THE PLAYOFFS Hyde, Morse, Mt. Ararat boys all ousted in quarterfinals
The 2009 boys' basketball tournament came to a quick end for local teams in recent days.
In Eastern Class A, Morse took a 14-4 record and the No. 3 seed to the Augusta Civic Center Saturday to face No. 6 Mt. Blue.
Results were mixed in the first quarter, but Mt. Blue fashioned the fifth and final lead change on a Ben Russell jumper with 1:36 left. Ryan Backus added two free throws for a 16-13 edge.
Mike Walton's bucket kept Morse within four at 23-19. It was the beginning of a four-minute field goal drought, however. Russell's 3-pointer and baseline deuce provided the bookends of a 7-0 Mt. Blue run during that lull. Backus also converted on a put-back.
Nate Elwell cashed in Kee's offensive rebound and quick dish to trim the Cougars' cushion to 40-31 with a minute to go in the third period. Russell's knack for the crushing 3-pointer put the comeback aspirations to rest when he beat the buzzer with his fourth trey.
Mt. Blue cruised from there and ended Morse's season at 14-5 with a 58-45 decision.
Mt. Ararat went 10-8 in the regular year and earned the No. 8 seed. Last Wednesday, the Eagles hosted No. 9 Oxford Hills in the preliminary round and eked out a 47-44 victory in their first home playoff game in over a decade. It was the Eagles' third win over the Vikings this season. Alex Titcomb had 17 points and Josh Walker added 14.
Mt. Ararat advanced to meet top-ranked Edward Little, a team it had lost to twice previously this winter, in the quarterfinals Saturday.
The Red Eddies held the Eagles scoreless in the first three minutes of every quarter but the second. Mt. Ararat only trailed 25-24 at the half and 38-30 after three, but everything went south in a hurry in the fourth and Edward Little pulled away to win 61-32, ending the Eagles' season at 11-9.
Mt. Ararat was 0-for-11 from the field in the closing chapter, 3-for-24 in the second half and 12-for-46 (26 percent) overall.
Josh Walker led the Eagles with 10 points. Will Gerencer added nine. Cam Vermette, the team's leading scorer during the season, played with a wrist injury and was held to three points.
In Western Class C, Hyde went 12-2 in the regular year and wound up with the No. 3 seed. Last Wednesday, the Phoenix downed No. 14 Gould 61-32 in the preliminary round, the third time Hyde beat Gould this year.
That sent the Phoenix to Augusta Monday for a quarterfinal game with No. 6 St. Dom's. The Phoenix fell 65-56 at the Saints back on Dec. 8. The rematch didn't go any better.
The teams battled through seven ties and six lead changes through nearly two-and-a-half quarters before the Saints took the lead for good. St. Dom's pulled away to win 58-42 as Hyde big man David Duncan was done in by foul trouble.
Hyde was 2-for-6 from the line and shot 31 percent from the floor, including 0-for-14 from beyond the 3-point arc.
"The guys weren't hitting on all cylinders today, but it's pretty tough not having Dave Duncan out there for half the game," Hyde coach Jim Sanner said. "The only upsetting and disappointing thing today is I don't think the state got to see what my kids can do."
Hyde tried a number of different defensive looks throughout the contest, but regardless of what defense they had thrown at them, the Saints stayed patient until they found a seam and attacked the basket, even with Duncan (eight points, six blocks) lurking in the paint.
Dion Richardson had 14 points in a losing effort as the Phoenix finished 13-3.
Sun Journal staff writers Kalle Oakes and Randy Whitehouse contributed to this story