Friday, December 13, 2013
AUGUSTA — Forest Hills sophomore Evan Worster didn’t expect to take a game-winning shot in Saturday’s Western Class D quarterfinal against Rangeley. But when he got the call, he was ready.
Evan Worster, left, chest-bumps with Joey Gilbert after scoring the basket Saturday that lifted Forest Hills over Rangeley.
Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal
Ezekiel Hall of Rangeley is bumped by Raymond Petrin of Forest Hills while trying to shoot Saturday during their Western Class D quarterfinal at the Augusta Civic Center. Top-ranked Forest Hills escaped with a 54-51 victory.
Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal
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After two free throws by Rangeley’s Alex Morton gave the Lakers a one-point lead, Worster took the inbounds pass, dribbled the length of the court, penetrated the lane and made an 8-foot jumper with 4.2 seconds left.
The Lakers had two chances to tie or take the lead, sandwiched around a pair of free throws by Dylan McNally. But both attempts failed, and top-seeded Forest Hills escaped with a 54-51 win against No. 8 Rangeley.
The Tigers (14-5) will play No. 5 Vinalhaven in a semifinal Wednesday at the Augusta Civic Center. Rangeley finished the season 10-9.
Worster practiced the last-second scenario this week.
“He hit the free throw and my teammate Dylan (McNally) said, ‘Evan, get it and go,’ because I was feeling it in the second half. We did have a drill similar to that and it was pretty much the same outcome. That’s my shot.”
Worster finished with 21 points and McNally also scored 21, but only two of McNally's points came in the second half. The rugged, 6-foot-2 senior made his first eight shots, all from the low post, to stake the Tigers to a 36-26 halftime lead.
“I just worked hard, really,” McNally said. “They double teamed me a couple of times; I just found a way to break it. I think they started keying on me a little more in the second half, which opened up Worster to start playing his game.”
The Lakers enjoyed a height advantage, with 6-4 Zeke Hall and 6-3 George Seaman, and they began to use it in the second half. Morton, who finished with 17 points, also came on strong.
“We just talked about at halftime getting back in the paint,” Rangeley Coach Matt Clark said. “I told the kids not to settle for the outside shot. The last part of the first half, we were just shooting up shots because we were down.”
When Morton hit a pair of free throws with 5:47 left, the momentum had swung to the Lakers. Michael Turner, an eighth grader who starts for Forest Hills, responded with two big shots to help the Tigers maintain the lead.
“It just seemed like he was open all day,” Forest Hills Coach Anthony Amero said of Turner. “He’s an active kid and he works well out of the offense. He didn’t have a lot of turnovers for a kid being that young, being 13 and in here for the first time. ... He’s fearless.”
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