PORTLAND — Falmouth High’s top-ranked and unbeaten boys’ basketball team has lived on the edge for much of the season, winning numerous close games that included three in overtime.

Thursday’s Western Class B semifinal against York was no less dramatic. This time the formula consisted of a heavy dose of senior Matt Packard, a dash of freshman Jackson Simonds and a very curious turn of events.

The Yachtsmen rallied from 12 points down in the third quarter to beat the fourth-ranked Wildcats 49-45 at the Cumberland County Civic Center. The win lifted Falmouth to 20-0 and into the regional final against Yarmouth at 3:45 p.m. Saturday at the Civic Center.

“We’ve had something to prove all season,” said Packard, who led all scorers with 20 points. “We didn’t make the tournament last year for the first time in 27 years.

“I didn’t expect us to be 20-0. But so far we are.”

And Thursday’s win showed just how resilient the Yachtsmen are. Trailing 27-15 with 3:12 left in the third quarter, they closed it with a 6-0 run to pull within 29-25.

York (15-5, three close losses to Falmouth) still had control until 5:29 remained, then everything changed. Liam Langaas scored inside to give York a 36-31 lead, but teammate Aaron Todd was called for a foul on Simonds after the basket.

It should have led to a 1-and-1 opportunity for Simonds. Instead, play continued and Falmouth got a basket from Jack Cooleen to make it 36-33. Then the referees stopped play with 5:08 remaining — the basket being a dead ball — and gathered at midcourt to discuss the missed 1-and-1, which was brought to their attention.

Since it fell under the category of a correctable error, Simonds was given his 1-and-1 opportunity and hit both. Suddenly it was 36-35, and York was rattled.

“We never gave up,” said Langaas. “But mentally that was big. It was definitely deflating.”

York didn’t score again until 46.6 seconds remained, when Todd snapped Falmouth’s 12-0 run with a basket that made it 43-38. During that stretch, Packard threw in a left-handed runner in the lane and Simonds, who didn’t play much in the regular season, dropped in a 3-pointer — his second of the quarter.

“Coach always tells us to be ready because you never know when your number’s going to be called,” said Simonds, who had three vital defensive rebounds in the fourth as well. “And he tells us to be ready to take advantage of your opportunities.

“It feels good. I didn’t really contribute much all season so it feels good to come through in the semifinals.”

The Wildcats got within three on a long 3-pointer by Adam Bailey, then cut it to 47-45 on a floater by Kyle Robinson with 18.4 seconds left. But Packard hit two foul shots with 17 seconds left to secure Falmouth’s latest dramatic win.

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:
[email protected]
Twitter: MikeLowePPH