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Yarmouth senior Ashanti Haywood lunges for the ball during the Clippers’ 55-41 loss to Maranacook in Saturday’s Class B South quarterfinal.
Ben McCanna / Portland Press Herald photos.
More photos below.
Y- 6 8 15 12- 41
M- 8 17 10 20- 55
Y- Torres 5-1-11, Haywood 5-0-10, Rogers 3-4-10, Cox 1-3-5, Middleton 1-0-3, Hickey 0-2-2
M- Boucher 4-5-16, Rogers 6-4-16, Root 2-8-12, McClure 1-1-4, Worster 2-0-4, Belanger 1-0-2, Whitten 0-1-1
Y (1) Middleton 1
M (4) Boucher 3, McClure 1
PORTLAND—For much of the 2018-19 season, Yarmouth has struggled to consisently produce offense.
And Saturday afternoon at the Portland Exposition Building, the Clippers’ year-long inability to score caused their postseason doom.
Facing No. 2 Maranacook in a Class B South quarterfinal, seventh-seeded Yarmouth trailed most of the way and while the Clippers hung tough throughout, they never could get over the hump.
The Black Bears took the lead for good on a baseline jumper from sophomore Tim Worster and had an 8-6 advantage after one quarter.
In the second period, Maranacook started turning Yarmouth over and thanks to 3-pointers from junior Skyler Boucher and sophomore Cashman McClure, it held a 25-14 lead at the half.
The Clippers were in position to rally in the third quarter, as they began to feed senior big man Jake Rogers, but Yarmouth couldn’t get any closer than six points and the Black Bears held a 35-29 advantage heading to the final stanza.
There, the Clippers cut the deficit to just four, 41-37, on a jumper from senior Ashanti Haywood, but another Boucher 3 turned the tide and Maranacook slowly pulled away and prevailed, 55-41.
The Black Bears got 16 points apiece from Boucher and senior Duncan Rogers, 12 points from senior Mitch Root and they improved to 17-2, ended Yarmouth’s season at 8-11 and advanced to meet No. 3 Cape Elizabeth (12-7) in the Class B South semifinals Thursday at 6 p.m., at the Cross Insurance Arena.
“Unfortunately, this was a night when nothing went in for us,” said first-year Clippers coach Jonas Allen. “It’s been a problem all year. We had some decent looks, some layups, but it simply wasn’t our day. You can’t miss that many open shots against that kind of of team.”
The teams had met in three of the past six tournaments (see sidebar, below) with Yarmouth prevailing twice. In last year’s quarterfinal round, 16 points from senior Jonny Torres and 11 from Haywood helped produce a 43-33 Clippers’ win.
This winter, Yarmouth took its time coming together under Allen, but wins in three of their final four games gave the Clippers the No. 7 seed and allowed them to avoid a preliminary round game and come right to the Expo.
Maranacook, meanwhile, enjoyed a strong 16-2 campaign, which was marred only by a 66-60 loss at Oceanside and a 70-63 setback at Leavitt.
The teams didn’t meet during the regular season.
It was clear early that the Black Bears had closed the gap from last year and that it would take a strong effort to upset them.
Yarmouth got the game’s first points on a runner from Haywood, but Root drove for a layup to tie it and after a steal, Duncan Rogers made a layup to put Maranacook ahead, 4-2.
After Jake Rogers took a feed from Haywood and made a layup, Torres drove for a layup to give the Clippers a 6-4 edge, but that would be their highwater mark.
A Duncan Rogers putback tied it and with 13.5 seconds left in the opening stanza, Worster’s baseline jumper gave the Black Bears the lead for good, 8-6.
Yarmouth turned the ball over seven times in the first period and committed five more giveaways in the second, as Maranacook got some breathing room.
A Root free throw started the second quarter.
Then, after Haywood went coast-to-coast for a layup, Boucher hit a 3, Root hit a leaner in traffic, McClure buried a 3 and after a Clippers’ timeout, Root made two free throws to cap a 10-0 run and make it 19-8 with 4:09 remaining in the half.
Torres ended the run with a layup and Haywood added a jump shot, but Duncan Rogers scored on a runner, Root added a free throw, Root set up Worster for a fastbreak layup and after a steal, senior Garret Whitten was fouled and made one free throw for a 13-point lead.
Sophomore Will Cox made two free throws for Yarmouth with 8.2 seconds left in the half, but that only pulled the Clippers within 11, 25-14, at the break.
The Black Bears weren’t able to deliver a knockout blow in the third quarter, but Yarmouth couldn’t get any closer than six.
A leaner from Haywood opened the second half and Cox banked home a runner, but after McClure and Jake Rogers traded free throws, Root hit a pair for a 28-19 advantage.
Jake Rogers made a foul shot and Torres drove for a layup to cut the deficit to six, forcing Maranacook coach Rob Schmidt to call timeout and his team responded, as McClure set up Boucher for a layup.
After Jake Rogers made a layup, the Clippers had several looks to draw even closer, but couldn’t do so and with 1:52 on the clock, Boucher made a 3.
Senior Caden Middleton countered with a 3-pointer for Yarmouth, but Duncan Rogers answered with a finger roll.
With 15.7 seconds remaining, Torres scored on a floater, but that only drew the Clippers within six, 35-29, after three.
