Sunday, December 8, 2013
By TRAVIS LAZARCZYK Morning Sentinel
AUGUSTA - With 33 seconds left in the game, Matt Alley lined up on the key, looked over his right shoulder, caught somebody's eye and smiled.
Derick Ouellette of Forest Hills gets swarmed by Jonesport-Beals defenders Leon Smith, left, and Thomas Beal.
Photos by Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal
Evan Worster of Forest Hills drives to the hoop between Jonesport-Beals defenders Garet Beal, left and Vinal Crowley.
He was still smiling 15 minutes later when he had a gold ball tucked under his arm and a net draped over his neck.
Alley scored 26 points, including the 1,000th of his career, to lead Jonesport-Beals to an 83-45 win over Forest Hills in the Class D state championship game, giving the Royals their first state title since 1993 and 10th overall.
"My family was in the section right there, and they were smiling right back, just as hard as they could," said Alley.
"We're in an elite club, finally. We've been waiting a long time. I don't know if I'd rank us up with the best (Jonesport-Beals teams) because there were some loaded teams, but I think we have a pretty good group here, and I'd play just about anybody with them."
Forest Hills finished the season at 18-4. Coach Anthony Amero had nothing but praise for the Royals (19-2).
"I've been in (Class) D 15 years, and that's one of the best D teams I've seen," Amero said. "Bigger, faster, stronger. There's not much we can do in those situations.'
Jonesport-Beals led 32-18 at the half and put the game away in the third quarter. Forest Hills committed 26 turnovers, many caused by the Royals' constant pressure. Forest Hills' top scorer, Evan Worster, had eight points in the first quarter, but once Jonesport-Beals standout Garet Beal got into foul trouble, Coach Gordon Faulkingham changed up the Royals' defense, focusing on keeping the ball out of Worster's hands.
"The Worster kid was quicker than I thought, and Garet got into foul trouble, so I had to switch up," Faulkingham said. "We started picking the tempo up, and it changed the game."
The Royals opened the third quarter with an 11-4 run, stretching their lead past 20 points. Alley scored nine points in the third, including his 1,000th.
"I'm proud of myself, but I'm a lot more proud of our team and what we did today," Alley said.
Despite limited minutes because of foul trouble, Beal scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Justin Alley and Leon Smith each scored 10 points.
Worster finished with 16 points, while Derick Ouellette scored 10 for the Tigers. Forest Hills doesn't lose anybody to graduation, and Amero expects to return all eight players.
"We're honored just to get this far this year. As I told the kids, you got a taste of it," said Amero. "You've got to get lifting and work hard, because it's not going to be automatically hey, since we're all back, we're going to the finals. Everybody is going to work hard."