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Greely senior Matt McDevitt buries a 3-point shot during the Rangers’ emphatic 76-31 victory over Kennebunk in a Class A South quarterfinal Friday night. McDevitt had 17 points as Greely advanced to meet York in the semifinals.
Chris Lambert photos.
More photos below.
PORTLAND—As the top seed in a tournament, there’s nothing to be gained by stretching out the drama.
Greely’s boys’ basketball team made sure there was absolutely no drama Friday evening at the Portland Exposition Building when it met Kennebunk in a Class A South quarterfinal.
By the time the game was just over three minutes old, the top-ranked Rangers led the eighth-seeded Rams, 11-0.
By the end of the first quarter, thanks to 10 forced turnovers and eight points from senior Jordan Bagshaw and seven more from classmate Matt McDevitt, Greely had essentially ended all doubt, leading, 22-5.
The second period was equally prolific, as the Rangers scored the final 11 points and took a decisive 44-12 advantage to the half.
While Kennebunk played hard throughout, Greely was never tested and while its production slowed some in the third period, it still added six points to its lead, to go ahead, 56-18.
Reserves saw most of the time in the fourth quarter and even they played well for the Rangers, who went on to put the finishing touches on a dominant 76-31 victory.
Bagshaw and McDevitt led the way with 17 points apiece, Greely forced 21 turnovers and won its 19th game without a loss this winter, ended the Rams’ season at 8-12 and advancing to battle No. 4 York (12-7) in the Class A South semifinals Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., at the Cross Insurance Arena across town.
“The first game from a coaching standpoint is the toughest, because you don’t know what to expect, but the guys handled it really well and came out ready to play,” said Rangers coach Travis Seaver. “It was a total team effort.”
Greely passed every test during the regular season, even though it was twice pushed to multiple overtimes before surviving (see sidebar, below, for links to previous game stories).
Kennebunk wound up 7-11, earned the No. 8 seed in Class A South, then outlasted No. 9 Fryeburg Academy, 68-57, in a double-overtime thriller Tuesday in the preliminary round.
Greely won at Kennebunk, 73-48, Feb. 6.
The teams had no playoff history.
Friday, the Rangers went out and played like a top-ranked team should and made quick work of the Rams.
It took only 16 seconds for Greely to go on top to stay, as McDevitt spun around a defender, leaned in and scored.
Twitchell then took a pass from junior Shane DeWolfe and made a layup, McDevitt set up Bagshaw for a layup and sophomore Zach Brown knocked down a 3-pointer for a 9-0 advantage just 2 minutes, 10 seconds into the contest.
Kennebunk coach Barrett Belanger called timeout, but it didn’t help, as Bagshaw banked home a tough-angle shot and with 4:28 left in the first, McDevitt canned a 3 for a commanding 14-0 advantage.
“When shots fall, you can’t ask for anything more,” Bagshaw said. “We just want to get out and run and gun. We did a good job of that to start.”
The Rams finally scored 11 seconds later, on a 3-pointer from sophomore Cam Lovejoy, but McDevitt answered with a bank shot and Bagshaw sank two free throws to make it 18-3.
After a jump shot from Kennebunk senior captain Jack Kiley, the Rangers’ onslaught continued, as McDevitt set up Twitchell for a layup and Bagshaw made a layup after a steal for a 22-5 lead after eight minutes.
The only thing that went wrong for Greely in the first period was when Bagshaw’s desperation 3-pointer from midcourt at the horn was barely off-target.
In the second quarter, the Rangers were equally dominant and they ended the competitive phase of the contest well before the half.
DeWolfe set up Twitchell for a layup to start the frame and after Rams sophomore Tripp Bush made a free throw, DeWolfe drove for a reverse layup, Bagshaw made two free throws and Bagshaw got a pull up jumper to roll in for a 30-6 lead.
“I like playing here,” Bagshaw said. “Some say it’s tough to shoot here and some like to shoot here. We love it.”
Kennebunk got a putback from junior Cole Hoffman, but Twitchell knocked down a leaner.
Kiley sandwiched jumpers around a foul shot by Greely junior Jack Kane before Kane scored on successive putbacks, Brown made a layup after a steal, McDevitt hit a 3 and Kane’s putback capped an 11-0 run to push the lead to 44-12 at halftime.
“I can’t talk enough about our defense,” Seaver said. “To hold a varsity team to 12 points in a half, that’s a big leap for us. We control the things we can control. We can control a lot on the defensive side. We have confidence and we’ve played well.”
