Cape Elizabeth junior standout Finn Bowe is congratulated by his teammates after hitting a 3-pointer at the horn to beat rival Falmouth, 40-37, in a playoff rematch Thursday night.

Mike Strout photos.

More photos below.


Cape Elizabeth 40 Falmouth 37

F- 12 9 8 8- 37
CE- 5 17 7 11- 40

F- Walsh 8-3-22, Coyne 3-0-8, Bryant 2-0-4, Simonds 1-0-3

CE- Bowe 4-2-14, Hewitt 3-2-9, Peterson 3-0-6, Allen 2-0-4, Spicer 2-0-4, Hartel 1-0-3

F (6) Walsh 3, Coyne 2, Simonds 1
CE (6) Bowe 4, Hartel, Hewitt 1

F- 13
CE- 10

F: 3-4
CE: 4-5

PORTLAND—Finn Bowe doesn’t miss twice.

Bowe, Cape Elizabeth’s junior sharpshooter, couldn’t convert a potential game-tying 3-pointer at the end of last year’s loss to Falmouth in the Class A South semifinals.

Thursday evening at the Portland Exposition Building, Bowe got another chance with the game on the line and this time, he buried it.

The first of two guaranteed and three possible meetings between the ancient rivals served as the punctuation mark of the Red Claws Christmas Showcase tournament and what a cherry on the sundae it was.

The undefeated Yachtsmen, the defending Class A champions, appeared primed for a runaway victory when they took a 12-5 lead after one period and extended it to 19-8 on a 3-pointer from senior Sean Walsh midway through the second.

The proud Capers then came to life, sparked by senior heart-and-soul Quinn Hewitt, and as time expired in the first half, Hewitt’s 3-pointer capped a 14-2 run and put Cape Elizabeth on top, 22-21.

The second half would be taut throughout as the teams were tied, 29-29, heading for the final quarter.

There, the Capers went up six, when Bowe set up senior Jacob Allen for a layup with 5:28 to play, but the defending champion Yachtsmen didn’t buckle and when Walsh drained a 3-ball from the corner with 15.7 seconds showing, the contest was deadlocked, 37-37.

Not for long.

To no one’s surprise, Cape Elizabeth got the ball to Bowe and while he was well defended, he still managed to get a 3-point shot off just before the horn and it found nothing but net, giving the Capers a dramatic 40-37 victory.

Bowe led Cape Elizabeth with 14 points as the Capers improved to 3-2 and handed Falmouth, which got 22 points from Walsh, its first loss in six games this winter in the process.

“It was a tough game,” Bowe said. “All games against Falmouth have come down to the wire. All the ones last year went the wrong way, so it was nice to get this one. It’s a good win against a great team. This helps our momentum and confidence a lot. We don’t get to play teams as good as Falmouth or Greely all the time, so to get a win is important.”

Big floor barometer

The last time the rivals met, it was in Portland at the erstwhile Cumberland County Civic Center and Falmouth held on for a 52-49 victory in the Class A South semifinals en route to a state title.

Thursday’s game was originally scheduled for Cape Elizabeth, but the Capers’ gym floor had to be replaced on the eve of the season and the contest was moved to the big stage of the Expo.

This winter, while the Yachtsmen have gotten off to a strong start, Cape Elizabeth has been up and down.

The Capers started with a 62-44 loss at Greely. After prevailing at Morse (62-22), Cape Elizabeth lost at home to Biddeford (59-36) and won at Westbrook, 64-55.

The Yachtsmen beat their first four foes: visiting Kennebunk (69-46), host Biddeford (60-46), visiting Brunswick in a regional final rematch (54-36) and host Mt. Ararat (50-33), then Tuesday, at the Expo, pulled away in the fourth quarter to down Westbrook, 53-42.

Thursday, Cape Elizabeth hoped to end a four-game skid at the hands of Falmouth (see sidebar, below, for recent results) and did so in most dramatic fashion.

Falmouth got off to a fast start, as senior Ben Simonds took a pass from Coyne and drained a 3. After senior Marshall Peterson scored on a putback for the Capers, Coyne set up Walsh for a layup. Coyne then passed to junior Jack Bryant for a layup and a 7-2 lead.

After Bowe hit a 3 for Cape Elizabeth, Walsh made two free throws and Walsh drained a 3 for a 12-5 advantage after one quarter.

In the first quarter, Walsh had seven points and Coyne added four assists.

The Yachtsmen appeared primed to run away and hide in the second period before the Capers closed on a surge.

Walsh started the scoring with a jumper, but Bowe countered with a 3. Walsh then made a jump shot and Walsh buried a 3 with 4:21 to go in the half for a seemingly safe 19-8 advantage, but Cape Elizabeth embarked on a 14-2 run to turn things completely around.

Senior Nat Spicer, an unlikely source, got the rally started with a baseline jumper and a driving layup. Hewitt was then fouled on a drive and made both free throws and with 2:26 left, Bowe went behind the back with the dribble and was fouled before making both shots to cut the deficit to 19-16.

Coyne set up Walsh for a layup to momentarily stem the run, but Bowe buried a 3 and after the Capers held for the last shot, sophomore Andrew Hartel passed to Hewitt, whose 3-pointer was true just before the horn and suddenly, Cape Elizabeth held a 22-21 lead.

“We started a little slow, but we worked on defense and found our rhythm and stayed together as a team,” said Hewitt. “We have a young team and playing at the Expo is a different environment. I’ve been here before and just try to be a leader.”

“Our whole team stayed composed,” Bowe said. “We worked basket by basket and we played good defense.”

