When Morse High School boys basketball seniors Ethan Winglass and Casey Watson were freshmen, the Shipbuilder hoops team was in disarray.

Over a two-year stretch when Winglass and Watson, along with classmate Jared Malcolm, were plying their craft at Bath Middle School, Morse suffered through a pair of tough seasons, going 3-13 in 2009/10 and 0-18 in 2010/11. As freshmen in 2011/12, the Shipbuilders were 4-14, but the signs of improvement were there.

After Saturday’s Western Maine Class B quarterfinal loss to Lincoln Academy, 53- 48, at the Portland Expo, the high school basketball careers of the Morse seniors have come to an end. But, as coach Sam Hayes put it, “we certainly wouldn’t be where we are today. As sophomores, they played a tremendous amount of minutes. Both started as juniors and this year. Ethan is an unbelievable player, and Casey Watson has given up a lot of his personal stats because I have asked him to defend the other team’s best player since I have been here from day one. He always did what was best for this team.”

During the regular season, the teams split in Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B play, and from the start the quarterfinal was close. Down 4-2 in the first quarter, a 6-0 Lincoln Academy ( 13- 6) run put the sixth-seeded Eagles into an 8-4 lead. Forward Cody Tozier was tough to stop, as the sophomore tallied nine first- quarter points, while teammate Sawyer Pinkham had six.

Still, Morse battled back, getting seven points from Winglass, including a buzzer- beating 3- pointer for a 15- 15 deadlock after a quarter.

After shooting 6-for-14 in the opening frame, Morse (13-6) went cold in the second. The Shipbuilders missed 11 of 12 shots from field, with only Keegan McDonough hitting a shot, a lay-up with 22 ticks left until halftime.

“This whole thing is on me, it is not even close and I failed those kids today,” said a disappointed Hayes, whose Shipbuilders trailed 26-23 at the intermission. “I needed to find ways for them to score easier baskets. We had plays called, and I played those six kids to death today. When things get tight, sometimes you are not fundamentally as good. But, that is up to me.”

Quick start

Morse seemed to find the secret to open the third quarter. Winglass tallied six quick points, giving the Shipbuilders a 31-30 lead. Lincoln Academy coach Ryan Ball called a timeout to settle his team.

“We have had trouble at the beginning of the third all season, and we practice it every day because we haven’t had good starts in the third,” said Ball.

“We wanted to get things going to the basket and make them come play defense against our better players,” said Hayes. “They were completely sagging in the paint, and when two or three guys are coming at you it is tough to score. We were able to open it up a bit.”

Both teams went cold for nearly four minutes as the score remained 31-30. That is until Pinkham found a spot he liked, drilling back-toback treys over a 20-second stretch for a 36-31 Eagles lead.

“That was a key point, and we work on shell every day, but those two threes were pivotal,” said Hayes.

Winglass closed his nine- point third quarter with another 3-pointer to get his team to 36- 34 through 24 minutes.

In the fourth, Morse had several opportunities to draw even, but each time the Eagles found a way to hold the Shipbuilders off. Winglass drove hard to the basket for two points with one minute remaining to get his team to 49-48. Brady Leeman made 1-of-2 at the free-throw line for a two-point Eagles lead, and a turnover on Morse’s next possession was followedbyaapairoffree throws by Pinkham, who led Lincoln Academy with 17 points and four assists as Lincoln Academy captured its first quarterfinal victory in more than a decade, according to Ball.

Winglass had a game-high 23 points and nine rebounds in the loss, while McDonough finished with 15 points and six boards. Watson had five points and dished out six assists.

Leeman chipped in 13 points and Tozier had 11 for the Eagles, who will face (either No. 2 Cape Elizabeth or No. 7 Greely) on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at the Cross Insurance Arena.

No. 6 Lincoln Academy 53, No. 3 Morse 48

Western Maine Class B Quarterfinal
Saturday, at the Portland Expo
Lincoln — 15 11 10 17 — 53
Morse — 15 8 11 14 — 48
Lincoln — Devin Scherer 3-0-6, Travis Creamer 2-0-6, Cody Tozier 5-1-11, Brady
Leeman 4-3-13, Sawyer Pinkham 5-4-17, Cole Leeman 0-0-0, Kobe Lincoln 0-0-0,
Tyler Stevens 0-0-0. Totals — 19-8-53.
Morse — Ayden Brillard 1-1-3, Ethan Winglass 9-3-23, Juwan Moore 1-0-2, Casey
Watson 1-2-5, Keegan McDonough 4-7-15, Emil Stockholm 0-0-0, Dakota Freeman
0-0-0, Matt Belanger 0-0-0. Totals — 16-13-48.
3-point field goals — (LA) Pinkham 3, Creamer 2, B. Leeman 2; (Mo) Winglass 2,
Records — Lincoln Academy 13-6, Morse 13-6.
Notes — Lincoln will face No. 2 Cape Elizabeth in the Western B semifinals on Thursday at Cross Insurance Arena in Portland, 7:30 p.m. Morse’s season is completed.

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