Falmouth senior Thomas Coyne, left, junior Colin Coyne and junior Ben Simonds celebrate at the conclusion of the Yachtsmen’s 69-66 win over defending Class B champion Cape Elizabeth in an early season thriller Tuesday night.

Mike Strout photos.

More photos below.


Falmouth 69 Cape Elizabeth 66

CE- 18 13 17 18- 66
F-  14 20 16 19- 69

CE- Hewitt 10-1-24, Bowe 7-0-19, Donnelly 6-2-16, Bottomley 2-0-6, Guerette 0-1-1

F- T. Coyne 13-2-35, C. Coyne 3-6-14, J. Bryant 2-2-7, S. Bryant 2-1-5, Skop 2-0-4, Simonds 1-0-2, Wuhlbrecht 1-0-2

CE (12) Bowe 5, Hewitt 3, Bottomley, Donnelly 2
F (10) T. Coyne 7, C. Coyne 2, J. Bryant 1

FALMOUTH—Early season basketball is often marked by sluggish play and poor shooting.

That was far from the case Tuesday evening at Falmouth High School.

Defending Class B champion Cape Elizabeth, coming off a lopsided loss in its opener, very much came to play this time, grabbing an early lead behind the sharpshooting of sophomore Finn Bowe, but even Bowe and his teammates were no match for Yachtsmen senior standout Thomas Coyne.

Coyne, who missed virtually his whole junior injury with a foot injury, erupted for 22 points to give Falmouth a slim 34-31 lead at halftime.

The second half was nip and tuck throughout, but Coyne and his brother, junior Colin Coyne, made enough plays to provide the difference.

The Yachtsmen shot to a seven-point lead midway through the third period, but Capers junior Quinn Hewitt sparked a 10-3 run to tie the score.

Falmouth took a 50-48 lead to the final stanza and again went up by seven, 55-48, behind a Thomas Coyne 3, but again, Cape Elizabeth responded and when Bowe made his fifth 3-pointer with 3:56 remaining, the game was deadlocked again, 60-60.

Colin Coyne then made perhaps the biggest shot of the night, a 3-pointer with 3:03 to go to put the Yachtsmen ahead to stay and down the stretch, he sank six straight free throws to give the hosts just enough breathing room to go on to a stirring 69-66 victory.

Thomas Coyne led all players with 35 points and Colin Coyne added 14 as Falmouth improved to 2-0 and dropped the Capers, who got 24 points from Hewitt and 19 from Bowe, to 0-2 in the process.

“It’s always a fun game with Cape Elizabeth,” said Yachtsmen coach Dave Halligan. “It was two good 3-point shooting teams going at it. We hoped they’d miss and they hoped we’d miss. They had players step up and so did we.”

Two powers

Cape Elizabeth and Falmouth meet twice annually and both teams almost always make deep playoff runs. A year ago, the Capers and Yachtsmen were among the best in the state and each beat the other at home, Cape Elizabeth by a 50-45 margin which snapped a seven-game skid in the rivalry, and Falmouth, 69-62 (see sidebar, below, for recent rivalry history). 

This winter, both teams are in the newly established Class A South.

Cape Elizabeth lost at Greely in its opener, 73-47, while Falmouth rolled at Kennebunk, 75-52, in its first game. 

Tuesday, it was bombs away throughout as the Yachtsmen had just enough to prevail.

Unlike Friday, when the Capers went meekly in Cumberland, they carried play much of the first half, leading, 18-14, after one period and holding that advantage into the second period, when Thomas Coyne helped Falmouth go on top.

Late in the half, leading, 29-27, the Yachtsmen got a layup from Coyne, but Cape Elizabeth senior Marcus Donnelly countered with a leaner off the glass. Coyne then buried a 3, but Hewitt drove for a layup to make it 34-31 Falmouth at halftime.

In the first half, Coyne had 22 points (10 in the first quarter and a dozen more in the second), while the Capers were led by 12 points from Bowe (all on 3-pointers), nine from Hewitt and seven from Donnelly.

The pace remained frenetic and those on hand continued to be enthralled throughout the palpitating second half.

