Yarmouth senior Musseit M’Bareck goes up for three of his game-high 18 points in Friday’s 58-44 win at Waynflete.
Mike Strout photos.
More photos below.
Y- 12 16 12 18- 58
W- 5 13 16 10- 44
Y- M’Bareck 7-1-18, Hagerty 4-0-11, Medenica 3-4-11, Darling 4-0-10, O’Donnell 1-1-4, Cawley 1-0-2, Shields-Auble 1-0-2
W- Belleau 5-0-14, Nelligan 3-0-8, Deng 3-0-7, Alemayo 2-0-6, Silk 3-0-6, Saade 1-0-3
Y (10) Hagerty, M’Bareck 3, Darling 2, Medenica, O’Donnell 1
W (10) Belleau 4, Alemayo, Nelligan 2, Deng, Saade 1
PORTLAND—Taking an undefeated record into Waynflete’s bandbox gymnasium hasn’t exactly been a recipe for success for the Yarmouth boys’ basketball team in recent seasons, but Friday night, the Clippers turned history on its ear and produced an impressive early-season victory.
In a compelling showdown between two athletic, sharpshooting teams, Yarmouth raced to a quick 10-point lead behind 3-point shots from sophomore Nolan Hagerty and senior Bailey Darling. The Flyers pulled within 12-5 when senior Milo Belleau hit a 3 at the first period horn, but the Clippers never let the hosts get comfortable and went up by 13 points twice in the second quarter before taking a 28-18 lead to the half.
Waynflete tried time and again to rally in the second half, but got no closer than five points and the steady leadership of Yarmouth senior point guard Musseit M’Bareck proved to be the difference as the Clippers went on to a 58-44 victory.
M’Bareck led all players with 18 points, Hagerty and junior Aleksander Medenica both added 11 and Darling finished with 10 as Yarmouth improved to 3-0 on the young season, dropping the Flyers to 2-1 in the process.
“I was telling the guys we’ve come over here undefeated two times before this and lost,” said Clippers coach Adam Smith. “Waynflete always gives us a hard time, especially here. The fast start felt good. It set the tone for us. When they made a run, we answered. That says a lot about the character and toughness of this team. I like that we’re mentally tough.”
Waynflete and Yarmouth have both excelled in recent seasons and it’s likely that 2015-16 will be more of the same.
The Flyers opened with wins over visiting Sacopee Valley (57-24) and at Freeport (63-23).
The Clippers downed host Gray-New Gloucester (69-47) in their opener, then rallied to avenge last year’s playoff ouster with a 72-68 home victory over Lake Region.
The teams had split six meetings over the past eight years (see sidebar, below), but Waynflete had won two of the three at home, including a 53-43 decision last winter (the Clippers’ lone prior win at the Flyers came in their championship year of 2011-12).
This time around, in an up-tempo game that featured 10 3-pointers from each team and sped by in barely over an hour, Yarmouth struck the first blow and never looked back.
A 3-pointer from Hagerty and baskets from M’Bareck and senior CJ Cawley gave the Clippers a quick 7-0 lead. After senior Tom Silk got the Flyers on the board, Darling knocked down a 3-ball and after a steal, M’Bareck raced in for a layup for a 12-2 lead, forcing Waynflete coach Rich Henry to call timeout.
“We moved the ball well and played great D,” M’Bareck said. “My teammates had my back and I had theirs. We always want to set the tempo and have a good start.”
Then, as time expired in the first quarter, Belleau calmly sank a 3 to seemingly give Waynflete life, but Yarmouth came out just as strong in the second period.
First, senior Conor O’Donnell buried a 3. Then, M’Bareck did the same for an 18-5 lead.
The Flyers looked to rally, as senior Will Nelligan made a jump shot, then canned a 3 from the corner to make it 18-10, but the Clippers countered behind a 3 from Medenica and a putback from the Serbian exchange student for a 23-10 advantage.
“I love having (Aleksander on the team),” M’Bareck said. “He does so much. He can shoot, he can dribble, he can get it down low and do work. He’s very versatile. Both our big guys can shoot.”
Senior Abel Alemayo got three points back for Waynflete with a long bomb, but Medenica made a pair of free throws. After Silk banked home a shot and junior Yai Deng sank a 3 to cut the deficit to seven, Hagerty came up huge with 31.1 seconds left, knocking down a long 3 to give Yarmouth a 28-18 lead at halftime.
M’Bareck and Medenica both had seven points in the first half, while Hagerty added six in the first 16 minutes. Nelligan paced the Flyers with five.
The second half would be a similar story, Waynflete trying to catch up, with the Clippers answering every challenge.
Belleau started the third period with a 3 and after Medenica sank a fadeaway jumper, Alemayo made a 3-pointer to cut Yarmouth’s lead to 30-24, but Darling answered with a clutch 3 from the corner. After Silk scored on a putback, Yarmouth senior Devin Shields-Auble countered with a floater off the glass. Deng took a pass from Alemayo and made a layup to cut the deficit to seven, but M’Bareck made a 3 and after a steal, Darling converted a layup to push the lead back to 12, 40-28.
