Greely senior Jordan Bagshaw, center, is mobbed by senior Ryan Twitchell, left, and sophomore Zach Brown after a critical fourth quarter three-point play during the Rangers’ 59-54 victory Wednesday night in a Class A South semifinal. Greely will battle Falmouth in the regional final Saturday.
Mike Strout photos.
More photos below.
PORTLAND—A year ago, when its semifinal round game was slipping away, Greely’s boys’ basketball team couldn’t recover.
Wednesday evening, the top-ranked, undefeated Rangers saw a 13-point third quarter disappear in their Class A South semifinal against No. 4 York at the Cross Insurance Arena, but this time, with the prospect of an agonizing, season-ending defeat starting it in the face, Greely responded like the champion it hopes to become.
The Rangers’ senior core of Jordan Bagshaw, Matt McDevitt and Ryan Twitchell produced a 33-22 halftime lead and when sophomore Zach Brown made a pair of free throws early in the third period, Greely appeared bound for a decisive win, but the Wildcats, thanks to the sharpshooting of senior Reed Hogan, roared back and pulled within 40-39 heading for the fourth period.
A little over a minute into the final stanza, junior Payton Small’s layup gave York the lead, but McDevitt immediately countered with a 3-pointer.
After York pulled within a point on three different occasions, only to be foiled each time, Bagshaw stole the ball and produced a three-point play and the Wildcats never got within a possession again. Greely sealed the win at the line and went on to prevail, 59-54.
McDevitt had 16 points, Bagshaw finished with 15 and Twitchell added 14 as the Rangers improved to 20-0, ended the Wildcats’ season at 12-8 and advanced to the Class A South Final, where they’ll meet defending state champion Falmouth (15-5) Saturday at 8 p.m., at the Cross Insurance Arena.
“It was an ugly one, but a lot of credit to York,” said Greely coach Travis Seaver. “They made us play a certain way. I’m proud of our guys. We did what we had to do to pull it out. We hit some big shots and defensively, down the stretch, we got stops. We battled through foul trouble and not shooting great.”
Greely has been the team to beat in Class A South all season and after surviving overtime scares against Falmouth and Yarmouth, the Rangers finished a perfect 18-0 to lock up the top seed in the region (see sidebar, below, for links to previous game stories).
Greely never gave No. 8 Kennebunk life in the quarterfinals, racing to a 44-12 halftime lead en route to a 76-31 triumph, its biggest-ever postseason victory.
York quietly put together a solid 11-7 season, earned the No. 4 seed in Class A South, then held off No. 5 Westbrook, 47-44, in the quarterfinals Friday.
Greely twice beat the Wildcats this year, 77-51 at home and 61-42 at York.
The teams split eight prior playoff meetings (see sidebar, below, for results), with a 41-38 Rangers’ victory in the 2014 semifinals the most recent.
Wednesday, Greely found a way to win, but it was much too close for comfort.
York got out to a quick start, as Hogan drained a 3 and classmate Trevor LaBonte knocked down a short jumper, but seconds later, LaBonte picked up his second foul.
Greely got on the board with 5:08 remaining in the first, when McDevitt sank a 3, but Hogan countered with one from the corner for an 8-3 lead.
The Rangers rallied to tie, as Twitchell scored on a putback and after a steal from junior Shane DeWolfe, DeWolfe fed McDevitt in the corner for a 3.
Senior Cam Smith finished a pretty reverse layup to put the Wildcats back on top, but with 27.6 seconds left, Bagshaw spun and finished to forge a 10-10 tie after one period.
In the second quarter, Greely hit its stride and opened up a lead.
Two free throws from McDevitt 42 seconds in put the Rangers on top, but Smith tied it with a layup.
With 6:53 to play in the half, Twitchell made a layup to spark an 11-0 run.
Brown set up Bagshaw for a layup, McDevitt hit a 3, Brown stole the ball and fed Twitchell for a dunk and McDevitt set up Twitchell for a layup and a 23-12 lead with 4:42 to go before halftime.
Hogan kept his team alive with a driving layup followed by a 3-pointer and after Brown sank a 3, Hogan countered with another to cut the deficit to 26-20.
Bagshaw countered with a driving layup. After LaBonte made a free throw, Bagshaw set up Twitchell on the fastbreak for a layup and a nine-point advantage.
After LaBonte made a foul shot, Bagshaw buried a 3 and that gave Greely the 33-22 advantage it would take to halftime.
In the first half, McDevitt led the Rangers with 11 points, Twitchell had 10 and Bagshaw nine. Hogan kept the Wildcats within hailing distance with 14 points, but York turned the ball over 11 times.
Greely tried to pull away in the third quarter, but York didn’t go quietly.
A putback from junior Jackson McCarty started the second half, but DeWolfe set up Twitchell for a layup and Brown made two free throws for a 37-24 lead..
Back came the Wildcats, as junior Alex Nickerson hit a bank shot, Hogan scored on a putback and Hogan made a 3 from the corner to cut the deficit to 37-31.
Greely sophomore Mike Coppersmith momentarily stemmed the tide with a free throw, but Hogan made a pair and LaBonte converted an old-fashioned three-point play (leaner, foul and free throw) to cut the deficit to one.
In the final minute, DeWolfe set up junior Jack Kane for a layup, but Hogan buried yet another 3 from the corner and York only trailed by a point, 40-39, heading to the final stanza.
Where Greely dug deep and survived.
A driving layup from Small 69 seconds into the fourth quarter gave the Wildcats their first lead since 10-8, but McDevitt countered with a 3.
“I was in rhythm,” McDevitt said. “Jordan passed me the ball. I didn’t think about it. I just had confidence.”
Nickerson made it a one-point game with a free throw, but Bagshaw set up Twitchell for a layup and a 45-42 lead with 5:22 to go.
Thirteen seconds later, McCarty drove for a layup while being fouled, but he missed the and-one, keeping Greely on top.
DeWolfe drove for a layup, but McCarty countered with one of his own to again make it a one-possession game with 4:33 remaining.
The Wildcats then got the ball back and had a chance to take the lead, but Bagshaw stole the ball, raced in for a layup while being fouled and hit the free throw for the old-fashioned three-point play.
“I had two bonehead plays before and I had to make up for it,” Bagshaw said.
After a long defensive stand, McDevitt came up with a block and Bagshaw got the rebound and was fouled.
With 2:41 to go, Bagshaw made one of two free throws, but five seconds later, Hogan was fouled and he made one shot to cut the deficit to 51-47.
With 1:53 remaining, McDevitt went to the line and he wasn’t about to miss, sinking both shots for a six-point lead.
After a Hogan miss, Twitchell got the rebound, but the Rangers turned the ball over.
With 1:07 left, LaBonte made one free throw and after missing the second, Hogan got the offensive rebound and looked to launch a 3, but it was blocked by a soaring Twitchell.
After Small missed a 3, DeWolfe got the rebound and was fouled.
With 54.2 seconds to go, DeWolfe missed the first attempt and made the second.
Hogan was then called for a charge, his fifth foul, and with 35.8 seconds remaining, DeWolfe was fouled again and this time made both attempts.
With 28.3 seconds to play, LaBonte made a 3, but that only cut the deficit to 56-51.
Bagshaw then hit two foul shots and Brown added another to put it out of reach and despite a long 3 from LaBonte with a second to go, Greely went on to a 59-54 victory..
“Tonight mirrored what happened last year against Brunswick, but we’re a different team,” Bagshaw said. “Tonight, we shot well. We have the tools to make it happen. We have great leadership, a lot of seniors. We made adjustments and did better in the second half.”
“We have a lot of experience on the team,” McDevitt said. “Those overtime games against Falmouth and Yarmouth definitely helped. We’re more hungry this year, knowing it’s our last year. Hogan had the game of his life. He it it up and played great, but defense is what we do best. That leads to easy offense and that’s what we needed.”
“Basketball’s a game of runs,” Seaver added. “We were on the ropes. Jordan had the steal and that was a big momentum change. Matt hit the big 3. Defensively, down the stretch, it was a big stand. That wins games. Our senior leadership and our experience continues to show through. The guys work so hard in practice. That makes us better. The close games we’ve had were character builders. It helped us be prepared and we were tonight.”
Greely was paced by McDevitt’s 16 points. He also had eight rebounds, three blocked shots, two assists and a steal.
Bagshaw had 15 points and three steals and Twitchell was also in double figures with 14 points, seven boards, two steals and two blocks.
Brown had six points, DeWolfe five, Kane two and Coppersmith one.
The Rangers shot over 50 percent from the field (19 of 37) and made half of their dozen 3-point attempts. Greely overcame 14 turnovers and made 15 of 26 foul shots.
Hogan led York and all scorers with 25 points (including six 3-pointers). LaBonte had 14 points (and a game high 14 rebounds), McCarty six (to go with six rebounds and four assists), Smith four, Nickerson three and Small two.
The Wildcats shot just 19 of 52 from the floor, but they made 8 of 18 3-pointers and had a 32-27 rebounding advantage. They missed 10 of 18 free throws and committed 21 turnovers.
Greely is tantalizingly close to its first state final in 19 seasons. Since winning it all in 1998, the Rangers have been to the regional final three times and lost each time.
Greely has a big obstacle standing in its way in a Falmouth squad that cut down the nets just a year ago.
Greely has won all three previous playoff meetings (a 50-49 quarterfinal victory in 2008 was the most recent) and the Rangers won both regular season meetings, a 55-54 overtime epic in Falmouth and a 61-43 home decision to close the year, but they know full well how tough it will be to beat the Yachtsmen a third time even though Falmouth senior standout Colin Coyne will likely be inactive with a leg injury suffered in its semifinal round win over Cape Elizabeth.
“There’s a lot of energy around that game,” McDevitt said. “They’re still a good team. We’ve talked about this for a long time. We know we’ve got something special.”
“We’re staying hungry,” Bagshaw said. “They have other guys besides Colin, but we’ll be ready.”
“It’s important to get to that next step,” added Seaver, a star player on Greely’s last state titlist. “The guys are ready for it. Falmouth 2-0 in the last week and so are we. They overcame a big injury. Our guys are motivated. They’ll be ready.”
Greely senior Matt McDevitt shoots a 3-pointer over York senior Trevor LaBonte.
Greely senior Jordan Bagshaw shoots over York junior Jackson McCarty.
Greely senior Ryan Twitchell drives to the basket.
Greely senior Matt McDevitt is fouled by York senior Reed Hogan.
Greely sophomore Zach Brown shoots over York senior Cam Smith.
Greely junior Jack Kane is fouled by York junior Jackson McCarty.
Greely junior Shane DeWolfe dribbles the ball as York junior Payton Small defends.
Greely sophomore Zach Brown is defended by York junior Jackson McCarty.
Greely senior Matt McDevitt celebrates after draining a 3-pointer.
Greely coach Travis Seaver talks to his team during a timeout.
2014 Western B quarterfinal
Greely 41 York 38
2013 Western B quarterfinal
York 64 Greely 37
2006 Western B quarterfinal
York 58 Greely 49
2004 Western B prelim
York 39 Greely 35
1995 Western B semifinal
Greely 70 York 57
1992 Western B Final
York 55 Greely 49
1987 Western B quarterfinal
Greely 74 York 73
1981 Western B Final
Greely 91 York 85 (OT)