Yarmouth back on track after win at GNG
GRAY—Tuesday night, despite a strong effort, the Yarmouth boys' basketball team lost at home to defending Class B state champion Falmouth.
The Clippers weren't about to start a losing streak.
The best thing you can do with a loss is quickly leave it behind and Yarmouth had an opportunity to do that Wednesday evening when it traveled to Gray to face the Gray-New Gloucester Patriots.
Yarmouth scored the game's first eight points and after the Patriots came to life and took their only lead, 19-17, the Clippers closed the first half on a 20-2 surge to essentially end all doubt.
The second half saw a parade of reserves, who all contributed, and Yarmouth gradually extended its lead and went on to a 77-42 victory.
The Clippers put a whopping 14 players in the scoring column, led by senior David Murphy, who had a game-high 18 points, as they improved to 8-3, dropping Gray-New Gloucester to 2-9 in the process.
"We got another night to prove ourselves," said Yarmouth coach Adam Smith. "That's what great about athletics. I thought we had a great start to this game, but Gray showed that they were up to the task. I thought they played really well, but we got our heads wrapped in this game. We got after it."
Taking care of business
So far this winter, Yarmouth has played the top teams in the league tough and have dispatched the squads it was supposed to handle.
The Clippers pounded visiting Kennebunk in the opener, 89-52. After falling at Falmouth, 84-65, Yarmouth rebounded to down host Poland, 75-47, then dropped a hard fought contest at Greely, 57-49, before closing 2013 with a 66-52 home win over Cape Elizabeth. The new year featured wins over host Freeport (73-32), visiting Waynflete (86-64), host Traip (85-46) and host Cape Elizabeth (67-55). Tuesday, the streak ended with a 55-48 home loss to Falmouth.
Gray-New Gloucester opened with losses to Greely, Fryeburg, Cape Elizabeth and York before enjoying a win at Wells. After closing 2013 with a home loss to Lake Region, the Patriots opened with 2014 with a home victory over Traip. Losses to Cape Elizabeth, Lake Region and Fryeburg followed.
Last year, Yarmouth handled Gray-New Gloucester twice, 70-46, at home and 54-38 in Gray.
Entering Wednesday, the Clippers had beaten the Patriots five consecutive times, dating to a 57-54 Gray-New Gloucester win Jan. 11, 2011, in Yarmouth.
The Clippers showed no after-effects from Tuesday's loss, racing to a quick lead.
A Murphy jumper 27 seconds in opened the scoring. Senior Nate Shields-Auble then scored his only six points of the game in a 66-second span, burying a floater, hitting a short jumper in the lane, then scoring on a putback, making it 8-0 Yarmouth just 2:06 in.
The hosts broke through with 5:18 left in the first quarter when junior Andreas Kariotis hinted at a big game to come with two free throws.
Senior Tyler St. Pierre added a layup, but Clippers junior Adam LaBrie countered with a 3 to make it 11-4.
After Kariotis made a layup, Murphy set up junior Jordan Brown for a fastbreak layup. Kariotis scored on a putback, but senior Wyatt Jackson set up junior Cote Sawyer for a layup and a 15-8 lead.
The Patriots continued to chip away as the period wound down as senior Sam Johnson took a pass from junior J.T. Magno and hit a 3 and after sophomore Cody Cook scored on a driving layup for the visitors, Kariotis took a pass from junior David Chanlatte and made a layup and Chanlatte was fouled after a steal and made both free throws to cut Yarmouth's lead to just two, 17-15, after one.
Gray-New Gloucester kept the pressure on early in the second period and was rewarded by taking a short-lived lead.
Just 58 seconds in, a putback from Kariotis tied the score. Magno then took a pass from St. Pierre and made a layup to put the Patriots ahead, 19-17, with 6:45 to play before halftime.
"Gray has offensive weapons who can knock down shots," Murphy said. "We left them open."
The rest of the half would belong to the Clippers, however.
After Murphy finished a feed from Sheilds-Auble with a layup to tie the game, a baseline jumper from Cook with 4;23 to play gave Yarmouth the lead for good.
Murphy followed with an old-fashioned three-point play (layup after a steal, foul and free throw), sophomore Musseit M'Bareck hit a jumper, Cook scored on a putback and M'Bareck hit a jumper to cap a 15-0 run.
Magno set up sophomore Eric Anderson for a layup to end a 5 minute, 17 second drought, but LaBrie scored on a leaner and in the final minute, after a Jackson steal, the ball came to Murphy, who knocked down a 3 to make it 37-21 Clippers at the break.
In the first 16 minutes, Yarmouth forced a dozen turnovers while committing only five, enjoyed a 21-16 advantage on the glass and got 10 points, three steals and two assists from Murphy, seven points, six boards, two steals and a pair of blocks from LaBrie and six points each from Cook and Shields-Auble to get some breathing room.
"The Falmouth game was so hyped up, so it was good to be able to come right out again," Murphy said. "We try every time to come out firing, knocking down shots or working our butts off defensively."
The game was never in doubt in the second half as the Clippers showed their depth.