The Flyers refused to buckle and made things very interesting heading for the final stanza, as freshman Alex Saade and Alemayo both hit 3-pointers to make the score 40-34.
Just 14 seconds into the fourth period, O’Donnell made a free throw. After a nice spin move, M’Bareck sank a jumper and the Clippers were back up by nine, 43-34, with 6:03 remaining.
Just 23 seconds later, however, Belleau buried another 3 to make it a two-possession game.
Yarmouth continued to rise off the deck, as with 4:55 to go, M’Bareck sank a clutch 3 from the corner.
After Nelligan set up Belleau for a layup and Deng drove for a layup, Waynflete was within five, 46-41, for the first time since the opening minutes, but the hosts would draw no closer.
First, with 3:34 remaining, Medenica calmly sank two free throws. Then, 17 seconds later, after a Shields-Auble steal, Darling made a layup.
With exactly two minutes to go, Hagerty scored on a putback to make it 52-41.
Just inside the final minute, the Clippers ended all doubt on a Hagerty 3. After Belleau hit a 3 at the other end, M’Bareck made a free throw and in the waning seconds, M’Bareck banked home a shot to bring down the curtain on Yarmouth’s 58-44 victory.
“The guys took it upon themselves to take care of business tonight,” Smith said. “This is an exciting group to work with. It makes practice fun. We’re a tough matchup to defend, in a lot of areas. We have guys on the 3-point line, because they all can shoot and take it to the rim. They’ll push it.”
The Clippers were paced by 18 points from M’Bareck.
“Muss has come into his own as a leader for us,” Smith said. “As much as we miss (injured senior captain) Cody (Cook), he’s played with Cody all his life and he misses him too. Muss understands this is his team and he’s taken a lot of ownership. I love seeing him as a leader. “
Hagerty added 11 points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots, Medenica also had 11 points, along with four rebounds and four steals.
“Alek is very unselfish,” Smith said. “He’s does a lot of work on the boards. He’s a great teammate. We’ll get better at utilizing he and Nolan. We’re not used to having big guys. They better be active and all over the floor.”
Darling pitched in 10 points, O’Donnell had four and Cawley and Shields-Auble two apiece.
Yarmouth only committed eight turnovers and hit 6 of 9 foul shots.
Waynflete was led by 14 points and eight rebounds from Belleau. Nelligan had eight points, Deng seven, Alemayo and Silk six apiece and Saade three.
The Flyers missed all four free throw attempts and turned the ball over 11 times.
“I told the kids I was really proud of the way they battled back,” Henry said. “I told the guys I had one wish, getting the ball into the middle of (Yarmouth’s) zone, but I can’t fault the effort. We scrapped. I didn’t want to settle for outside shots, but it’s hard to shoot over that kind of height.
“We have to tip our cap, they’re a great team. We have to give them credit on how they played. They’ve got very active, athletic big guys. They have good guard play. They shot well tonight.”
The old year is rapidly dwindling and each team looks to finish strong before the calendar flips.
Waynflete hopes to bounce back Thursday when North Yarmouth Academy pays a visit. After hosting Wells Saturday, the Flyers won’t play a countable game for two weeks.
“Mentally, intellectually, I can see what we need to work on,” Henry said. “I know we won’t see a lot of teams like (Yarmouth). We’ll get back to the drawing board Monday and hopefully have a nice bounce-back game the next time we play. I’m very pleased. We’ve had to overcome injuries and illness. I think we have good pieces.”
Yarmouth has a huge test Tuesday, when it goes to unbeaten Greely.
“We’re starting to jell a lot more,” M’Bareck said. “It’ll come. I need to get the ball more to the guys down low and play better defense. I haven’t seen Greely yet, but it will be fun to play them. It will be a big game.”
“We’ve had great games with Greely,” Smith said. “We’re looking forward to Tuesday and to the rest of our schedule.”
Speaking of which, the Clippers visit Maranacook Thursday, then close 2015 with home games versus Poland and Sacopee Valley.
Waynflete senior Willy Burdick steals the ball from Yarmouth senior CJ Cawley.
Yarmouth senior Conor O’Donnell drives on Waynflete senior Milo Belleau.
Waynflete senior Tom Silk goes up for two points.
Yarmouth junior Aleksander Medenica shoots over Waynflete junior Yai Deng.
Yarmouth senior Bailey Darling goes up for a layup.
Waynflete junior Yai Deng drives the baseline as Yarmouth junior Aleksander Medenica defends.
Yarmouth coach Adam Smith congratulates senior Musseit M’Bareck late in Friday’s victory.
@ Waynflete 53 Yarmouth 43
@ Yarmouth 86 Waynflete 64
Waynflete 62 @ Yarmouth 38
Yarmouth 52 @ Waynflete 45
@ Yarmouth 69 Waynflete 49
@ Waynflete 69 Yarmouth 54