Donnelly started it with a 3 to tie the score and Bowe added a leaner for a 36-34 Cape Elizabeth lead.

That would prove to be the Capers’ final advantage.

After Falmouth senior Sam Skop tied the score with a jumper, Coyne put the hosts back on top with a leaner. A driving Hewitt layup tied the game, 38-38, but Coyne hit a 3, then was fouled on a drive and made both free throws. Coyne then set up junior Ben Simonds for a layup with 4:33 to go in the third and the Yachtsmen were up, 45-38.

Out of a timeout, Cape Elizabeth responded, as Hewitt somehow got a running left-handed floater to find the mark, Hewitt made a layup after a nice spin move and after a free throw from senior Justin Guerette was answered by a 3 from Falmouth sophomore Jack Bryant, the Capers drew even, as Bowe scored on a leaner and Hewitt drove for a layup, was fouled and added the free throw for the old-fashioned three-point play, making it 48-48.

Just inside the final minute, Bryant made two free throws and the Yachtsmen took a 50-48 advantage to the exciting fourth quarter.

Just 46 seconds in, Coyne set up senior Sean Bryant for a layup. Coyne then canned another 3 for a 55-48 lead with 6:47 to go.

Again, Cape Elizabeth refused to fold, as Hewitt knocked down a 3. After a Skop layup, Hewitt made another 3 to cut the deficit to 57-54 with 5:16 remaining.

After Coyne buried a long 3, senior James Bottomley and Bowe both made 3s to tie the score, 60-60, with 3:56 left.

The Capers couldn’t quite get over the top, however, and 53 seconds later, Colin Coyne made his biggest shot of the game, sinking a 3-pointer to put Falmouth ahead to stay.

Donnelly made it 63-62 thanks to two free throws with 1:09 remaining and when Bowe subsequently stole the ball, Cape Elizabeth was primed to go on top, but as Bowe rose for a 3, Thomas Coyne stole the ball and that set the stage for Colin Coyne to be fouled and go to the line for a one-and-one with just 28.3 seconds to go.

Coyne confidently stepped to the line, made the front end, then sank the second shot as well to restore a three-point lead.

“I didn’t play too well, so the least I could do was knock down those free throws,” Coyne said. “I was confident. I’ve taken a million free throws in my life. It’s the same routine, bend my knees and follow through.”

Bowe tried to tie the score with a 3, but he was off balance and it was off target. The Yachtsmen got the rebound, Colin Coyne was fouled again and with 15.9 seconds remaining, he made two more free throws for a 67-62 advantage.

With 9.2 seconds to go, Donnelly hit a bank shot to cut the deficit to three and keep hope alive, but after taking the inbounds pass, Colin Coyne was again fouled and one final time, he sank both free throws to essentially ice it.

“(Colin) was as cool as a cucumber going to the line there,” Halligan said.

As time wound down, Donnelly hit a jumper, but that was merely cosmetic and Falmouth ran out the clock on its 69-66 victory.

“I think it’s a good sign when Cape shoots that well and we can still get a win,” Thomas Coyne said. “We knew they were better than what they showed against Greely. They didn’t want to start 0-2 and we knew they’d be ready to go. We didn’t take it lightly. That’s a big win. It will be a lot of Heal Points for us. I think they’re one of the better teams we’ll face. It’s huge knowing we can play with one of the best teams in the conference.”

“It was a good team effort tonight,” Halligan said. “We’re still experimenting this time of the season to see what combinations work.”

Thomas Coyne was the big story, making seven 3-pointers, six two-point shots and a pair of free throws for a game-high 35 points.

“It’s good to be back,” Coyne said. “I think I’m back to where I was my sophomore year.”

“It’s fun to watch him,” Halligan said. “I’d buy a ticket to watch him.”

Colin Coyne finished 14 points and was the difference-maker down the stretch.

“Thomas takes a lot of pressure off me,” Coyne said. “He handles the ball as well as me. We help each other out. It’s hard for other teams to guard us because we can just change.”

“You can’t put a price on Colin’s experience,” Halligan said. “It was difficult last year, but he gained that experience.”

