Falmouth boys’ basketball coach Dave Halligan called Saturday night’s 69-55 victory over Greely “our biggest Heal point win of the season.” And the veteran coach was right.
The victory over the top-ranked team in Western Class B – the only opponent to beat Falmouth this season – enabled the Yachtsmen (9-1) to vault over Bonny Eagle into first place in the Western Class A rankings.
Falmouth’s stay in the top spot could be short-lived because the last two unbeaten teams in Western Class A, Bonny Eagle and No. 3 Portland, meet Tuesday at St. Joseph’s College.
A Bonny Eagle win would almost certainly put the Scots (11-0) back in first place, as they are only two points behind Falmouth in the Heal standings. Portland is further back in the standings despite its 10-0 record, so a victory over Bonny Eagle might not be enough to move the Bulldogs into first place, at least for now.
Falmouth is in Class A in basketball for the first time but is still playing a Class B schedule as a member of the Western Maine Conference. Even if the Yachtsmen win the rest of their games, they likely won’t earn enough Heal points to finish first, because wins against Class A teams are worth more than wins against Class B teams. Falmouth has only three games remaining against teams that currently have winning records, including Tuesday’s game at Yarmouth, which is ranked third in Western Class B.
“This was a big win for us because we don’t get too many games like this,” said Falmouth point guard Tom Coyne, who scored 24 points.
After winning the Class B state title last winter, Falmouth has shown it belongs in Class A. The Yachtsmen beat both Portland and Bonny Eagle in a Christmas tournament, though those games don’t count in the Heal standings. They have good overall height and plenty of scorers, led by Coyne, a sophomore, and Jack Simonds, a 6-foot-4 junior forward who had an outstanding postseason a year ago and has kept on improving.
“They’re big-time performers,” Halligan said of his two leading scorers.
Shawn Sullivan scored a hat trick last week as Gorham downed Bonny Eagle.
It may or may not have been big news. Sullivan, a senior, wasn’t sure if he’d ever had a three-goal game as a high school player.
He knew it was his first hat trick of the season and was initially confident that he’d done so at some point in the past.
“Oh yeah, I’ve had some before,” Sullivan said, then paused.
“I think. I think I have. I don’t know.”
Whatever, it was obvious that the Rams’ top line – which also includes Tucker Buteau and Jared Wood – is ready to battle the best teams in the state. The trio showed tremendous teamwork in setting up Sullivan’s third goal.
“Tucker dumped it in there, and Jared beat the guy to the puck and knew where I was going to be and gave it to me,” Sullivan said.
“It’s all on my line helping me out. We work good together.”
Gorham is 5-1 and ranked second in Western Class B behind Camden Hills (7-0-1).
But Sullivan said there’s at least one area the Rams need to correct.
“We’ve had our troubles in the first period lately, just getting our legs going,” he said. “I couldn’t tell you why. That’s definitely something we’re going to have to address. We’re going to have to be ready for the start.”
– Staff Writers Tom Chard and Mark Emmert contributed to this report.