Cape Elizabeth’s bench and fans erupt after a made 3-pointer during the Capers’ 47-31 win over Mountain Valley in Saturday’s Class B South quarterfinal. Cape Elizabeth will face rival Yarmouth in the semifinals Thursday.
Mike Strout photos.
More photos below.
MV- 8 12 5 6- 31
CE- 12 9 16 10- 47
MV- Davis 6-2-14, Bean 3-0-6, Gadbois 2-1-5, Blanchard 1-1-3, Pelletier 0-3-3
CE- Bowe 3-7-16, Hartel 7-1-15, Jacobson 2-2-8, Hare 1-1-4, Conley 1-0-2, Mullen 1-0-2
CE (6) Bowe 3, Jacobson 2, Hare 1
PORTLAND—Cape Elizabeth’s boys’ basketball team is still a work in progress, so it helped that the Capers could rely on a proven commodity, senior standout Finn Bowe, in Saturday’s Class B South quarterfinal against Mountain Valley at the Portland Exposition Building.
Bowe was held to just three points in the first half and the second-ranked Capers clung to a 21-20 lead over the seventh-seeded Falcons at the break, but the second half would be a vastly different story.
Bowe put up nine points in the third period as Cape Elizabeth extended its lead from one point to a dozen and the Capers, who played solid defense throughout, completely stymied Mountain Valley from there en route to a 47-31 victory.
Bowe had a game-high 16 points, junior Andrew Hartel added 15 and Cape Elizabeth improved to 12-7, ended the Falcons’ season at 11-8 and in the process, advanced to meet rival Yarmouth (13-6) in the semifinals Thursday at 6 p.m., across town at the Cross Insurance Arena.
“Today was one of our best games,” said longtime Capers coach Jim Ray. “We’re still working on playing good basketball. I was glad to see them step up and play good basketball today, especially in the second half.”
Cape Elizabeth entered the season as one of the favorites in Class B South and got off to a 7-1 start. After dropping six of eight games, the Capers closed with wins over Gray-New Gloucester and Poland to earn the No. 2 seed in the region.
“We won some ugly games early in the season to get in a favorable position seeding-wise, then we lost to some good teams,” Ray said.
Mountain Valley also went 11-7 in the regular season and finished seventh.
The teams didn’t meet this year and had met just once previously in the tournament, a 62-33 Falcons’ victory in the 2007 Western B semifinals.
Saturday, Mountain Valley gave Cape Elizabeth all it could handle for a half before the Capers did what they needed to do to advance to the semifinals for the fourth year in a row.
Each team had trouble getting out of the gate, as they combined for six turnovers and an air ball in the early going.
With 5:24 to play in the opening stanza, a 3-pointer from senior Liam Jacobson hit a 3 to put Cape Elizabeth ahead.
After Hartel added a putback, the Falcons scored their first points on a jumper from junior Cameron Godbois.
Hartel banked home another shot, but junior Keegan Davis scored on a finger roll and a jumper to pull Mountain Valley within a point, 7-6.
Hartel countered with a layup after a Jacobson feed and after Davis made a layup to again cut the deficit to one, a long 3 from Bowe closed the first period and made it 12-8 Capers.
After junior Will Bean started the second quarter with a jumper for the Falcons, Hartel hit a leaner and Bowe set up senior David Hare for a 3 and a 17-10 lead.
The next nine points went to Mountain Valley.
A jumper from Bean started the run. Junior Jacob Blanchard added a jumper, Godbois got a long jumper to bounce in and with 4:04 on the clock, Bean made a layup to put the Falcons on top.
Junior Taylor Pelletier capped the surge with a free throw, but after tying it on a bank shot with 3:03 remaining, Hartel put Cape Elizabeth ahead to stay with a bank shot 35 seconds later.
A free throw from Godbois pulled Mountain Valley within one, 21-20, at halftime.
In the first 16 minutes, Hartel led all scorers with 12 points. Bean and Davis paced the Falcons with six points apiece.
Bowe made just one shot, good for three points, in the first half, and not surprisingly, he turned it up when the second half commenced.
After Hartel made a free throw, Bowe set up Jacobson in transition for a 3.
After Pelletier hit two foul shots for the Falcons, Bowe made a 3 and after Hartel was sidelined with his third foul, Jacobson hit two foul shots to cap a 9-2 run for a 30-22 lead.
