AUGUSTA — A near-perfect start led to a championship ending to a dream season for the Greely boys’ basketball team.

Senior standout Matt McDevitt made his first four shots, including two 3-pointers, and Greely never looked back, rolling to a 59-43 win against Messalonskee in the Class A state championship game Saturday afternoon at the jam-packed Augusta Civic Center.

Greely completed a 22-0 season, earning its first state title since winning Class B in 1998. McDevitt finished with 23 points and scored his 1,000th career point on a free throw with 6:22 left in the third quarter.

The gregarious 6-foot-7 McDevitt finished with four 3-pointers, eight rebounds, two assists and three blocks. He was beaming as he held the Gold Ball and accepted congratulations.

“We’ve been talking about Gold Ball dreams since maybe the summer,” McDevitt said. “We knew that we had the capability of doing it. It just feels great to be here and actually do it.”

McDevitt had plenty of help. Fellow senior starters Jordan Bagshaw (17 points on 7-of-12 shooting) and Ryan Twitchell (10 points, 10 rebounds) each took their turn in the spotlight. Bagshaw scored eight points in the second quarter as Greely stretched its lead from 18-7 after the first eight minutes to 36-10 at halftime. Twitchell scored six points in the third quarter, when the lead peaked at 53-19 on a Bagshaw basket late in the quarter.

Greely dominated the glass (31-13 rebounding edge) and held Messalonskee to 9-of-30 shooting through three quarters, shutting down the Eagles’ top tandem of James Kouletsis (eight points) and Nate Violette (six points). Shane DeWolfe, Greely’s defensive specialist, checked Violette.

“I just think we all wanted this so bad and we’ve been working for this since we were little kids,” said DeWolfe, a junior. “I think we weren’t going to let this opportunity go to waste.”

While DeWolfe shut out Violette until midway through the third quarter, the Rangers’ size smothered everyone else.

“In the beginning of the game, our goal was defense,” the 6-foot-5 Twitchell said. “Once we hold them low, our offense will score points for us. Matt and Jordan were both hot coming right out of the gate.”

Messalonskee (16-6) was playing in its first state final after dethroning Oceanside as the North champs with a convincing 61-40 win.

Earlier in the afternoon, the Messalonskee girls completed their undefeated season, beating Brunswick 58-35.

“We had this place packed and the emotions were running through our body, and I think we were playing with a little more emotion rather than playing smart,” said Messalonskee Coach Peter McLaughlin. “When they settled in they kept going, and we didn’t find our legs until halftime.”

Greely already had the game well in hand when McDevitt went to the free-throw line for three attempts knowing he needed one point to reach 1,000.

He entered the game with 982 points and scored 17 in the first half.

“We went into the locker room and were talking about it, and I got a little antsy, and it felt awesome,” McDevitt said. “My teammates, they were looking for me all game, and I can’t say enough thanks to all those guys.”

After McDevitt made his first free throw, Greely called a timeout. McDevitt received hugs and congratulations from his teammates, then made the next two for a 43-14 lead.

Midway through the fourth quarter, Greely Coach Travis Seaver began pulling his starters. McDevitt took a seat with 3:16 left and Greely leading 56-30.

Seaver played on Greely’s 1997 and 1998 championship teams.

“We started well. It helped that Matt shot so well in the first quarter,” Seaver said. “The defensive effort, to give up only 10 points in the first half is something we’ve been really focused on. A great team effort.”

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or:

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Twitter: SteveCCraig