This story was updated at 12:40 p.m. 2/24/13 to correct the last time Boothbay won a state title.
AUGUSTA — Top-seeded Boothbay made a believer of its coach Saturday night by capturing the Western Class C boys basketball championship.
Anthony DiMauro and John Hepburn each scored 21 points to lead the Seahawks to a 70-52 win against second-seeded Waynflete at the Augusta Civic Center.
“This is unbelievable,” said I.J. Pinkham, in his 36th season as coach of the Seahawks. “When we started in November, I had no idea this team would go to a state championship game. They fooled me.”
Boothbay (20-1) did it by turning back a second-half challenge from the Flyers, who were making their first appearance in the regional final since moving up to Class C in 2005.
The Seahawks will meet Penquis in the state final at 8:45 p.m. Saturday in the final high school basketball game at the Bangor Auditorium.
Waynflete, which trailed by 12 points at the end of the first half, rallied to make it 43-43 with 2:09 left in the third quarter.
“When the score was tied and we took a timeout, I said they were killing us on the boards but it wasn’t the kids’ fault,” Pinkham said. “It was because we were in a zone (defense) and we couldn’t find them quick enough. At that timeout we went man-to-man. That really helped our rebounding and that turned the game around.”
The Seahawks, who got baskets from Hepburn and DiMauro in the final 1:40 of the third quarter to regain the lead, reasserted themselves in the fourth, opening with a 10-2 run to move into a 57-45 lead with 5:10 remaining in the game.
Boothbay held a 41-29 lead at the end of the first half.
The Seahawks ended the first quarter with a 7-0 run to grab the momentum and move into a 22-19 lead.
Boothbay sank five of its first six shots to start the second quarter. It used a 17-6 run to open a 37-25 lead with 4:25 to go in the first half. Most of the Seahawks’ points during that run came off the fast break or from the free-throw line.
The Flyers had a difficult time against Boothbay’s 2-3 zone in the first half. They missed 13 of 16 shots during the second quarter.
Hepburn, a 6-foot-2 sophomore forward, received the Harry Edwards Award given annually to the tournament’s outstanding player/sportsman.
“He’s an energizer,” Pinkham said. “He just keeps going and going and going on the boards. He has no fear. He could miss 10 shots in a row and he’ll take the next 10 (shots).”
Andrew Hallinan scored 12 points for the Seahawks, who lost to Dirigo in the regional final two years. It was their fifth appearance in the Western Class C final since 1979.
Boothbay won the state championship in 2001.
Jack Cutler scored 20 points for Waynflete (18-2). Serge Nyirikamba followed with 13 points and Paul Runyambo added 10.
Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: