walsh 1
G (7) Brown 3, McDevitt 2, Bagshaw, Wood 1
CUMBERLAND—The first goal of the Greely boys’ basketball team has been attained.
An 18-0 regular season is in the books.
Now, the Rangers will turn their attention to capturing an elusive Gold Ball.
Friday evening, on Senior Night, against ancient rival Falmouth, Greely put on another impressive show, wrapped up a perfect regular season and served notice that it is the team to beat in the upcoming Class A tournament.
After the last meeting went to double-overtime before the Rangers prevailed by a point, only 32 minutes were needed, as Greely never trailed and got the job done at both ends of the floor.
An early putback from senior Ryan Twitchell, who dominated on the glass at both ends, put the Rangers ahead to stay in the first period and after eight minutes, Greely was on top, 15-5.
Senior standout Matt McDevitt heated up in the second quarter, but despite the Yachtsmen being on the ropes, the Rangers couldn’t deliver the knockout blow and when Falmouth sophomore Sam Manganello knocked down an improbable 3-pointer at the horn, Greely’s lead was only six points, 26-20, at the break.
While the Yachtsmen drew within three points on three occasions in the third quarter, the Rangers finally managed to pull away by virtue of a 9-0 run and a 3-pointer from McDevitt spelled a 43-32 lead heading for the fourth period.
There, Greely quickly pushed the lead to 16 points and while Falmouth crept back to 10, the hosts slammed the door and went on to a 61-44 victory.
The Rangers got 22 points from McDevitt, 15 apiece from Twitchell and sophomore Zack Brown and completed their first undefeated season in 20 years, as they dropped the Yachtsmen to 13-5 in the process.
“Our goal every single night is to win,” said Greely coach Travis Seaver. “Whether it’s Falmouth or someone else, our goal is to win. I don’t believe in losing games. Whatever game we play is the most important game of the season. It feels pretty good to go 18-0. It’s a great accomplishment. This sets up to play good basketball in the tournament.”
The teams met back on Jan. 3 in Falmouth and the Rangers eked out a palpitating 55-54 decision in double overtime.
The rematch was highly anticipated and Friday’s contest, which was supposed to be played Thursday, but was moved back 24 hours due to bad weather, brought the curtain down on the 2016-17 regular season, a campaign that has been kind to both the Rangers and Yachtsmen.
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. The Yachtsmen fell from the unbeaten ranks, losing, 40-37, on a buzzer-beater to Cape Elizabeth, then bounced back with a 65-55 win at York, before losing the double-OT decision to Greely. Falmouth then rattled off five straight victories: 54-43 at defending Class B champion Lake Region, 60-53 over visiting York, 63-44 at Marshwood, 63-54 at Kennebunk and 45-32 over visiting Waynflete, the defending Class C South champion (45-32). After a 68-60 loss at defending Class AA South champion South Portland, the Yachtsmen handled visiting Fryeburg Academy, 56-36. Last Friday, Falmouth lost at Yarmouth (77-55) before bouncing back Wednesday with a 60-44 home triumph over Cape Elizabeth.
Greely opened by beating 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). After the overtime win at Falmouth, the Rangers stayed perfect with an 80-64 home win over Poland, then held on for an exhilarating 82-74, triple overtime victory at Yarmouth. Greely kept the good times rolling by downing host Biddeford (75-63), visiting Fryeburg Academy (72-41), host York (61-42), visiting Gray-New Gloucester (85-57), visiting Marshwood (76-31), host Cape Elizabeth (58-41), host Westbrook (52-40) and host Kennebunk (73-48).
Entering play Friday, since the start of the 2001-02 season, Falmouth had won 17 of 32 meetings (see sidebar, below), but Greely had won three straight.
The Yachtsmen hoped to end the Rangers’ recent run of success, but Greely went out and secured its first undefeated regular season since 1996-97.
It took over two minutes for the first points to be scored, as both teams were cold early.
McDevitt did the honors, scoring on a putback, but at the other end, Falmouth junior Jack Bryant, who had a huge game in the first meeting, made two foul shots to tie it.
With 4:57 to play in the opening stanza, Twitchell scored on a putback and Greely went ahead to stay.
