Having gone to overtime against Marshwood less than a month ago, the Gorham boys basketball team knew what to expect Monday night in the Western Class A quarterfinals.

The game would be close, and the outcome would probably be decided by whichever team came up with the big plays down the stretch. On Jan. 27 that team was Gorham.

Monday night it was Marshwood’s turn. Mark McDonnell found Jason Allan with a bounce pass on a back-door cut, and Allan laid the ball in easily to put the Knights up by two with three seconds to go.

Gorham’s Jeff Manchester heaved up a half court three-pointer at the buzzer, but it didn’t go, and so No. 5 Marshwood knocked off the No. 4 Rams, 45-43.

“I think everyone was really hyped for this game, and I think the first half was great, but I just think down the stretch we didn’t make the plays that we needed to make,” said senior guard Matt Trask, who finished with 11 points. “And we didn’t come up with the ball on defense in the last minute. They held it for the last minute.

“I don’t know exactly what happened on that last play where they scored, but that was rough. I’m kind of sorry that a last shot was a lay-up. So I’m disappointed, but it’s not anything that we need to dwell on for a long time.”

The Rams took advantage of five Marshwood turnovers to build a 12-10 first quarter lead and then built the lead up to 25-21 by halftime.

The problem was, every time Gorham threatened to break things open – like midway through the second when they went up 20-13 on a fast break lay in by Manchester after a steal – Marshwood answered.

Immediately following Manchester’s basket, the Knights reeled off an 8-0 run to take their first lead of the game.

The offensive surge came as a result of defensive pressure. Manchester, who averaged more than 20 points a game during the regular season, was held to just eight in the first half.

“I just thought we had to stop him,” said Marshwood coach Mike Zamarchi. “We had to help on him on him all the time and play great team defense, help off some kids that couldn’t shoot as much.

“The tough thing is sometimes you over-extend yourself and you get in trouble rebounding, and I thought our kids just kept fresh guys on him all the time. Our help defense was just as big as one guy on him. We just wanted to make him work. The kid’s unbelievable, never gets tired.”

With a player or two in his face whenever he touched the ball, Manchester’s troubles continued in the second half – he scored his only basket of the third quarter with 1:57 to go.

But the Rams were able to maintain their lead in the third because other players stepped up. Senior Craig Woodbrey nailed a three-pointer with a minute to go, then knocked down a pair of free throws with no time left on the clock.

Gorham was back up by four when the final quarter began. Again, though, the Knights came back. Luke Pollock tied the score at 35 with a cut and lay-in a minute into the quarter.

For the next five minutes, the teams went back and forth. Gorham would take the lead and Marshwood would tie it up.

With 2:53 left, Colin Hurd sank one of two free throws to make it 41-39. Fifteen seconds later, Travis Berube’s jumper got the score to 41 all. When Manchester (14 points) hit a pair of free throws to put Gorham back up, Pollock took the ball the length of the floor and laid it in to make it 43-43.

A Trask turnover with 47 seconds to go gave Marshwood the ball and set the stage.

Zamarchi called one timeout before the inbounds pass, and then another with 11 seconds to go, to talk things over with his players.

“We were just going to get the ball in and try to get the last shot at least, so they couldn’t get another shot off. I just told them, ‘If you have something, take it.’ And they made a great play on it.”

Allan sneaked in behind the defense and made the lay-up for the win.

“It simply came down to, when we played down at Marshwood, we made some plays at the end of the game and were able to win,” said Gorham coach Kevin Jenkins. “Up here they made the plays at the end of the game.

“We missed a couple of opportunities to score at the end, and they did a good job on Manchester, made it very difficult for him to score. But he had an unbelievable season. It’s kind of a lot to ask of one kid to carry you.”

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