AUGUSTA — With the score tied in the final seconds of overtime, Houlton’s standout forward, Kyle Bouchard, took a 3-pointer with two Waynflete players covering.
The shot missed, but all three players tumbled to the ground. Bouchard was fouled with 1.3 seconds left.
Bouchard hit 2 of 3 free throws to give the Shiretowners a 58-56 victory in the Class C boys’ basketball state final Saturday night at the Augusta Civic Center.
“It’s the old cliche: It’s a shame one team had to lose,” Waynflete Coach Rich Henry said. “But tip your cap. They have a great team and a great player.”
Bouchard scored 26 points. Waynflete (18-3) held him to one basket in the second half, but Houlton (22-0) found Christian Crane open underneath for 15 points.
“(Crane) had his hands ready and Bouchard’s a great passer when he’s double-teamed,” Henry said.
Serge Nyirikamba led Waynflete with 24 points, several on putbacks. Nyirikamba played six minutes of the fourth quarter and overtime with four fouls.
Harry Baker-Connick scored 13 points and paced Waynflete’s defense with several steals. Abel Alemayo added 12 points.
After a 39-39 tie through three quarters, the fourth quarter featured six lead changes. Milo Belleau’s 3-pointer gave Waynflete a 46-44 lead with 4:25 left in regulation. Nyirikamba then drove for a 48-44 lead with 3:53 left.
But Bouchard hit an inside drive, Waynflete lost the ball, and Isaac Cone scored on a fast break to tie it. Alemayo’s drive put Waynflete up 50-48, but another Crane layup tied it again.
Waynflete went for the last shot, but Nyirikamba’s outside jumper was short.
Houlton went up 56-52 in overtime, but a Baker-Connick drive and a Belleau jumper tied it.
Waynflete had a chance to go ahead but missed a shot with 52 seconds left. Houlton played for the last shot, which Bouchard took – and was fouled.
The game began Waynflete’s way with the Flyers taking a 7-0 lead before Houlton took a shot. Waynflete’s defense was denying Bouchard the ball, and Baker-Connick made two steals.
Waynflete still led 12-9 with 2:27 left in the first quarter before the Shiretowners went on a 15-0 run.
“They’re a solid team,” Moran said of Waynflete. “They’re among the best we’ve played.”
Waynflete rallied to make it a game to remember.
“It shows the fortitude of this team,” Henry said. “They enjoy playing for each other. They have character and a will to win; the strongest I’ve seen in any of my teams.”
Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or at: