Yarmouth boys no match for York
YARMOUTH—The defending champions might have met their successor Saturday night.
The new-look Yarmouth boys' basketball team learned that the preseason hype was warranted in regards to the York Wildcats, as the Wildcats scored the game's first 10 points and never looked back.
York got it done on the run, in a set offense, from inside, outside and in transition as it built a 23-12 lead after one period, pushed it to 42-21 at halftime, 55-30 after three and cruised from there to a 72-48 triumph.
York had eight different scorers, led by Aaron Todd with 16 points, deadeye 3-pointer shooter Adam Bailey with 15, Zach Leal with a dozen and Hayden Webster with 10 as it improved to 4-0 on the season, dropping the Clippers to 2-2 in the process.
"I think (York's) a very good team," said Yarmouth coach Adam Smith. "They move the ball well. They've obviously played together enough where they get pushed, but they don't panic in those situations. They're able to go inside and out pretty effectively with some length. They get up and down the floor really well too. They're a well rounded team."
Yarmouth enjoyed a magical season in 2011-12, one that included an early 49-48 win at York. The Clippers went on to capture the school's first basketball title since 1968, when they downed Gardiner in the Class B state final.
Yarmouth almost had to go through the Wildcats in the regional final, but York couldn't hold off Falmouth's comeback bid in the semifinals.
This winter, the seasoned and skilled Wildcats are off to a strong start, enjoying wins over host Fryeburg Academy (54-35), host Greely (71-48) and visiting Poland (72-39).
Yarmouth, which had its repeat hopes hampered by the graduation losses of Josh Britten, Chris Knaub and Sam Torres, also started well with victories at home over Gray-New Gloucester (70-46) and at Lake Region (67-52), but Thursday at Wells, the Clippers let a big second half lead slip away in a 71-65 loss to the Warriors.
Saturday, Yarmouth didn't enjoy a lead for a solitary second.
After nearly two scoreless minutes, York erupted for the game's first 10 points.
A 3-pointer from Bailey set the tone. Bailey added another 3, Michael Gallagher made a layup and with 3:34 to go in the opening stanza, Webster sank two free throws for a 10-0 advantage.
The Clippers got on the board nine seconds later when junior David Murphy made a layup, but the visitors got a jumper from Leal and another 3 from Bailey to make it 15-2.
Yarmouth attempted to start on a rally courtesy its bench as junior Liam Mahoney made a 3, but Leal answered with a layup.
After junior Wyatt Jackson made two free throws for the Clippers, Todd and Gallagher hit layups for a 21-7 Wildcats' advantage.
Yarmouth showed some life late in the first as Jackson made a free throw, sophomore Jordan Brown buried a 3 and after York got a reverse layup from Todd, Mahoney made a free throw to cut the deficit to 23-12.
When Mahoney made a 3 to start the second period, the Clippers were within eight, but they would draw no closer.
Bailey answered with another 3 and after Yarmouth senior Adam Wriggins made a layup, York's Luke Claflin made a layup, Todd hit two free throws, Leal stole the ball and raced in for a thunderous dunk and with 3:57 left before halftime, Claflin made a foul shot to push the lead to 33-17.
Jackson answered with a finger roll, but Leal scored on a putback, Leal hit a free throw and Todd made a layup to make it 38-19. Jackson hit two foul shots, but York closed the half in style as Claflin banked home a shot and Todd made two free throws to allow the Wildcats to double up the Clippers, 42-21, at the break.
York promptly denied any comeback hopes Yarmouth might have entertained when the teams returned for second half action.
A free throw and a reverse layup from Leal gave the Wildcats a 24-point bulge.
Jackson answered with a layup, but Todd hit a runner.
Clippers junior Nate Shields-Auble made a turnaround jumper, but Webster made a layup and Todd drained a pair of free throws. After Shields-Auble hit a leaner and Wriggins made a free throw, Webster answered with a turnaround jumper. Senior Chase Hughes buried a jumper for the hosts, but Webster answered once more with a jump shot of his own and after three, York was in full command, up, 55-30.
Early in the fourth quarter, Hughes and Bailey traded 3-pointers. Todd made a layup, but Mahoney answered with a leaner. After Webster sank two free throws, Jackson hit a jumper.
Thomas Kinton of the Wildcats then sandwiched a 3-point shot and an old-fashioned three-point play (layup, foul, free throw) around a pair of Shields-Auble foul shots to give York its biggest lead, 68-39.
Shields-Auble made a layup, Brown converted a three-point play, senior Christian Henry made a layup after a steal and Murphy sank a jumper, but that only cut the deficit to 20, 68-48.
The Wildcats then closed it out as Claflin hit a jumper and Nick Darby made a layup to account for the 72-48 final score.
"I thought we had some very successful trips, but to (York's) credit, they adjusted quickly," said Smith. "It's a challenge when we're playing with three or four guys in any one time in the defensive end. In a few weeks, we'll adjust better than we are now. I tell the guys the scoreboard's not the issue. The issue is how we play together. They don't have that total understanding yet that it's not the scoreboard that indicates how we're playing. It's our effort, five guys offensively and defensively. We haven't bought into that trust yet."
York was paced by 16 points from Todd, who also had seven rebounds, four assists and a blocked shot. Bailey made five 3-pointers, good for 15 points. He also grabbed seven boards and had four steals. Leal scored 12 points (and had three rebounds, two steals, an assist and a blocked shot) before fouling out. Webster (six boards, three steals and two blocks) also scored in double figures with 10 points. Claflin added seven points (along with five rebounds and a block), Kinton six, Gallagher four and Darby two.
The Wildcats made 14-of-17 free throws. They also committed 23 turnovers in a frenetically paced game, but the result was never in doubt.
Yarmouth's leading scorer was Jackson, who had 11 points (along with three steals). Mahoney added nine points (and had two steals). Shields-Auble finished with eight points, eight boards (five offensive) and two steals. Brown added six points, Hughes five, Murphy (six assists, four rebounds, two steals) four, Wriggins (four boards, two steals) three and Henry two.
The Clippers got more points from their bench (26) then their starters (22).
Yarmouth made 10-of-16 free throws and turned the ball over 19 times.
York is back in action Tuesday at Traip, then closes the 2012 portion of its schedule Thursday at home versus Freeport. The Wildcats' first game of 2013 is at Falmouth in a compelling showdown/playoff rematch Jan. 3. This is a squad that will be in it for the long haul.
Speaking of the Yachtsmen, that's who Yarmouth sees next, Tuesday, at home. The Clippers wrap up 2012 Friday at Fryeburg.
Yarmouth, which hopes to be bolstered by the return from injury of sophomore Adam LaBrie by the first of the year, expects to show steady improvement and to make life miserable for all foes by the end of the season.
"I don't think we're playing anywhere near as well as can or will be in four weeks," said Smith. "I think it will take that long for us to really get a hold of how we want to play five guys on defense. Our bench will be a little deeper when LaBrie gets back. It will give guys less minutes and allow them be more intense for shorter periods of time. I'm not disappointed with our effort. I'm disappointed with how we're playing. (The guys are) disappointed as well. Fortunately, it's a long season. We'll keep working and we're going to get better. We have a lot of faith and confidence that we'll get it figured out. We talk about being gritty, gutting it out, carrying intensity with you.
"We have to get some key wins. Our ability is there. It's going to be putting eight minutes together at a time until you do that for four quarters and carry it over. Falmouth's another tremendous challenge. I look forward to it and our guys do as well. I hope it's a better step."