No scare this time…Falmouth ousts Westbrook in quarterfinals

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Falmouth junior Colin Coyne (12) is congratulated by seniors Sean Bryant, left, and Thomas Coyne after hitting a 3-point shot just before the first half horn in the Yachtsmen’s 61-33 victory over Westbrook in Saturday’s Class A South quarterfinal. Falmouth advanced to meet rival Cape Elizabeth in the semifinals Wednesday.

Mike Strout photos.

More photos below.

BOX SCORE

Falmouth 61 Westbrook 33

W- 1 11 12 9- 33
F- 12 21 11 17- 61

W- Loureiro 3-2-8, Manoogian 3-1-7, Knapton 2-1-5, Champagne 0-4-4, Kavutse 1-0-2, McKone 1-0-2, Sawyer 1-0-2, Sjoberg 0-2-2, Jany 0-1-1

F- Skop 6-3-15, C. Coyne 4-2-13, Walsh 4-2-13, T. Coyne 3-2-9, A. Wissemann 1-0-3, S. Bryant 1-0-2, Simonds 1-0-2, N. Wissemann 0-2-2, Wuhlbrecht 1-0-2

3-pointers:
F (8) C. Coyne, Walsh 3, T. Coyne, A. Wissemann 1

Turnovers:
W- 18
F- 17

Free throws
W: 11-19
F: 11-14

PORTLAND—So much for the Falmouth Yachtsmen being a two-man team.

Saturday evening in a Class A South boys’ basketball quarterfinal at the Portland Exposition Building, upset-minded, seventh-ranked Westbrook managed to hold Falmouth’s powerhouse Coyne brothers combination to a total of 22 points, but the second-seeded Yachtsmen demonstrated that they boast plenty of other ammunition.

Unlike last year’s thrilling quarterfinal which went to overtime before Falmouth eked out a one-point victory, the Yachtsmen essentially ended the competitive phase of this one in the first period, when they held the Blue Blazes without a field goal and shot to a 12-1 lead thanks to the heroics of unheralded senior Sam Skop and junior Sean Walsh.

Falmouth continued to pour it on in the second quarter and thanks to late 3s from Walsh and junior Colin Coyne, took a 33-12 advantage to the break.

Westbrook hung tough in the third period, but the Yachtsmen still led by 20 after three periods and they pulled away to prevail, 61-33.

Skop led the way with a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds, Coyne and Walsh added 13 points apiece and that was more than enough for Falmouth to improve to 15-4, end the Blue Blazes’ season at 10-9 and advance to meet No. 3 Cape Elizabeth (15-4) in the A South semifinals Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Cross Insurance Arena across town.

“We’re more than a two-man team,” said Yachtsmen coach Dave Halligan. “If you cheat off one of our players, someone else will step up.”

New rivalry

Prior to last February, Falmouth and Westbrook had no history on the hardwood, but they made some in the Western A quarterfinal when the Yachtsmen, who led for less than a minute total, rallied for a thrilling 48-47 overtime victory behind 20 points from Jack Simonds.

On Jan. 23, Falmouth went to Westbrook and won, 76-54, behind senior Thomas Coyne’s 35-point explosion.

That victory was part of another stellar regular season for the Yachtsmen, who won 14 games, lost three by a single point, then fell at home to Greely in the finale to drop to the No. 2 seed.

“That (Greely) loss hit all of us pretty hard,” Colin Coyne said. “We wanted that one, but we got over it quickly. We knew that was just for seeding.” 

“We don’t like to lose, but losing makes us tougher because it exposed our mistakes,” Halligan said.

Westbrook welcomed Dan LeGage as coach this winter. LeGage led Deering to a pair of Class A championships and turned the Blue Blazes into a contender as the season progressed. Westbrook started 1-4, but steadily improved and wound up 10-8 and seventh in the region.

Saturday, Falmouth made sure the game wouldn’t be close late by getting off to a fast start. 

Colin Coyne got things started with an NBA-range 3-pointer. Coyne then added a jumper and Thomas Coyne ally-ooped a pass to Skop for a layup and a 7-0 lead with 3:46 to go in the period, forcing LeGage to call timeout.

Westbrook got on the board 43 seconds later when junior Nemieceo Loureiro made a free throw, but Walsh buried a corner 3 and Colin Coyne fed Thomas Coyne a backdoor pass for a layup and a 12-1 lead after eight minutes.

“It’s really important to knock down shots,” Walsh said. “Once you knock down shots, you get in rhythm and get more confident. The Coyne brothers deserve all the credit they get. They open up shots for us. We play a team offense and get open shots when we can. We wanted to get out to an early lead.”

“Sean went down to play JV to get playing time and gain confidence,” Halligan said.

In the second period, the Yachtsmen had no let-up, as Skop scored on a leaner off the glass and Thomas Coyne fed senior Sean Bryant for a layup and a 16-1 lead.

With 6:16 left in the half, the Blue Blazes made their first field goal after 14 misses, as junior Bailey Sawyer made a layup, but Thomas Coyne countered with a long 3 for a commanding 19-3 lead.

Westbrook then awakened and scored seven straight points, as sophomore Landon Sjoberg hit two free throws, Loureiro converted an old-fashioned three-point play (leaner, foul, free throw) and senior Curtis Knapton knocked down a jumper to make it 19-10.

With 4:03 to go in he half, Skop was fouled on an offensive rebound and hit two free throws to stem the tide. Colin Coyne fed Skop for a layup and the next time down the floor, senior Matt Wuhlbrecht set up Skop for another layup and a 25-10 advantage.

“This was fun,” Skop said. “I was a little nervous before the game, but to get those first few buckets, I felt comfortable on the court. That game last year was in my mind because we got a scare. We didn’t want that to happen again. We wanted a quick start.

