CUMBERLAND – Yarmouth trailed for nearly all of the third quarter and early in the fourth Friday night but didn’t look at the scoreboard. It just kept playing.

Good strategy. The fourth-ranked Clippers won their eighth straight and stopped top-ranked Greely’s winning streak at eight with a 53-51 victory.

And Western Class B just got tighter.

Greely (13-2) still leads in the Heal point standings, but Mountain Valley, Cape Elizabeth and Yarmouth are closely bunched heading into the final week of the regular season.

Matt Murphy hit five 3-pointers, including two back-to-back early in the fourth quarter to spark the Clippers. He finished with 19 points.

“Matt’s been playing great down the stretch,” said Yarmouth Coach Adam Smith. “He doesn’t get a lot of fanfare because we have Josh Britten and Luke Pierce. Matt has made 13 3-pointers in the last three games.”

The game started slowly. Greely turned the ball over on its first five possessions and Yarmouth (13-3) missed its first seven shots.

Tanner Storey of Greely scored the first basket halfway through the quarter. The Rangers soon had an 8-0 lead, but the Clippers responded with the next five points, all by Britten.

The game picked up in the second half and offered a taste of the tournament.

“It was a tremendous atmosphere,” said Smith. “I told the boys that’s as close to a tournament game they’ll get in the regular season. It was a tough deficit, particularly when they’re dunking on us. We weren’t thinking about how much we were down. We were focused on every trip down the floor.”

Yarmouth outscored the Rangers 21-16 in the fourth quarter, with Murphy and Pierce scoring eight points apiece.

Murphy’s back-to-back 3s with just over six minutes left gave Yarmouth its first lead since early in the second quarter. The Rangers went on a 5-0 run to regain the lead at 45-43, but Britten hit a 3-pointer from the side with 3:11 left to give the Clippers a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Greely had chances to tie or go ahead in the final two minutes, but missed shots, a turnover, an offensive foul and Yarmouth’s defense denied the Rangers.

“This is the most intense game I’ve played in this season,” said Murphy.

Murphy credited his teammates for getting him looks.

“We passed the ball and really played as a team,” he said.

Pierce added 15 points, nine from the line. He sealed it with two free throws with 3.4 seconds left for a four-point lead.

Storey led Greely with 16 points and was big on the boards.

“Storey played like a man,” said Coach Ken Marks. “If he plays like that, he’ll be tough to stop. That was a great game. We just happened to come up on the short end. If we can take something away from this loss and become better players, a better coach, then it was worthwhile.”

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

[email protected]