In the first half, Bagshaw led all scorers with 12 points. McDevitt added 10, Twitchell eight and Kane seven. Kiley paced Kennebunk with six, but the Rams (who had 16 turnovers in the first 16 minutes) had no answers for the Rangers’ brilliance.
Greely’s production slowed dramatically in the third quarter, but the Rangers still outscored the Rams.
A pair of free throws from Lovejoy started the second half scoring. Twitchell countered with a putback, but Lovejoy made two more foul shots.
After Twitchell made a free throw, Hoffman scored on a putback, but Bagshaw did the same, then Bagshaw knocked down a 3 to make it 52-18.
Late in the period, Rangers sophomore Mike Coppersmith made two foul shots and McDevitt did the same for a 56-18 advantage heading to the final stanza.
Greely largely used its reserves in the final eight minutes as it put the finishing touches on the win.
DeWolfe started the fourth period with a pair of free throws. McDevitt then converted an old-fashioned three-point play (leaner, foul, free throw) into a 61-18 lead.
Rams freshman Kyle Pasieniuk scored consecutive baskets, but McDevitt countered with a putback and Twitchell added two free throws, which made it 65-22 and more or less spelled the end for the Rangers’ starters.
After Lovejoy made a jumper, Greely junior Luke Miller knocked down a 3.
Kiley answered with a jumper and Lovejoy sank a 3, but a jump shot from Rangers senior Ben Williams made it 70-29 with 2:35 to play.
Greely’s final points came on a layup from junior Nick Gauvin, a three-point play from junior A.J. Eisenhart and an Eisenhart free throw.
With 7 seconds left, Rams freshman Ariel Calandri drove for a layup and that brought the curtain down on the Rangers’ 76-31 victory.
“Defense is a big part of our team,” Bagshaw said. “It’s the biggest reason we win games. It’s important we play defense in case shots don’t fall. We do drills basically half our practice, working on defense. We do a great job executing on defense every game. We tried to shut down Lovejoy. He’s a great player, but Shane did a great on him. He did his job. We all did our job.”
The margin of victory was Greely’s most ever in a playoff game since at least 1963 (which is as far as The Forecaster’s records go back). The prior record was 40, in an 85-45 victory over Wells in the 1992 Western B quarterfinals.
Greely got 17 points apiece from Bagshaw (who also had four rebounds, three steals) and McDevitt (five rebounds, three assists, two blocked shots and two steals).
The Rangers also got a 13 points from Twitchell (who added six rebounds), seven from Kane, five from Brown (who also had five boards, two steals and two assists), four apiece from DeWolfe (three assists) and Eisenhart, three from Miller and two each from Coppersmith, Gauvin and Williams.
Greely enjoyed a 36-29 rebounding advantage, forced 21 turnovers while only giving the ball away seven times, and made 17 of 21 free throws.
For Kennebunk, Lovejoy led the way with 12 points, six rebounds and two steals. Kiley added eight points (and two blocks), Hoffman (eight boards) and Pasieniuk had four points each, Calandri finished with two and Bush had one.
The Rams made 5 of 8 foul shots.
Last winter, Greely, as the top seed, got to the semifinals, but was upset by Brunswick.
Thursday, the Rangers hope to avoid a similar pitfall when they take on York, but it won’t be easy.
Greely twice beat the Wildcats this year, 77-51 at home and 61-42 at York. The Rangers are 4-4 all-time in the tournament against the Wildcats, with a 41-38 victory in the 2014 semifinals the most recent.
“York is a tough team, but we’re feeling good going into Wednesday,” Bagshaw said. “We’ll keep working on the defensive end. We talk about ‘Gold Ball Dreams.’ We’ve talked about it since the start of the season. We’ll be ready.”
“It’s the tournament and I want the guys to understand anything can happen,” said Seaver. “We did a good job handling the environment and uncertainty tonight. These guys are pretty focused and committed. We’re ready to move on to the next one. York’s tough. They’re physical. They’ll be ready to play. We have to be ready.”
Greely junior Jack Kane has a shot blocked by Kennebunk senior Jack Kiley.
Greely senior Ryan Twitchell scores on Kennebunk junior Cole Hoffman.
Greely senior Matt McDevitt drives the baseline on Kennebunk freshman Maxwell Murray.
Greely sophomore Mike Coppersmith gets past Kennebunk junior Cole Hoffman for a layup attempt.
Greely senior Jordan Bagshaw floats for a shot as Kennebunk sophomore Tripp Bush looks on.