Undermanned Capers fall at home to York

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Cape Elizabeth sophomore Andrew Hartel knocks the ball away from York senior Trevor LaBonte during the teams’ battle Monday night. LaBonte had the last laugh, scoring a game-high 23 points and grabbing 15 rebounds to lead the Wildcats to a 50-36 victory.

Mike Strout photos.

More photos below.

BOX SCORE

York 50 Cape Elizabeth 36

Y- 15 9 17 9- 50
CE- 5 9 10 12- 36

Y- LaBonte 8-7-23, McCarty 7-0-14, Hogan 5-0-10, Small 1-0-3

CE- Hewitt 3-5-12, Spicer 3-0-8, Allen 3-1-7, Hare 1-1-3, Carpenter 1-0-2, Hartel 1-0-2, Lockwood 1-0-2

3-pointers:
Y (1) Small 1
CE (3) Spicer 2, Hewitt 1

Turnovers:
Y- 17
CE- 9

FTs
Y: 7-13
CE: 7-11

CAPE ELIZABETH—Cape Elizabeth’s boys’ basketball team has had to battle its share of adversity this winter, but the lack of a home floor, a daunting schedule and talented opponents pale in comparison to the hand the Capers are now dealt.

Saturday evening, standout junior Finn Bowe, the team’s leading scorer, broke his fibula and Cape Elizabeth now has to find a way to survive and win without him.

The Capers had their first post-Bowe-injury test Monday evening when talented York paid a visit and they weren’t able to rise to the occasion as they hoped.

Six days after the teams went overtime in a Cape Elizabeth victory at York, the Wildcats got a measure of revenge.

York scored the game’s first six points, never looked back and took a 15-5 lead after one quarter.

While the Capers battled throughout, they never made a serious run and the Wildcats, thanks to the inside dominance of senior Trevor LaBonte and junior Jackson McCarty, went up, 24-14, at halftime, extended their advantage to 41-24 after three quarters, then went on to a 50-36 victory.

LaBonte and McCarty both had double-doubles, combined for 37 points and helped York improve to 7-5, snap the Capers’ seven-game win streak and drop them to 8-3 in the process.

“There were things I asked the kids to do tonight that we haven’t had to do,” said Cape Elizabeth coach Jim Ray. “They struggled with that, but they hustled.”

Tough break

Cape Elizabeth has been challenged all winter. Just before the start of the season, the gym was flooded and the floor had to be replaced, forcing the Capers to practice at odd hours outside of town. Cape Elizabeth had to begin the season on the road as well, and lost, 62-44, at Greely in the opener. After winning at Morse, 62-22, the Capers finally got to play a home game, but were defeated by Biddeford, 59-36. Cape Elizabeth then put it together, winning at Westbrook, 64-55 and edging Falmouth on Bowe’s buzzer-beating 3, 40-37, in a game played at the Portland Exposition Building as part of the Red Claws Christmas Showcase. The Capers started the 2017 portion of their schedule by winning at Fryeburg Academy (53-32), at home over Marshwood (63-54), at York (48-42, in overtime), at Poland (59-39) and Saturday at home over Lake Region (54-45), in the game Bowe was injured.

“I just feel for Finn and all the guys do,” Rays aid. “Even the teams we play. They want to play us at our best. It’s just not the same. That’s the nature of the game. Everyone has to deal with this type of adversity from time to time and it’s our turn.”

York started 4-1, then cooled off. The Wildcats opened with a 52-35 home victory over Fryeburg Academy and after a 77-51 loss at Greely, downed visiting Marshwood (54-39), host Mt. Ararat (67-43) and visiting Biddeford (62-48). After losing at home to Falmouth (65-55), York beat host Kennebunk (55-51) and visiting Wells (56-51). Losses at home to Cape Elizabeth (48-42, in overtime), at Falmouth (60-53) and at home to Westbrook (67-60) followed.

In the earlier meeting, Jan. 10, the Capers eked out a thrilling overtime win at York to make it five in a row in the series.

Monday, Cape Elizabeth hoped to do it again, but couldn’t produce enough offense and the Wildcats beat the Capers for the first time since the 2013 Western B semifinals (58-35).

York shot to a quick 6-0 lead as McCarty set up LaBonte for a layup, McCarty finished a feed from senior Reid Hogan with another layup and McCarty returned the favor, setting up Hogan for a layup.

Cape Elizabeth got on the board with 4:29 to go in the first period, when Hewitt made a bank shot, but McCarty countered with a putback.

After Hewitt sank a 3 to make it a one-possession game, the Wildcats closed the quarter on a 7-0 run, as Hogan hit a leaner, junior Payton Small knocked down a 3 and LaBonte scored on a putback for a 15-5 lead.

“We had a lack of focus defensively,” Ray said. “A good team will figure out how to get the ball to their strengths.”