Blanchard got a point back at the line, but after a dazzling save from junior Matt Conley, who threw the ball to Bowe before crashing into Ray on the sidelines, and Bowe calmly buried the 3-point shot for a 33-23 lead.
“We were just more patient (in the second half), worked the ball around more and attacked the rim,” Bowe said. “In the second half, my teammates set me up for good shots. When I can get everyone else involved, but also score, it helps.”
“(Matt) made that great play that almost killed me,” Ray said. “What a great save. You talk to the kids about doing little things in practice and why it’s important in games. Matt making that one play on that one possession, that was a three-point difference.”
Bowe added a foul shot and after Davis hit a spinner, Bowe made two more foul shots and Hare hit another for a 37-25 advantage after three quarters.
Davis started the fourth period with a bank shot, but Jacobson set up Conley for a layup, Bowe hit two free throws and freshman Nathan Mullen made a driving layup to stretch the lead to 43-27 with 5 minutes to go.
Davis scored on a putback, but Bowe hit a free throw, Mullen fed Hartel for a layup and after Davis made two foul shots for the Falcons’ final points, Bowe made a free throw to account for the 47-31 final score.
“I didn’t know what to expect and you can’t look past anyone,” Bowe said. “I was nervous today because one more loss and my whole high school career would have been done. Every game is tough and we’re happy to get away with a win.”
“There’s no givens here,” said Ray. “You don’t know how kids will react in this atmosphere, the twists and turns. That’s what makes it exciting. I was proud of the whole group. They were ready to go. It was rough at the beginning, but that’s natural. Other guys had to step up. The learning curve has taken more time because of our lack of depth, but the guys reacted well today. We tightened up a few things we didn’t do that well in the first half. Our help-side defense did a better job.”
Bowe led the way with 16 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
“My shot wasn’t looking great at the start,” Bowe said. “Once we settled in, we played a lot better.”
“We were running stuff for Finn and he had some looks he missed, but we always try to get him the ball,” Ray said.
Hartel added 15 points and eight rebounds, Jacobson had eight points, Hare four and Conley and Mullen two apiece.
“Hartel played great around the rim and Liam and David played great games,” Bowe said. “I don’t know if they came out at all. They don’t get the praise, but they play important roles. Matt Conley had important hustle plays off the bench and played great defense.”
Cape Elizabeth made six 3-pointers to none for Mountain Valley, overcame 11 of 24 foul shooting and committed 13 turnovers.
The Falcons got a team-high 14 points from Davis, who also grabbed seven rebounds. Bean added six points, Gadbois (seven rebounds, two blocked shots) had five and Blanchard and Pelletier each contributed three.
Mountain Valley had a 27-21 rebounding advantage, but committed 19 turnovers and hit 7 of 12 foul shots.
“Basketball is a funny game,” said Falcons coach Thomas Danylik. “Sometimes it comes down to not playing well several possessions in a row. I thought we played 16 good minutes to start. We matched their physicality. Second half, we didn’t execute as well offensively and we sent them to the line too much.
“The kids gave me everything they had. We’ll build on this. We got on the court and saw what it’s like in this environment. It should be motivation for this junior-based group. Most of them are coming back.”
Cape Elizabeth and Yarmouth are well acquainted, splitting in the regular season, each winning at home (Capers, 48-44, Jan. 9; Clippers, 71-55, Jan. 23).
The teams have done battle four previous times in the playoffs with Cape Elizabeth winning on three occasions. The most recent encounter went to Yarmouth, 45-43, in the 2014 Western B quarterfinals.
Expect Thursday night’s contest to be memorable.
“We had two hard games against (Yarmouth),” said Bowe. “We snuck away with one and they killed us at their place. It’ll be tough. We know what they do, but it’s tough to plan for it. It’ll be a good game for sure.”
“We know each other very well,” added Ray. “The loss at their place still burns a little bit.”
Cape Elizabeth senior Finn Bowe lines up a shot. Bowe had a game-high 16 points, including 13 in the second half.
Cape Elizabeth junior Andrew Hartel shoots over Mountain Valley junior Will Sorensen. Hartel had 15 points in the win.
Cape Elizabeth senior David Hare drives on Mountain Valley sophomore Dylan Desroches.
Cape Elizabeth freshman Nate Mullen leans in for a shot while Mountain Valley senior Michael Pare defends.
Cape Elizabeth junior Tanner Carpenter goes to the basket over Mountain Valley junior Keegan Davis.
2007 Western B semifinals
Mountain Valley 62 Cape Elizabeth 33