While the rest of the Cape Elizabeth boys’ basketball team was getting its photo taken after a last-second, 44-42 win in the Class B championship game Friday night, Capers assistant coach Kevin Fogg was elsewhere.

Fogg was consoling Medomak Valley players on their tough loss.

Fogg, in his first season as a coach at Cape, is a former Medomak Valley player, who played for Coach Nick DePatsy. Fogg coached several of the Medomak Valley players in youth basketball when he played for the Panthers and later in travel league when he was in college.

There wasn’t another chance to take a picture with Fogg in it because the players were scattered about in the arena, celebrating with the student section.

Cape Coach Jim Ray had an opening on his staff before the season, and Fogg, who works as an accountant in Portland, applied.

“Kevin has been a great addition to our coaching staff,” said Ray.

Saturday, Ray and his coaching staff had lunch, shared stories of the game and joked about Fogg missing the picture.

Ray’s teams had lost in the state final in 2008, 2009 and 2011.

“I can recognize how special this is. I’m not sure the players do right now, but I’m sure they will in time,” said Ray.

After the game, the team bus had fire engines escort them through town back to the high school. That was followed by a reception at Ethan Murphy’s parents’ house.

Murphy beat the buzzer with the winning layup.

Ray said the final seconds of the game couldn’t have been scripted better.

Senior co-captains Eddie Galvin and Murphy hooked up on the winning play. Galvin passed to an open Murphy on the wing. He drove and scored.

“I fell to the court and when I looked up, there was no time on the clock,” said Murphy.

“Senior captain to senior captain,” said Ray. “That’s movie material.”

As the winning sequence was unfolding, Ray said: “I bit my tongue.

“It’s understood that with four or more seconds, we get it and go, rather than take a timeout. I wouldn’t have been able to work out a play better than the one we got. Medomak had a tough shot before and left a little more time on the clock. It worked out for us.”

Of the loss, Medomak Valley’s Nick DePatsy said: “You can’t point to one thing. It was a game of little runs. Cape made the plays at the end and we didn’t. I thought we had a great season. I thought we overachieved.”

Trojans learn along the way

Thornton Academy made its first appearance in the Class A girls’ state championship game Saturday, losing to Lawrence 50-43. The Trojans were considered by many to be the favorite coming into the season but Coach Eric Marston thought he had a contender a year ago. However, the Trojans were upset in the Western A quarterfinals by Windham.

“I thought we had a team that could have competed last year as well,” said Marston, in the days before this year’s championship game. “But I think we became fixated on the final goal, as opposed to appreciating the process. I think it started with me and trickled down to the girls. We lost sight of the steps we had to take along the way. Instead we were just thinking about the end result.

“Sitting in that locker room after that quarterfinal loss just tore me apart and I was determined to not let that happen to my girls again. I felt personally responsible for that. I read as much as I could about learning from failure and the process and the journey. And that was our focus this year.”

Even as the Trojans were compiling impressive victories, Marston said this year’s team “never got caught up in the wins and losses. Even if we won a game, the girls remained focused on what we had to do to improve, the process and the memories we were making along the way.”

No fear in Cape Girls

The Cape Elizabeth girls, losers of five of their last seven games in the regular season, wore the Cinderella slippers for a few days. The No. 9 Capers won three playoff games, including beating No. 1 Spruce Mountain in the regional quarterfinal and then taking down Lincoln.

Capers Coach Chris Casterella said her team’s unexpected success stemmed from a lack of fear of the big moment – and the value of having multisport experience.

“They’re not worried. They’re not afraid,” Casterella said. “They don’t hang their heads. They move on. I think it’s because they’ve had success in other sports. They’ve made it to state games. Some have won state games. Ashley Tinsman (is) a great example. An amazing Division I softball player. Basketball is not her first sport. She is a competitor.”

Simonds makes a big impact

Everyone will remember Jack Simonds of Falmouth erupting for 42 points against South Portland in the Western Maine Class A semifinals to tie a long held tournament record for most points scored in a game, but it was a play by Simonds in the quarterfinals against Westbrook that kept the Yachtsmen’s season alive.

Simonds completed a three-point play with 22 seconds in overtime to give Falmouth a 48-47 win. Simonds scored 23 points in a 57-47 loss to Portland in the regional final.

“It was like effortless against South Portland,” said Falmouth Coach Dave Halligan. “I didn’t realize he had that many points. Jack got them in the flow of the game. He was hot and the kids gave him the ball. He did what he was capable of doing. He was determined to put his teammates on his shoulders.”

