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Greely senior Andrew Storey defends Kennebunk junior Max Murray during the teams’ Class A South semifinal Wednesday night. Murray had 30 points, but Storey’s 23 helped the Rangers prevail, 69-62, and set up a date with Falmouth in Saturday’s regional final.
Ben McCanna / Portland Press Herald photos.
More photos below.
PORTLAND—Greely’s three standout players, seniors Zach Brown and Drew Storey and junior Logan Bagshaw, combined for 52 points Wednesday evening at the Cross Insurance Arena and the top-ranked Rangers needed all of them to defeat No. 5 Kennebunk, 69-62, in a Class A South semifinal.
Storey had 23 points and he sparked runs to start the first and second halves, which were just enough to hold off the valiant Rams, who got 30 points from junior Max Murray.
Greely improved to 17-3, extended its three-year postseason win streak to 10 games and in ending Kennebunk’s season at 15-5, the Rangers advanced to meet rival Falmouth (15-5) in the Class A South Final Saturday at 8 p.m., at CIA.
“We wanted to rely on our experience and make them get back on their heels and we did that in the first quarter,” said Greely coach Travis Seaver. “We talked at halftime about having a great third quarter and we did. When our guys play together, we’re tough, because we have weapons all over the floor and we can score from anywhere.”
After consecutive 22-0 state championship runs, Greely was mortal this season, losing to Oxford Hills, South Portland and York, but the Rangers won their other 15 games to lock up the top seed in Class A South again. Friday, Greely had little trouble with eighth-seeded Mt. Ararat in the quarterfinals, prevailing, 70-46.
Kennebunk put together a strong 14-4 campaign and advanced with a 72-55 win over No. 5 Leavitt in its quarterfinal Friday.
The Rams and Rangers didn’t play this winter. They had met just once before in the playoffs, a 76-31 Greely victory two years ago in the quarterfinal round.
Wednesday, the Rangers started fast and didn’t look back.
Just 24 seconds in, Bagshaw sank a long 3 and Greely was off and running.
Storey knocked down his first shot as well, a jumper, and after senior Zack Sullivan made a layup for Kennebunk’s first points, senior Lars Boddie drove for a layup, Storey made a layup, senior Michael Coppersmith set up Boddie for a layup and Bagshaw drained another 3 for a 14-2 lead with 3:30 to go in the first period, forcing Rams coach David Leal to call timeout.
“It was very important to get the early lead and just keep firing,” Storey said.
The timeout helped, as Sullivan drove for a layup and senior Cam Lovejoy sank a 3 to cut the deficit to seven.
Greely immediately responded, as Bagshaw scored on a putback and Brown hit a leaner.
After sophomore Adam Lux drained a 3 for Kennebunk, Storey put home his own miss and after eight minutes, thanks to eight points from Bagshaw and six from Storey, the Rangers had a 20-10 advantage.
In the second period, the Rams drew within six on a layup from junior Maxwell Murray and a Sullivan runner, but Brown drained a 3-pointer and Storey converted an old-fashioned three-point play, taking a pass from Bagshaw and making a layup while being fouled before adding the and-one free throw.
Lux countered with a 3, but Brown made a jump shot, then took a pass from Bagshaw and made a layup for a 30-17 lead.
After Murray scored on a putback, sophomore Luke Gabloff hit a leaner for the Rangers.
Murray got two points back with a layup, but Storey answered with another three-point play and a 35-21 advantage.
Kennebunk then closed the half strong, as Sullivan sank two free throws and junior Kyle Pasieniuk sank a 3, but Lux’s attempt at a momentum-turning 3-ball at the horn rimmed out and the Rangers still held a nine-point lead, 35-26, at the break.
In the first half, Storey led the way with 12 points, Brown had nine (to go with seven rebounds) and Bagshaw added eight.
Sullivan’s eight points led Kennebunk, while Lux and Murray each added six.
Greely then got some separation in the third quarter.
Just 10 seconds in, Brown took a feed from Storey and made a layup. After a Bagshaw steal, Brown raced into the frontcourt and found Storey for a short jumper. Bagshaw then scored off a feed from Storey and just like that, a nine point lead had ballooned to 41-26.
“We talked at halftime about trying to keep it rolling and put the game away,” Storey said. “We’re very good at passing. We like to just find the open man no matter who it is. As long as we put the ball in the hoop, that’s all we’re looking for.”
