March 2, 2013

Class B boys' basketball: Falmouth hits the gas early, coasts to the title

The Yachtsmen take quick control against Medomak Valley and win their second title in four seasons.

By Tom Chard tchard@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND - Jack Simonds already had three baskets early in the game with his sweet jumper when a Medomak Valley opponent had the look that said, "enough is enough."

click image to enlarge

Grant Burfeind lifts the Gold Ball, and much like the offense, everyone on the team gets a touch Friday night as Falmouth rolled to the Class B state championship with a 62-39 victory against Medomak Valley at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

Photos by John Ewing/Staff Photographer

click image to enlarge

Justin Rogers of Falmouth drives the baseline past Jonathan Hendrickson-Belloguet of Medomak Valley during the 62-39 victory in the Class B final Friday.

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The opponent was all over Simonds, a 6-foot-5 sophomore, the next time down the floor. It made no difference. Simonds' next shot was just like the others. The opponent muttered in frustration.

There was nothing any of the Panthers could do Friday night as Falmouth jumped to an early lead and cruised to the Class B boys' basketball state title with a 62-39 victory at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

Simonds scored 15 points in the first half and finished with 21 as Falmouth (21-1) secured the school's second Gold Ball in four seasons.

"We've had different guys be the leading scorer at different times," said Coach Dave Halligan.

"It's been like that all year. A freshman (Tom Coyne) comes off the bench and has a great second half. Getting off to an early lead built up our confidence. Medomak tried to change the tempo. We missed some shots, but our defense took control."

Simonds scored 19 points Saturday in the victory against York in the Western Maine final at the Civic Center. This game had a similar look.

"Coach Halligan told me I needed to step up in the tournament and be a playmaker and scorer," said Simonds. "I'm just doing what the boss said."

Simonds got free in the lane for medium- range jumpers. Falmouth has so many threats that defenses are always under pressure.

"We work the ball around (enough) that eventually it gets in the middle for one of our big guys," said Simonds.

"I've had that shot all season. We got off to a fast start and we just wanted to keep our foot on the pedal."

With the Panthers (19-3) trying to concentrate on Simonds and 6-foot-5 Charlie Fay, openings were left for forward Tom Wilberg, who slashed his way to the basket for 15 points.

Wilberg, Simonds and point guard Grant Burfeind sparked Falmouth to a 26-15 opening-quarter lead.

Simonds had nine points, Burfeind added seven and Wilberg, a senior, had five in the quarter. Wilberg scored 11 in the first half as the Yachtsmen left the floor with a 14-point lead.

"We hopped out to a good lead and it stayed that way in the second and third quarters," said Wilberg. "You always worry about a team getting a few stops and getting back into it, but we kept getting stops and scoring.

Falmouth won its first 16 games this season, lost at York, then amped up its game again for the tournament.

"I think we played our best basketball in the tournament," said Wilberg.

Falmouth led by 16 after three quarters. Coyne was outstanding in the second half, going 7 of 8 from the line. For the game he was 9 of 10 from the line and finished with 14 points.

Medomak started in a man-to-man defense, switched to a zone and kept going back and forth.

"You can't really key on one player," said Coach Nick DePatsy. "Falmouth has so many pieces to the puzzle. Simonds is a tough matchup; he can score inside or out. They move the ball like a college team as far as their execution. Falmouth has won state titles in three different sports. That tells you what kind of athletes they are."

The Panthers had a difficult time getting the ball to their 6-foot-8 center, John Murray. Fay did a good job guarding Murray but had help from his teammates.

"Their pressure was phenomenal," said DePatsy. "We were trying to get the ball to Murray, but Falmouth is long. They were cutting down the passing lanes."

Murray had 11 points to lead the Panthers.

Of Simonds, Wilberg said: "It's great to have a player bail us out when maybe we don't run the play as well as we should have."

Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at:

tchard@pressherald.com

Twitter: TomChardPPH

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