No. 1 Greely was staring at a quick exit in the Western Class B boys’ basketball tournament Saturday against No. 8 York at the Portland Expo, which would have followed an Eastern Class B trend of the top seeds losing.
The Rangers (18-1) being the veteran team they are, found a way to pull out a 41-38 win to keep alive their hopes of a state title.
The Rangers knew they had escaped and will need to play a lot better in the next round and beyond should they get there.
“It was definitely a wakeup call,” said Mike McDevitt, Greely’s 6-foot-7 senior center.
“Just because we beat teams by a lot of points in the regular season doesn’t mean we can expect to do it again. We have to play better and be prepared. Hopefully, we will be on Thursday,” he said.
Greely and No. 4 Yarmouth (15-4) will play in the regional semifinals at 9 p.m. Thursday at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
The Rangers beat the Clippers twice in the regular season, 57-49 on Dec. 17 and 65-48 on Jan. 17.
After their quarterfinal experience, the Rangers won’t be taking anyone lightly anymore, certainly not Yarmouth which has the size to match Greely.
“We can certainly learn from this game,” said Greely Coach Travis Seaver.
“We didn’t play well until halfway through the fourth quarter. We’re not going to be able to get away with that in our next game. We have to be better prepared and hopefully we will be on Thursday,” he said.
McDevitt said he was frustrated with being in foul trouble. He collected his fourth with 4:06 left in the third quarter and didn’t return until 7:37 remained in the game. Connor Hanley, the team’s other big gun, got his fourth foul with 37 seconds left in the third.
“It’s always frustrating when you have four fouls called on you,” said McDevitt.
“Tournament officiating is always going to be real tight and close. I should have been able to figure it out after my first two fouls. My fourth foul was just a dumb foul. In the heat of the moment, you just do dumb things sometimes,” he said.
McDevitt was smart enough to avoid fouling out while not changing his style of play in the fourth quarter when Greely outscored York 16-5 after trailing by eight points at the start of the final stanza.
“I was a little scared when York made that run in the third quarter and we had gotten into a big hole,” said McDevitt.
“We have a senior team and we’ve been in situations like this before. I knew we would come back and make a run at it,” he said.
Seaver knew his senior leadership would kick in.
“That’s the luxury we have. We have a lot of seniors who are smart,” he said.
SCARBOROUGH SENIOR forward Rachael Wallace has seen her team fall short in the playoffs before. But everything looked good Saturday, with the Red Storm leading Lewiston 2-0 in the state championship game at the Colisee.
Then the Blue Devils scored on a power play in the third period and Lewiston, spurred by a large home crowd, began creating more chances.
“I had a flashback to other games when we’ve come close,” Wallace said. “I just hoped we would play our game and not fall apart – and we didn’t. We kept our composure.”
Scarborough won 3-1 for its first girls’ hockey title.
LEWISTON COACH Ron Dumont brings an even-keel demeanor to the bench and away from it. He could quickly put things in perspective after his Blue Devils lost to Scarborough on Saturday.
“You never like to lose,” he said. “But if you do, this is the way you take it, with heart and while you’re still working hard.”
THE BEST RACE in the Class A girls swimming and diving championships Saturday night in Orono was the championship final of the 100-yard butterfly. Bangor senior Emma Waddell held a tenth of a second lead over Brunswick freshman Caitlin Tycz after 50 yards (in 25.56 seconds) and both wound up breaking 55 seconds, which had never been done by a Maine schoolgirl.
Waddell’s time of 54.49 beat the meet record (55.89 by Sanford’s Jenni Roberts in 2010), the state record (55.72 by Waynflete’s Colby Harvey in 2012) and the Stanley Wallace Pool record (54.50 by Roberts, now at New Hampshire, in the 2013 America East championships).
And Tycz? She swam 54.78. Both times qualify for all-America status.
“We talked about it ahead of time,” Brunswick Coach Dave Bright said of choosing a more winnable race. “I said we can pick a different event. But Caitlin’s competitive. She wants to go up against the best.”
Lisbon senior Zach Stevens won his third Class C state championship, taking the 138-pound weight division.
Stevens’ father, Mark Stevens, had recently announced he was retiring as the Lisbon varsity coach. His son became the Greyhounds’ sixth three-time state champ (plus four-time champ Forrest Cornell) in Mark Stevens’ 19 seasons.
Because Zach Stevens had only wrestled three times at the weight – and did not have a win against a top-four opponent among those three – he could not be seeded in the top four.
When the draw was announced he ended up seeded eighth, drawing No. 1 Matt Stewart of Bucksport in the first match. Stevens won 9-0 and then had two first-period pins for his title.
Teammate J.D. Martin won the 120-pound division with a 9-second pin in the final against Dirigo’s Hunter White. Martin was 1-2 against White during the season.
BIDDEFORD COACH Steve Vermette said that after seeing junior Dominick Day come up just short in state title bids as a freshman and sophomore, they decided to do something different this year in the final week of preparation.
“We brought in a lot of guys in practice and we just drilled him to death. We wore him out,” Vermette said. “He’s been here two times. This time he needed to win. We didn’t want to leave anything on the board. We got him conditioned. He wanted it bad. He took it to (them) today. It was his title to lose.”
“Today I wrestled, I think, the best I’ve wrestled all year,” Day said. “I’ve had so many people come in and help me, past (Biddeford) wrestlers who are pretty good and a lot heavier than me. It helps out a lot. I had a lot more this year.”
Day will enter Thursday’s New England Qualifier at Nokomis High as the favorite to win the 138-pound division, which is shaping up to be one of the toughest brackets.
Lisbon’s Stevens is one of the few Class C wrestlers with a resume of success comparable to the Class A wrestlers. Class B’s entries include champion Colin Sevigney of Wells and runner-up Brooks Law of Foxcroft Academy, both two-time state champs.
“I can’t wait,” Day said. “Colin (Sevigney) and Stevens of Class C. I’ve wrestled Colin, we’ve been back and forth this year. He beat me the first time, I’ve beat him twice. I’m pretty sure he’s going to be coming for me but I’m going to be coming for him, too.”
Staff Writers Tom Chard, Kevin Thomas, Glenn Jordan and Steve Craig contributed to this report.