Murray drove for a layup, but that only momentarily stemmed the tide, as Storey drove and made a reverse layup, Bagshaw delivered a no-look pass to Storey for a layup and with 5:27 remaining in the frame, Bagshaw spun and scored for a 47-28 advantage.
After Lovejoy hit a jumper to end the run, Brown sank a baseline jumper.
Murray then heated up with a layup and a 3-pointer to make it 49-35.
Greely answered again, as Coppersmith set up Storey for a reverse layup and Gabloff drove for a layup, finishing nicely with his left hand.
In the final minute of the frame, Murray made three of four free throw attempts and Bagshaw set up junior Nick Butler for a layup and a 55-38 advantage heading to the final quarter.
There, despite Murray’s heroics, the Rangers were able to put it away.
Coppersmith stole the ball to start the final stanza and set up Brown for a layup and Storey followed with a long 3 to make it 60-38 with 6:56 to go.
Murray made a 3, but Coppersmith drove for a layup.
After a Sullivan putback, Lovejoy sank an NBA-range 3-pointer and Murray scored a fastbreak layup to cut the deficit to 62-48 with 4:35 remaining.
Greely pushed the lead back out to 20, as Bagshaw set up Boddie for a layup, Coppersmith drove and banked a shot home and with 2:47 to go, Bagshaw’s leaner made it 68-48.
After Pasieniuk made a layup for Kennebunk, Murray made successive 3s to cut the deficit to a dozen with just over a minute to play.
Murray made another 3 with 28 seconds on the clock, but it was too little, too late and after Coppersmith and Sullivan traded free throws, a layup from Sullivan as time wound down produced the final points in the Rangers’ 69-62 triumph.
“We just had to grind it out and make adjustments,” Storey said. “(Kennebunk) fought until the last whistle, give them credit for that. They’re a strong team.”
“We tried to focus and do what we do well and we did,” Seaver said. “We talked about a fast start. Defensively, I thought we did a good job, outside of the last four minutes.”
Storey led the way for Greely with 23 points. He also had seven rebounds, five assists, two blocked shots and two steals. Brown added 15 points, nine rebounds and four assists and Bagshaw had 14 points, seven rebounds, six assists and a pair of steals.
“We have guys who have played serious minutes on this floor and it helps,” Seaver said. “They’re good.”
Boddie had six points (as well as six rebounds), Coppersmith five (to go with four assists), Gabloff four and Butler two.
The Rangers had a 34-32 rebounding advantage, overcame 14 turnovers and made 3 of 4 free throws.
Kennebunk was paced by Murray, who erupted for 30 points and also grabbed eight rebounds. Sullivan had a double-double of 13 points and 14 boards. Lovejoy had eight, while Lux had six and Pasieniuk finished with five.
The Rams were just 4 of 10 from the foul line and turned the ball over 13 times.
“We dug a hole too deep in the first half to get out of,” lamented Leal. “(Greely) came out and got some quick turnovers and capitalized. They’re a good team. We were a little hesitant. Some of our shots didn’t drop.
“The five games we did lose, we scrapped back in every one. Our future is really bright. Our JV team lost one game and our freshmen lost one game. We expect to be back here next year and we’ll be better.”
Greely is closing in a school-record three straight state titles, but Falmouth believes it has what it takes to deny the Rangers.
The Yachtsmen saw Greely just once this year, four days before Christmas, a 46-29 Rangers’ victory.
Greely has won all five prior playoff meetings, with a dramatic 49-47 triumph in last year’s semifinals the most recent.
Based on that contest alone, the Rangers know they’ll have to battle for 32 minutes to advance against a team that has a formidable inside presence in senior center Nik Hester and several strong outside shooters.
“We’ve played together since we were really young and this has been a dream since being little kids shooting on Nerf basketball hoops,” Storey said. “Falmouth is a very good matchup. We’re just looking to come out and give it our all.”
“We’re playing our best basketball we’ve played all year and that’s what we always talk about, playing our best in February,” Seaver said. “We have a ways to go and a couple days to do it. (Falmouth’s) a totally different team than two months ago and we’re a totally different team than two months ago. We’ll try to dictate the game, but it’s a tournament game and it will come down to halfcourt defense. Hester is a tough matchup. I believe he makes them tick. He boxes out, he blocks shot. We have some size to match up.”
Greely senior Zach Brown drives on Kennebunk senior Zack Sullivan.
Greely junior Logan Bagshaw drives on Kennebunk sophomore Sam Tartre.