AUGUSTA — The shot went up and there was a battle for the rebound. One hand tapped it up, then another. The basketball was loose, the score was tight, the crowd was loud.

After a mad scramble, Jarrod Chase of George Stevens Academy shoveled the ball to the corner, where teammate Beckett Slayton plucked it from his shoelaces and, in one fluid motion, lofted a backbreaking 3-pointer.

Never again would Waynflete come as close as in that frenzied final minute of the third quarter.

George Stevens of Blue Hill pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 59-46 victory in the Class C boys’ basketball state championship game Saturday night at the Augusta Civic Center, earning the third Gold Ball in program history.

The Eagles also won state titles in 1979 and 2003.

“That was a huge momentum shift,” Slayton said of the shot that gave GSA a 40-34 lead. “I talked to (Chase) afterward and he actually had no idea how he got it to me because it was so chaotic under there.”

“That elicited a ‘Fudge’ from me, because I’m trying to keep it PG,” said Waynflete Coach Rich Henry. “You can point to a couple times over the course of the game where a shot rimmed out, that loose ball that we could have gotten, that steal that Milo (Belleau) had where they came from behind and tipped it away.”

Waynflete (19-3) fell behind by nine early in the second quarter and twice cut the deficit to a single point, at 23-22 and 33-32, but never could take a lead again after an early 3-pointer by Will Nelligan put the Flyers ahead 5-3.

“I’m proud of the way they battled back,” Henry said of his players. “I think we rushed it a little bit on offense a couple times, but you have to credit George Stevens with that. They get a lead and they make you get a little impatient on offense, and that’s something we hadn’t really done this year.”

Sophomore point guard Taylor Schildroth scored 16 of his 25 points in the first half and dissected Waynflete’s defense with penetrating drives to set up Chase and center Max Mattson underneath or kick the ball out to Slayton (13 points) beyond the arc.

“He’s a very good distributor,” Henry said. “Their bigs do a nice job of opening up and getting their hands up and catching the pass. So he’s more than just a shooter. He’s a very sound offensive player, that’s for sure.”

Belleau led Waynflete with 13 points and Nelligan added 11. The Flyers missed four free throws in the final two minutes of the third quarter and trailed 40-35 entering the fourth.

An inside basket by the 6-foot-6 Mattson, a step-back jumper by Schildroth, two free throws by Mattson and a three-point play by Nick Szwez after a pretty feed from Schildroth made it 49-37.

Any Waynflete comeback hopes evaporated as George Stevens sank all 11 free throws it took in the final six minutes.

Mattson and Szwez helped hold Waynflete’s inside tandem of Yai Deng and Christian Brooks to eight points each, and Chase made Belleau work hard for his points.

“Our defense really stepped up in the second half,” George Stevens Coach Dwayne Carter said. “We contested shots. It was a great team effort.”

In the end, George Stevens simply had too much for Waynflete, which lost in the final for the second time in three years.