AUGUSTA — Undefeated Winthrop likes to put on pressure.

North Yarmouth Academy handled it for a while, but eventually the Ramblers ran away with this game and beat the Panthers 52-29 Thursday night in a Class C South boys’ basketball semifinal at the Augusta Civic Center.

After leading 10-9 in the first quarter, the Ramblers scored the first 10 points of the second, grabbed a 26-11 halftime lead and were never threatened.

“We couldn’t get into an offensive rhythm,” NYA Coach Jason Knight said.

NYA’s 6-foot-3 freshman center, Te’Andre King, was the Panthers’ only offensive threat, scoring 19 points. Guard Jacob Hickey led Winthrop with 16 points and 6-8 center Cam Wood added 15.

Top-seeded Winthrop (20-0) moves on to the South final at 8:45 p.m. Saturday against No. 3 Madison (17-3). Fourth-seeded NYA finishes at 15-5.

Winthrop’s Jacob Hickey gets smashed between North Yarmouth Academy defenders Jake Malcom, left, and Davis Newell in the first quarter. Staff photo by Amber Waterman Thomas

Winthrop has a habit of winning by a lot. Entering Thursday’s game, the Ramblers’ average victory margin was 23.

Thursday’s game was close for a quarter. Both teams played swarming defense, with the Panthers paying particular attention to Hickey. The Ramblers worked the ball inside to Wood – or Wood put back rebounds. He scored seven of his points in the first quarter.

“They didn’t have an answer for Cam,” Winthrop Coach Todd MacArthur said. “With his size and his presence, we need him.”

NYA countered with King, whose inside drives kept the Panthers close.

“Te’Andre has been a huge addition to our team,” Knight said. “The first quarter, we played well.”

But Winthrop’s persistent pressure got to NYA. The Panthers made eight turnovers in the second quarter and shot 1 of 8 (a King layup).

“Defense is what we hang our hats on,” MacArthur said. “I don’t think, offensively, we played very well. But, defensively, that’s something special, when you hold a team like that under 30.”

North Yarmouth Academy’s Jake Malcom attempts to block Cameron Wood’s shot in the first quarter. Staff photo by Amber Waterman Thomas

Making matters worse for NYA was senior guard Haven Cutko getting into foul trouble. He fouled out with 5:56 left in the third quarter. Eventually, four Panthers would foul out.

“My point guard is on the bench with fouls. That makes it hard to get some rhythm going and get into an offensive flow,” Knight said. “That’s a large credit to Winthrop, Coach MacArthur and their defense. They’re very aggressive.”

Hickey did not score a basket in the second quarter, but he drew fouls, hitting 8 of 8 free throws.

Senior forward Jake Malcom scored eight points for NYA.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

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