Jack Bryant added seven points, Sean Bryant had five, Skop finished with four and Simonds and Wuhlbrecht both had two.

Cape Elizabeth was led by Hewitt, who had 24 points.

“Quinn did a nice job,” said Capers coach Jim Ray. “He struggled through the preseason. Hopefully this is good for his confidence.”

Bowe had 19 points, including five of the Capers’ dozen 3s, Donnelly added 16, Bottomley finished with six and Guerette had one.

“We got stops at the end to get the ball back and have a chance, but we just couldn’t capitalize,” lamented Ray. “That’s how it goes sometimes. They were tough. Friday, we just didn’t show poise. It got away from us. This was more like it. It’s tough to start the season with rivalry games. You can not play your best against other teams and still get by, but not against your rivals.”

New opponents

As part of this year’s reclassification, both teams will meet some new foes, starting this weekend.

Cape Elizabeth hopes to get in the win column Friday when its welcomes Morse in the home opener. The Capers host Fryeburg Academy Tuesday.

“We get to go home,” Ray said. “We’ll go out and play our game and hope what we do is good enough.”

Falmouth looks to go 3-0 when Biddeford pays a visit Friday. The Yachtsmen host York Tuesday.

“We have to defend a lot better,” Colin Coyne said. “We can’t let teams have easy 3s and layups.”

“We’re a work in progress,” Halligan said. “This was a good test. We have a great schedule, some good games down the road. When we play Cape and Greely and Yarmouth and York and Kennebunk, you know what you’re going to see. It’s nice to see some fresh faces. We may lose a couple games, but it will make us better in the long run.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Falmouth senior Sean Bryant and Cape Elizabeth junior Quinn Hewitt battle for a rebound.

Cape Elizabeth junior Quinn Hewitt drives to the basket on Falmouth senior Thomas Coyne. Hewitt led the Capers with 24 points, but that was no match for Coyne’s game-high 35.

Cape Elizabeth sophomore Finn Bowe knocks down one of his five 3-pointers.

Cape Elizabeth senior Marcus Donnelly drives on Falmouth sophomore Jack Bryant.

Simply put, leave Falmouth senior Thomas Coyne open and you will pay. Coyne knocks down a 3-pointer as part of his 35-point tour de force in Tuesday night’s win.

Falmouth junior Colin Coyne handles the ball as Cape Elizabeth senior James Bottomley defends.

Recent Falmouth-Cape Elizabeth results

@ Cape Elizabeth 50 Falmouth 45
@ Falmouth 69 Cape Elizabeth 62

@ Falmouth 71 Cape Elizabeth 49
Falmouth 62 @ Cape Elizabeth 50

Falmouth 72 @ Cape Elizabeth 49
@ Falmouth 53 Cape Elizabeth 41

@ Falmouth 60 Cape Elizabeth 37
Falmouth 52 @ Cape Elizabeth 37

Cape Elizabeth 55 @ Falmouth 48
@ Cape Elizabeth 53 Falmouth 44

Falmouth 62 @ Cape Elizabeth 55
Cape Elizabeth 48 @ Falmouth 45
Western B Final
Falmouth 53 Cape Elizabeth 40

Falmouth 55 @ Cape Elizabeth 53
Cape Elizabeth 73 @ Falmouth 70
Western B Final
Cape Elizabeth 58 Falmouth 48

Cape Elizabeth 58 @ Falmouth 57
@ Cape Elizabeth 53 Falmouth 37

Falmouth 57 @ Cape Elizabeth 48
Cape Elizabeth 52 @ Falmouth 44

@ Falmouth 58 Cape Elizabeth 47
@ Cape Elizabeth 53 Falmouth 46
Western B semifinals
Falmouth 60 Cape Elizabeth 45

Cape Elizabeth 65 @ Falmouth 64
Falmouth 44 @ Cape Elizabeth 34

Falmouth 47 @ Cape Elizabeth 38
@ Falmouth 65 Cape Elizabeth 45
Western B quarterfinals
Cape Elizabeth 44 Falmouth 42

@ Falmouth 67 Cape Elizabeth 58

@ Cape Elizabeth 65 Falmouth 41

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