Stefano Mancini and his Falmouth High classmates couldn’t have scripted a better finish to their high school basketball careers.

“I think we dreamed how we wanted it to end,” said Mancini. “We couldn’t have picked a better outcome or setting.”

Falmouth and defending Class B state champion Camden Hills locked horns on the Bangor Auditorium floor for 32 minutes of regulation and another four minutes of overtime. Mancini finished with 27 points as the Yachtsmen won 72-65 for the school’s first Class B state title after dominating in Class C a decade and a half earlier.

It was a special win for Falmouth’s seniors. Four of the starters had played together since the fourth grade. While Mancini overcame foul trouble to turn in another superb performance, it was the totality of Falmouth’s effort that made the championship possible. The other starters were outstanding and the reserves, some of whom had seen little action during season, stepped in and contributed.

Falmouth Coach Dave Halligan called this year’s team “one of the best groups of kids I’ve coached.” The unquestioned leader was the 6-foot-1 Mancini.

“Stef can elevate his game according to the situation,” said Halligan. “The regular season game against Yarmouth was a good example. The state game was another.

“He started as a freshman, which was kind of baptism under fire. Each season he got a little better and his confidence grew.

“The first two years, he played off guard. He moved to point guard this season. Over the past three seasons, he’s moved from off guard to point guard and back. Whenever we got in trouble, he took charge and played the guard spot where we needed him. He led us in rebounding in some games. After scoring, he would play tough defense.”

In other words, Mancini did it all, which is why he’s the Maine Sunday Telegram/Portland Press Herald MVP for boys’ basketball.

Mancini averaged 21 points this season. He finished with 1,281 career points to rank third all-time at Falmouth.

Mancini had outstanding range on his 3-point shots. Teams couldn’t stretch their defenses far enough to contain him. And when they tried, he would put the ball on the floor and drive for a closer shot or go all the way for a layup.

He wants to play at the Division I level in college and hasn’t yet decided whether to take a postgraduate year at a prep school.

A starting quarterback in football for his first three years of high school, Mancini opted not to play last fall so he could focus solely on basketball.

“I missed playing football, but it was what I needed to do to get my game over the hump,” said Mancini.

 

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at:

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