A Murphy 3-pointer 57 seconds in extended the run to 23-2. Kariotis stemmed the tide with a 3-ball, but Murphy countered with another and the lead was 43-24.
A layup from Yarmouth senior Ethan Gage and a pair of Gage free throws were answered by a driving layup from Kariotis, but Murphy scored on a driving layup, Gage sank a 3 and Cook scored on a driving layup to make it 54-26.
"It's tough for sophomores," Smith said. "Cody's had his struggles, but when he plays well, he knows it. He feels it and continues to play better."
After Kariotis made a free throw, Yarmouth's reserves began to assert themselves as Brown set up senior Jackson Bartlett for a layup, Jackson made a free throw and Bartlett fed Brown for a layup. A free throw from Magno and a floater from Johnson pulled Gray-New Gloucester back to 59-30 after three periods.
The Clippers' starters returned for a short stint to the start the final stanza.
LaBrie opened the quarter with two free throws and a 3. After St. Pierre sank two foul shots, it was the backups' turn again, as junior Sam Morris made a layup after a steal. Kariotis countered with a putback, but senior Michael Salvesen put home a missed shot to allow Yarmouth to double up the Patriots, 68-34.
After two foul shots from Gray-New Gloucester senior Spencer Harriman and another from Anderson, Jackson stole the ball and fed Cook for a layup. Anderson made a free throw and Kyle Keenan took a pass from Magno and made a layup, but Clippers senior Ben Still scored on a putback, senior Ben Thompson sank a 3 and Salvesen set up Sawyer for a layup for Yarmouth's final points. Single free throws from Magno and Anderson brought the curtain down on the Clippers' 77-42 triumph.
"It's always good to get the blood flowing and play another game," Cook said. "We put (Falmouth) behind us. We move the ball well and I got open shots. We ran transition well. It was fun. It's a lot more relaxed when the gym's not as full, but every game matters. We just turned it up. We were more focused. We played much better defense."
Murphy, who struggled against Falmouth, not scoring in the first half and winding up with just eight points in that loss, led the way with 18 points, which included three 3-pointers.
"Falmouth's a good defensive team," Murphy said. "It was a little hard to get going. Tonight was a little more relaxed."
LaBrie had 12 points and shared team-leading honors in rebounds (seven) and steals (three).
Cook impressed with 10 points, four rebounds and a steal.
Gage added seven points, Shields-Auble had six, Brown, M'Bareck and Sawyer four apiece, Thompson three, Bartlett, Morris, Salveson and Still two each and Jackson one.
Only junior Adam Clark failed to score and he had two rebounds, a steal, an assist and a blocked shot.
In short, it was a dazzling team effort.
"I don't know if it was noticeable in the stands, but I noticed that whoever was out there played great defense and did a good job moving the ball," Murphy said.
"Tonight, we weren't looking ahead or anything, I just wanted to get a lot of guys in and replenish our momentum," Smith said. "When I extended the bench, it's not what we've been doing, so it took awhile to get the legs going. I thought in the second half, the rotations were better and everyone settled in and played really well defensviely, which helped the offense. The starters feel good when that happens. They root for the guys who work so hard in practice get minutes and look good doing it. They like that. It gives a boost to the team."
The Clippers enjoyed a 40-34 rebounding advantage (Shields-Auble also had a team-high seven, while Bartlett and Jackson both snared five off the bench). Jackson also had three steals as Yarmouth pilfered the ball on 18 occasions. Shields-Auble had three blocks.
The Clippers turned the ball over 16 times, but forced the Patriots to give it away on 26 occasions. Yarmouth finished 6 of 10 from the foul stripe.
For Gray-New Gloucester, Kariotis tied Murphy for top scoring honors in the game with 18 points and led all players with nine rebounds. Anderson and Johnson both had five points, Magno and St. Pierre each finished with four and Chanlatte, Harriman and Keenan had two apiece. The Patriots made 14 of 24 free throws.
While Gray-New Gloucester (13th in the Western Class B Heal Points standings, only 10 teams make the playoffs) returns to action Friday at Old Orchard Beach, Yarmouth (fourth in Western B, behind Morse, Greely and Spruce Mountain) will be hosting Greely in its biggest game of the season. It will be the last time the Clippers see the Rangers in the regular season and Heal Points and playoff positioning will be on the line.
It will also be an opportunity to make a statement.
"It's at our gym this time," Murphy said. "It's always great to have homecourt advantage. It will be a tough game."
"For our 12th game of the season, playing a big rival, I know we're looking forward to it and I know they're looking forward to it," Smith added. "It will be a good crowd and a lot of intensity. I hope we continue to play well. The scoreboard will take care of itself. We just have to take care of our effort."
Following Friday, Yarmouth has home games left versus Wells, York, Gray-New Gloucester and Freeport and games at Fryeburg and Lake Region.
The Clippers can still get better, perhaps even good enough to return to Bangor the last day of February and win a second state title in three years, but there is still a lot of work to do.
"We have to control our effort, play good D and work hard," Cook said. "We have to focus on what we can control."
"I feel like we're starting to grow as a team," Murphy said. "We're much closer than we were at the beginning of the season and we're sharing the ball. We're heading in the right direction."