The Capers tried to close the gap in the second period, but couldn’t do so.

After senior Nat Spicer started the frame with a 3 to pull the hosts within seven, Hogan drove for a layup. Spicer took a pass from senior Marshall Peterson and made a layup to make it 17-10, but McCarty made a layup after a drop step and LaBonte hit a baseline jumper.

After Hewitt made a free throw and made a layup, McCarty set up LaBonte for a layup. 

In the final minute, LaBonte and Hewitt traded free throws and York took a 24-14 lead to halftime.

LaBonte had nine points and Hogan and McCarty six each in the first half. Hewitt paced Cape Elizabeth with nine.

The Wildcats opened up a bigger lead in the third period.

LaBonte started the second half with a putback. After Hewitt made two free throws, Hogan hit a jumper, Hogan set up McCarty for a layup and LaBonte made a leaner while being fouled and hit the free throw to complete the old-fashioned three-point play for a 33-16 lead with 5:03 to go in the frame.

After Capers senior Jacob Allen countered with a three-point play of his own, LaBonte set up McCarty for a layup. Junior David Hare made a foul shot for the hosts, but LaBonte countered with two free throws for a 37-20 lead.

Allen made a leaner and Hare hit a jump shot, but McCarty countered with a putback and as time expired, Hogan got an offensive rebound and while fading away from the hoop, knocked down a shot to extend the lead to 41-24.

In the fourth, York finished it off.

After Hewitt started the frame with a free throw, McCarty set up LaBonte for a layup, McCarty scored on a putback and on his fifth straight offensive rebound, LaBonte was fouled and he made one of two free throws for a 46-25 lead.

Allen countered with a layup and junior Andrew Lockwood added a jumper to make it 46-29, but one final time, McCarty set up LaBonte for a layup.

“We worked a lot in practice last week on our zone offense,” LaBonte said. “We thought we’d see a zone today. We moved the ball really well today. I was just the beneficiary of good ball movement. Jackson and I have great chemistry. We know where the other is at all times. He finds me and I find him. It’s great.”

Spicer made a 3 and sophomore Tanner Carpenter made a layup, but that’s as close as the Capers would get.

In the final minute, LaBonte made two free throw for the Wildcats’ final points and a leaner from Cape Elizabeth sophomore Andrew Hartel accounted for the 50-36 final score.

“(Last week) was a tough loss,” LaBonte said. “We didn’t close it out. Tonight, we came out with more fire and intensity and in the end, that paid off for us. We wished (Bowe) was out there. He’s a heck of a player. It’s a big loss, but they have great guys around him.”

LaBonte was unstoppable, scoring 23 points, grabbing 15 rebounds and if that wasn’t enough, he blocked three shots and had two assists.

McCarty finished with 14 points and 12 boards and also dished out five assists.

Hogan added 10 points and Small finished with three.

York enjoyed a nearly two-to-one (36-19) rebounding advantage, overcame 17 turnovers and made 7 of 13 free throws.

The Capers were led by 12 points from Hewitt. Spicer added eight, Allen had seven, Hare three and Carpenter, Hartel and Lockwood two apiece.

Cape Elizabeth turned the ball over nine times and hit 7 of 11 foul shots.

Regrouping

York has a home showdown with Greely Friday.

“We’ve had a treacherous schedule,” LaBonte said. “We’re looking ahead to Greely on Friday.” 

Cape Elizabeth will look to get back on track when it hosts Falmouth the same night. After going to Freeport next Tuesday, a home showdown versus Yarmouth looms Jan. 27. Home games versus Greely and Fryeburg Academy and trips to Biddeford and Falmouth also remain.

Ray isn’t completely discounting the possibility of a Bowe return, but it appears to be a longshot.

“I don’t like to rule anything out,” Ray said. “(Finn’s) a tough kid. Tougher than some people give him credit for. We’ll keep our fingers crossed.”

No one will feel sorry for the Capers and it’s not going to get any easier, but this team, as always, will persevere and fight on.

“It’s tough for this to happen now because there’s no time to adjust in practice to different tactics we could use,” Ray said. “We lose 20 points a game from our lineup. We’ll have to replace that by committee and we have to figure out how that committee will function. The kids are coachable and they work hard. Hopefully we’ll get better.”

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

Cape Elizabeth senior Marshall Peterson goes up for a shot.

Cape Elizabeth senior Jacob Allen soars over York junior Payton Small for two points.

Cape Elizabeth sophomore Andrew Hartel posts up York junior Jackson McCarty.

Cape Elizabeth senior Quinn Hewitt drives on York senior Trevor LaBonte.

Cape Elizabeth junior David Hare leans back for a shot.

Cape Elizabeth senior Nat Spicer dives for a loose ball.

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