Duncan Rogers started the final stanza with a layup after a steal, but Jake Rogers countered with a putback.
After Duncan Rogers set up senior Aric Belanger for a layup, Jake Rogers made two free throws and junior Aidan Hickey did the same to cut Yarmouth’s deficit to 39-35.
After Torres missed a 3 which could have made it a one-point game, Root fed Duncan Rogers for a layup, but with 5:02 to play, Haywood’s jumper in the lane pulled the Clippers back within four, 41-37.
They would get no closer.
Ten seconds later, Boucher made a backbreaking 3-pointer and Boucher followed with two free throws.
With 2:50 on the clock, Duncan Rogers added two foul shots and after Cox got a point back at the line for Yarmouth, Duncan Rogers made a free throw and Boucher sank two to make the score 51-38.
Torres and Root traded free throws, then Root, Duncan Rogers and Boucher all made one apiece for Maranacook’s final points.
A layup by Torres then brought the curtain down on the Black Bears’ 55-41 triumph.
“It feels great to win and to beat (Yarmouth) after last year feels good,” Duncan Rogers said. “Our experience helped. We’re such a cohesive team. We have each other’s backs. It was sloppy, but we won on the defensive end. All year, we want to make the other team turn the ball over and run and that’s what we did today. We stayed together. We weren’t hitting shots, but we stayed up on them on defense.”
“Yarmouth’s a good defensive team, but we can definitely do better on offense,” Schmidt said. “We moved out to a good lead, but we let them back in the game. We’d have rather have seen that lead go to 15 or 18, so I was a little disappointed about that. We didn’t shoot our foul shots well today at all. We had too many turnovers. We have a lot of things to clean up and I think we can.”
Boucher came off the bench shared high-scoring honors with Duncan Rogers, as both finished with 16 points. Boucher added six rebounds and Rogers had six boards and three steals.
Root tallied 12 points (to go with nine rebounds and two steals), McClure had four points (as well as six rebounds and three steals), Worster four, Belanger two and Whitten one.
“Maranacook’s a high-powered team,” Allen said. “We did a decent job keeping McClure in check, but Root is a tough kid. Not just scoring, but he set the tone and didn’t allow us to take control.”
The Black Bears made just 19 of 32 free throws, but only committed 12 turnovers, while forcing Yarmouth to give the ball away 22 times.
“(Yarmouth) couldn’t get comfortable and that was our goal,” Schmidt said. “Our defense is pretty good. You can’t let a team like that get hot. We were focused on Torres on the outside and did a good job on him. We boxed out well.”
“I think we still have more in the tank. The good thing about a senior team is that we have leaders and guys who want to win. They’ve been here before. The guys are physically stronger and a year older, so they’re mature in a way they weren’t last year. We have a good group of sophomores who push the seniors and complement them well.”
Maranacook and Cape Elizabeth don’t meet in the regular season and have played just once before in the tournament, a 56-46 Black Bears’ triumph in the 2008 Class B state final.
Maranacook is looking forward to taking the big stage Thursday and taking its chances against the Capers.
“Cape’s going to be a tough team,” Duncan Rogers said. “We’ll study them and get ready. We’re excited to play at the Civic Center.”
“We’re ready to compete at this level,” Schmidt said. “We’ll figure out a strategy and how we’ll play them defensively. We do offensively what we do. For us, we have to handle (Cape Elizabeth big man Andrew) Hartel in the paint. It’s easier said than done. He’s a big guy who’s strong and plays hard.”
Yarmouth got 11 points and seven rebounds from Torres in his swan song.
Haywood, despite being foul trouble, added 10 points, nine boards and three steals.
Jake Rogers finished with a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Cox added five points, Middleton had three and Hickey two.
The Clippers had a 43-40 rebounding advantage and made 10 of 14 foul shots, but the 22 turnovers and inability to hit big shots sealed their fate.
“We came a long way defensively and offensively, but the truth is, we had a hard time scoring all season,” Allen said.
“All I can say is that I’m proud of the guys. It was a tough transition year with a really different system. They played hard and stayed with me all season and we’ll have a bond that lasts forever.”
In addition to Haywood, Middleton, Rogers and Torres, Robert Bolese, Noah Eckersley-Ray and James Hook also depart.
“Those seven seniors are a lot to lose,” Allen said. “They play hard, they’re good athletes, they had each other’s backs. Losing them will be hard to adjust to, but all we can really do is start building.”
Look for the Clippers to make another playoff run next winter.
“Next year will have a different feel to it,” Allen said. “It will be much more building the basketball identity of Yarmouth as opposed to making a change.”
Yarmouth junior Aidan Hickey, left, and senior Noah Eckersley-Ray tie up Maranacook junior Skyler Boucher.
Maranacook senior Mitch Root looks to drive.
Yarmouth junior Aidan Hickey drives on Maranacook sophomore Cashman McClure.
Maranacook seniors Mitch Root, left, and Duncan Rogers celebrate after the win.
2018 Class B South quarterfinals
Yarmouth 43 Maranacook 33
2016 Class B South semifinals
Yarmouth 69 Maranacook 51
2013 Western B preliminary
Maranacook 72 Yarmouth 65