Simonds, a 6-foot-6 senior headed for Bowdoin College next fall, tied a 39-year-old mark set by Ken Rowe of Cheverus for most points in a Western A tournament game.

Simonds scored 85 points in three games and won the Vinall Trophy as the tournament’s top player. Simonds is a finalist for Mr. Basketball along with Kyle Bouchard of Houlton and Nick Mayo of Messalonskee.

In four seasons (two in Class B and two in Class A), Simonds played in three regional finals and one state final, a 62-39 win over Medomak Valley in the Class B final in 2013.

Taking the next step

Often it takes a team multiple cracks at the state tournament before it can reach the pinnacle.

The Greely girls made three straight trips to the regional semifinals before this season. Each time they met, and lost to Lake Region (once in the final, twice in the semifinals).

This year it was their time to hoist the Gold Ball in Class B.

Other squads took an important step forward.

For Poland and first-year coach Michael Susi, just getting to the Expo for a quarterfinal was a pivotal first step for the program.

After changing into their street clothes, Poland posed for a team picture at center court of the nearly empty Expo. The image made some clear statements: We got here. We pushed No. 2 Gray-New Gloucester the whole way. Be proud and, most importantly, get back next year.

“This should become the expectation,” Susi said. “We broke a barrier. We finally got here. It takes time. It’s not easy.”

Gorham couldn’t get past Thornton Academy in the Western A regional semifinal but it did move a step further along the road with a roster full of dedicated sophomores who now know both success and disappointment on the big floors.

Similarly, Lincoln Academy had both valuable learning experiences. An unheralded fifth seed in Western B, Lincoln surprised regional mainstay York in the quarterfinal. Then they were upset, their hopes buried by an avalanche of seven 3-pointers by Hannah Sawyer and Cape Elizabeth’s overall team speed.

Hampden ready for another run

With all five starters back next season, Hampden Academy is the early favorite to return to the Class A boys’ final. If the Broncos do, it would be five straight appearances in the final. The Broncos are 2-2 in the last four.

Hampden had its offense clicking from 3-point range at the start and then from inside in the second half in its 70-50 victory over Portland on Saturday. Brendan McIntyre and Jake Black both hit two 3-pointers in the first quarter and each hit another later in the game.

And when the Broncos went to the line, they were accurate from there as well, making 16 of 21 free throws. In the second half, Hampden converted four, three-point plays, two by point guard Nick Gilpin and two by McIntyre, who finished with a game-high 22 points.

Last year in the state final, Portland’s press bothered the Broncos, but this time Gilpin, Black and the others handled it. Portland, which counts on creating turnovers to spark its offense, couldn’t generate many. Gilpin made the Bulldogs pay sinking 9 of 10 from the line.

Portland’s future also looks bright as it returns the Moss brothers, Amir and Terion, and Joe Esposito. Amir Moss and Esposito will be returning starters while Terion, a freshman point guard, was impressive in his first season.

Long wait, big reward

It was two days before the girls’ Class B basketball state championship game and Joel Rogers, the third-year Greely High coach, was talking basketball.

Rogers was sprinkling the conversation with the names of other coaches – people he respects and/or had worked for as an assistant.

At 57, Rogers referred to himself as a longtime wannabe. He wanted to be a head coach, to be like Portland boys’ Coach Joe Russo, or McAuley girls’ Coach Bill Goodman, or the legendary Bob Brown.

A Portland High grad himself, the 6-foot-6 Rogers then recalled his own playing days and how his strong Bulldog teams from the mid-1970s had never reached the state championship game.

“But you know what? This is just as good,” Rogers said. “I’m in one now.”

Two nights later his Rangers played an impeccable game, mixing stingy defense, superior 3-point marksmanship and the overall strong play of 6-foot-3 senior center Ashley Storey to defeat Presque Isle, 56-39.

Not bad for a coach who had to wait until he was 54 to get his first head coaching job.

Shortly after the 2014-15 season was over, Rogers sounded like a veteran coach, already looking ahead to next season.

It’s not easy to defend

It was not a good year for defending champions in girls’ basketball.

Of the eight regional champions a year ago, only one successfully defended its title. And that one, Washburn in Eastern Class D, set a girls’ championship record by winning its fifth consecutive state title, beating Rangeley 60-54 Saturday in Bangor.

Four other schools have won four consecutive state titles: Westbrook (Class A, 1978-81), Lawrence (Class A, 1991-94), McAuley (Class A, 2011-14) and Gorham (Class B, 1978-81).