Brown first made his presence felt with a 3, then Twitchell made two foul shots and senior Jordan Bagshaw hit a 3-pointer for a 12-2 lead, forcing Yachtsmen coach Dave Halligan to call timeout.
After junior Jack Kane added a free throw to cap an 11-0 run, Falmouth ended a 4 minute, 31 second drought and got its first field goal when freshman Michael Simonds made a leaner while being fouled, then hit the free throw to complete the old-fashioned three-point play.
With 45.4 seconds left, McDevitt made a layup and the Rangers took a 15-5 lead to the second period.
There, the Yachtsmen hung tough.
After senior Ben Simonds made a foul shot for the visitors, McDevitt made two free throws and junior Shane DeWolfe set up McDevitt for a layup and a 19-6 lead.
Back came Falmouth, as senior Sean Walsh hit a pair of free throws, Michael Simonds scored on a putback and Simonds added two foul shots to make it 19-12.
“This was (Michael’s) coming out party,” said Halligan. “He got quality minutes in a critical time. He’s got experience now. He’ll be big for us down the road.”
Greely responded, as McDevitt and Brown both sank two free throws, but Ben Simonds answered with a 3.
After McDevitt set up Twitchell for a layup to push the lead to 10, Michael Simonds made a jumper.
A foul shot from Twitchell inside of a minute was overshadowed as time expired in the half, as Manganello ran down a loose ball, turned and drained an improbable 3 to pull his team within six, 26-20.
McDevitt had 10 points and Twitchell scored seven points and grabbed eight rebounds in the first half, which was more than enough to counter Michael Simonds’ nine points.
Falmouth crept even closer in the third quarter before the Rangers earned some breathing room.
Just 19 seconds into the second half, Walsh drained a 3 to pull the Yachtsmen within three.
Greely responded, as Twitchell took a pass from DeWolfe and made a layup, but Falmouth senior standout Colin Coyne scored his first points, a jumper, to make it 28-25.
After Brown countered with a jumper, Ben Simonds drove for a layup to make it a three-point game again, but this time, the Rangers got consecutive hoops from Brown on a jumper and McDevitt on a leaner for a 34-27 lead.
Coyne’s 3 with 3:44 to play in the third cut the deficit to four, but the next nine points went to the hosts, as McDevitt hit a leaner, Twitchell sank two free throws, Twitchell scored on a putback and with 1:01 to go, McDevitt pulled up and sank a 3 for a 43-30 advantage.
Even though Manganello made a layup just before the horn, Greely had a somewhat comfortable 11-point lead with eight minutes to play.
The Rangers quickly ended all doubt in the fourth period.
Just 44 seconds in, McDevitt knocked down a 3 and Bagshaw added a jumper from the elbow for a 48-32 advantage.
Coyne tried to rally the Yachtsmen with successive 3-pointers, but 10 points would be as close as they would get.
After Bagshaw fed McDevitt for a layup and Walsh countered with a putback, Brown hit a big 3 for a 53-40 lead with 5:07 remaining.
“I just want to play my best when I go in,” Brown said. “Coach always tells me I need to have confidence. When I hit that first shot, it gave me confidence to keep shooting. The seniors helped me a lot. Sometimes I make mistakes and I get upset at myself, but they tell me to keep my head up and focus on the next play.”
“Zack helped us a lot,” Twitchell said. “He takes pressure off when he hits those shots.”
A Manganello putback was answered by another Brown 3 and Brown set up Twitchell for a layup and a 58-42 advantage.
After both coaches cleared their benches, Greely got one final 3 from senior Evan Wood and Falmouth’s final points came on a putback from junior Nikko DePatsy.
The horn sounded soon thereafter and the Rangers got to celebrate their 61-44 victory.
“It’s very important, especially to the seniors, to go out big in our final home game and take that momentum to the playoffs,” Twitchell said. “In Falmouth, we let them get to the rim. This game, we packed the paint and made them shoot from the perimeter. They hit that big 3 going into halftime and that took some momentum out of us, but we knew we had to play defense and stop them and step up our offense.”
“We kept playing hard defense and that defense led to good possessions on offense,” Brown said. “We put them away at the end. Going 18-0 was important because we wanted to show everyone we’re the best team and I think we did that tonight.”
“These kids are so motivated and focused,” Seaver added. “They show up ready to play. Day one in practice was just as hard as yesterday in practice, I’m really proud of them. It’s a really great group of guys. We’re playing together well. We’re playing smarter. We’re transitioning into tournament basketball. Our goal was to slow Coyne down. Our team defense was superb. We helped out big-time. That’s turning the page to tournament basketball. You have to win games on the defensive end.”
McDevitt had 22 points, nine rebounds, five assists, two blocked shots and a steal.
Brown and Twitchell (14 rebounds, four blocks and a steal) each added 15 points.
“I knew I had to step up,” said Twitchell. “They have two big guys, DePatsy and Walsh. I knew if I didn’t box them out, they’d get easy boards.”
“Ryan’s a tough matchup,” said Seaver. “We have four guys who can score in double digits, other guys who are offensive threats. We have seven guys who could start and Twitchell’s one of them. He’s a great athlete who can finish around the rim.”
Bagshaw had five points, Wood three and Kane one.
Greely enjoyed a 40-18 rebounding advantage, made 12 of 14 free throws and turned the ball over 13 times.
Falmouth was led by Coyne, who had a quiet 11 points. Michael Simonds added nine, Manganello and Walsh seven apiece, Ben Simonds six and Bryant and DePatsy two each.
The Yachtsmen made 8 of 10 foul shots and only turned the ball over nine times, but didn’t have enough to prevail.
“(Greely’s) the best team,” said Halligan. “That’s why they’re number one. They’ll wear the bulls-eye. They have a lot of pieces. We went small in the second half and they got inside. They had some supporting players step up and make big shots. We didn’t play well in the first half, but I’m pleased that we battled in the second half. We’d like to get another chance to play them, but we have to earn the right to do that.
“We’re right where I thought we would be. I thought 14-4, 13-5. A couple close games could have gone either way. I’m pleased with the progress of the younger players. The older players are used to winning. They have to teach the younger ones how to do it.”
Consensus will hold that either Greely or Falmouth will represent Class A South in the state final when all is said and done.
The Yachtsmen will be the No. 2 seed and will return to action Saturday, Feb. 18 in the Class A South quarterfinals. Falmouth projects to meet No. 7 Biddeford (8-10), a team the Yachtsmen downed, 60-46, back on Dec. 15 in Biddeford. The teams have no tournament history.
“We’ll be fine,” said Halligan. “We’ll do our work in practice and we’ll be better next time we play.”
The Rangers will be the top seed in the region and will take part in a quarterfinal Friday, Feb. 17 against either No. 8 Kennebunk (7-11) or No. 9 Fryeburg Academy (8-10).
Greely won at the Rams, 73-48, Feb. 6 and handled the visiting Raiders, 72-41, Jan. 16.
The Rangers are 3-0 all-time in the playoffs versus Fryeburg Academy, with a 71-51 victory in the 2013 Western B preliminary round the most recent. Greely and Kennebunk have no playoff history.
“It feels great to go 18-0, but now we start from the beginning with a clean slate,” Twitchell said. “We have a huge target on our backs. Everyone will want to beat us. The biggest thing will be our defense. When our defense locks down, it’ll translate to our offense and hopefully the offense will play well. We’re ready.”
“Our senior leadership is great,” said Seaver, who was a star player on Greely’s last championship team in 1997-98. “The guys are close-knit. Still, it’s high school basketball and there are upsets every year. We’ll be prepared and make sure we’re not one of them. The guys are really focused. I never worry about them understanding game plans. Our practices are harder than some games. We’ll try to play our best basketball.”
Greely senior Matt McDevitt shoots over Falmouth senior Ben Simonds. McDevitt had a game-high 22 points.
Greely sophomore Zack Brown knocks down a 3-pointer.
Greely sophomore Mike Coppersmith goes up for a shot.
Falmouth senior Ben Simonds drains a 3 over Greely senior Jordan Bagshaw.
Falmouth senior Colin Coyne shoots a 3-ball.
Greely girls’ hockey team, fresh off an overtime win in its semifinal round playoff game, celebrates after being recognized.
Greely’s student section had a lot to cheer about during Friday’s win.
Greely 55 Falmouth 54 (2 OT)
@ 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