“I think it’s fun playing with (Colin and Thomas). They’re such good players. When teams forget about me, Matt and Sean, we have to shine more. If we don’t, it puts more of a burden on Thomas and Colin.”

After Walsh made two free throws, Loureiro drove the baseline for a layup, but Walsh hit a 3 and as time expired, Colin Coyne leaned in for a contested 3 which rattled home to make it 33-12 at the break.

In the first half, Falmouth got 10 points from Skop, eight apiece from Coyne and Walsh, made 12 of 22 field goals and held the Blue Blazes to 4 of 19 shooting.

Westbrook came out strong in the second half, but never made a serious run.

A layup after a steal by sophomore Zac Manoogian and a Manoogian free throw started the third period. After Thomas Coyne made two free throws, Coyne fed a no-look ally-oop to Skop for a layup and a 37-15 lead.

Manoogian answered with a jumper and freshman Kyle Champagne made two foul shots, but Colin Coyne knocked down a 3. 

After Manoogian hit a jumper and Knapton sank a free throw, Thomas Coyne stole the ball and went in for a finger roll off the glass. Knapton answered with a leaner, but as time wound down in the quarter, junior Ben Simonds scored on a putback to make it 44-24 Falmouth heading for the final stanza.

There, the Yachtsmen wrapped it up.

After Knapton set up Loureiro for a layup after a steal to start the fourth, Walsh hit a bank shot, Wuhlbrecht passed to Skop for a layup and Walsh buried a 3 for a 51-26 advantage with 5:32 to go.

After Westbrook senior Anderson Kavutse drove for a layup, Wuhlbrecht scored on a putback. Champagne hit a free throw and Skop countered. Colin Coyne then hit two foul shots before he came out of the game. 

Down the stretch, with reserves all over the court, Champagne made a free throw, Falmouth senior Alex Wissemann brought the team’s cheering section to its feet with a 3, Blue Blazes sophomore Cory McKone scored on a putback, Yachtsmen senior Nick Wissemann made two free throws for his team’s final points and Westbrook sophomore Deng Jany made a foul shot to account for the 61-33 final score.

“We just ran our offense and I think we played really good defense,” Walsh said. “We knew what to expect. We came out and played our game and it worked.  We didn’t want to let them back in the game.”

“We all remember last year’s game,” Colin Coyne said. “It wasn’t a fun game to play. Tonight, we played our tempo and controlled the game from the start. When teams focus on me and Thomas, the other guys step up. They made plays consistently tonight. We knew we had to come out hot and play our game.”

“We tried to make it just another game,” Halligan added. “There were tournament jitters, but we’d played (Westbrook) before. Last year, we hadn’t played them. We respected them and prepared for them.” 

Skop led the way with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Walsh added 13 points (including three 3-pointers). Colin Coyne had a quiet 13 points and dished out four assists. Thomas Coyne finished with nine points, six assists, four rebounds and three steals. Alex Wissemann had three points, Bryant, Simonds, Nick Wissemann and Wuhlbrecht (10 boards) all had two points.

Falmouth turned the ball over 17 times, but forced 18 Westbrook turnovers.

The Yachtsmen had a 31-16 rebounding advantage, made eight 3s to none for the Blue Blazes, shot 50 percent from two-point land, 8 of 18 on 3s and 11 of 14 from the free throw line.

The Blue Blazes got eight points from Loureiro, seven from Manoogian, five from Knapton (who had five rebounds), four from Champagne, two apiece from Kavutse (five steals), McKone, Sawyer and Sjoberg and one from Jany.

Westbrook made just 11 of 39 shots from the field, missed all seven 3-point attempts and made 11 of 19 free throws.

“It might have been nerves (to start), but I don’t want to take anything away from (Falmouth),” LeGage said. “They had a lot to do with it. I thought we did a good job on the Coynes. To their credit, their other players stepped up and made some shots. They shot well.

“This was a good learning experience for our younger guys. As much as this hurts right now, we’ll try to take from it what we can do better going forward. I’m proud of the season just getting to the tournament with one returning varsity player.”

Rivalry renewed

Wednesday’s semifinal could be an instant classic.

Cape Elizabeth defeated York, 59-43, in its quarterfinal to advance.

Falmouth defeated the Capers twice this winter, 69-66 at home Dec. 8 and 44-42 on the road Feb. 2.

The Yachtsmen have won three of five prior playoff meetings. The most recent came in the 2010 Western B Final (a 53-40 Falmouth victory).

“We’ll focus on their key guys and try to contain them,” Coyne said. “The rest will take care of itself.”

“Cape’s a good team with good players,” Walsh said. “It’s going to be a fun game.”

“I think we’re in a pretty good position,” Skop said. “Our team chemistry is great right now. We know each other well. We just have to cover their key players. They have good shooters and guys who can drive well. They’re similar to us, but they have more depth. If we can shut down their key players, we’ll be OK.”

“(Cape’s) a good team,” Halligan added. “They’re the defending champions. They have experience. We just need to do what we can do. There are no secrets. We’ll play basketball and have fun.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Falmouth senior Sean Bryant goes up with the left hand while Westbrook sophomore Zac Manoogian defends.

Falmouth junior Colin Coyne launches a 3-point shot.

Falmouth senior Sam Skop, who had a double-double, soars over a defender.

Falmouth senior Thomas Coyne goes up for a layup as Westbrook freshman Kyle Champagne arrives too late.

Falmouth junior Sean Walsh fights Westbrook juniors Nemieceo Loureiro, left, and Bailey Sawyer for a rebound.

Falmouth senior Matt Wuhlbrecht fights Westbrook freshman Kyle Champagne for the ball.

Previous Falmouth-Westbrook playoff result

2015 Western A quarterfinal
Falmouth 48 Westbrook 47 (OT) 

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.