“The guys did a nice job of getting a basket at a time in the first half because the offense wasn’t smooth,” added longtime Capers coach Jim Ray. “It was two or three passes and a shot. We need to be more patient and get better shots. When the ball leaves Finn’s hands when he’s asked to (play point guard), it’s a good idea for him to get another touch.”

Walsh led all scorers in the half with 16 points, but Bowe’s 11 and nine Falmouth turnovers helped the Capers turn things around.

There was little separation in the third quarter.

It took all of 26 seconds for Coyne to score his first points, on a 3, for the lead.

After Hewitt set up Peterson for a layup to tie it, Bryant fed Walsh for a layup with 5:47 to go. He was fouled on the play and added the free throw for the old-fashioned three-point play and Falmouth was back on top.

Back came Cape Elizabeth, as Peterson got an offensive rebound and banked it home, then with 1:11 to go, an improbable shooter, Hartel, buried a 3 to give the Capers the lead.

With 50.1 seconds left, Coyne drove the lane and got a scoop shot to rattle home and that sent the contest to the final stanza deadlocked, 29-29.

Cape Elizabeth started the fourth period fast, as Hewitt made a layup after a steal, senior Jacob Allen scored on a putback and Allen took a fastbreak pass from Bowe and finished for a six-point lead, but Coyne turned momentum back with a clutch 3, cutting the deficit to 35-32 with 5:11 left.

Again, Hewitt came up huge with a layup after a steal, but Bryant made a jumper in the lane that rolled around and around and around and in, making it 37-34 with 2:45 remaining.

Walsh had a look to tie it with 1:36 to go, but his shot was off target.

After Falmouth used several fouls to force the Capers to the line for a one-and-one situation, Hartel missed and Bryant got the rebound.

The Yachtsmen then worked the ball around until Simonds set up Walsh in the corner for a perfectly stroked 3-pointer and with 15.7 seconds to go, the game was deadlocked, 37-37.

That set the stage for Bowe and did he ever embrace the moment.

Hewitt got him the ball in the front court and he was immediately hounded by a pair of defenders. Bowe dribbled to the 3-point line and just after the clock ticked under a second, he rose in traffic and shot.

The ball looked good off Bowe’s hand and as the horn sounded, it tickled the twine.

“I tried to get a pick-and-roll,” Bowe said. “I was going to get rid of the ball if I got double-teamed, but I bounced off it and stepped back and shot it. It felt good off my hand. It took a second to set in.”

“I was very confident in him,” Hewitt said. “Finn’s been doing this since his freshman year.”

“We wanted the ball in (Finn’s) hands,” Ray said. “I said, ‘If they do this, we’ll do that, or if they do that, we’ll do this,’ but Finn said, ‘Coach, can we run baseline?’ I said, ‘OK,’ and it was a pretty good call. I’d like to have Finn as an assistant coach. It looked good off his hand. Great shot.”

“It was a great play made by a great basketball player,” said longtime Falmouth coach Dave Halligan. “He stepped up and took the shot. You have to give him credit to having the courage with the game on the line to want to take it. He made a great play.”

The Capers then celebrated their 40-37 victory.

“(Falmouth’s) an amazing team,” said Hewitt. “We had to pull together and hit some big shots at the end to pull out a good victory against a good team. These are the best types of games. These are the ones we want to play in, against the better teams and better players.”

Bowe’s final three points gave him a team-high 14.

Hewitt finished with nine points, five rebounds, four assists and a pair of steals. He also did the majority of the defensive work on Coyne, holding him to eight points.

“Colin’s an amazing shooter,” Hewitt said. “He can shoot from halfcourt if he wants to. I needed help from Hartel and Marshall on screens. We all worked together.”

“Quinn always gets after it on defense,” Bowe said. “He’s a senior captain so he helps us out as a leader. He had to show up defensively on Coyne and he did.”

“Quinn didn’t come out of the game,” Ray added. “We talk about leadership and how far he’s come. He’s come up through since his freshman year. Coyne is so hard to handle. He’s so good. It’s hard work to play a whole game against a talent like that. Quinn’s a pretty tough kid.”

Peterson added six points (to go with five rebounds and a blocked shot), Allen and Spicer (four boards) had four apiece and Hartel finished with three (to go with six rebounds).

Cape Elizabeth enjoyed a 25-17 rebounding advantage, made 4 of 5 free throws and only turned the ball over 10 times.

Falmouth got more than half its points from Walsh, who wound up with 22.

“Sean was huge for us,” Halligan said. “He’s a senior and he stepped up. We need a couple other kids to step up.”

“Walsh is a great shooter,” Bowe said. “He’s tall. It’s tough to block his shots. He’s emerged as one of the best players in the conference. He’s tough to stop.”

Coyne was limited to eight points, but did register five assists and three steals.

Bryant had four points (and four rebounds) and Simonds added three.

The Yachtsmen made 3 of 4 free throws and turned the ball over 13 times.

“It was a typical Falmouth-Cape game,” Halligan said. “We just let the game get away from us. We were up and we made some uncharacteristic mistakes to keep them in the game and they never quit. Neither did we. This gave us familiarity with the (Expo) court. In the big picture, it’s just one game out of 18. We’ll be a product of all our experiences. We don’t like losing, but we’ll move on.”

Eye on the prize

Falmouth doesn’t have long to lick its wounds, as it visits York in a makeup game Saturday, has a huge test looming Tuesday when undefeated Greely pays a visit, then hosts defending Class B champion Lake Region Jan. 6.

“The guys aren’t happy,” Halligan said. “They knew there were mistakes we shouldn’t have made. The veterans understand. Losing’s not a bad thing if we don’t make the same mistakes again.”

Cape Elizabeth hopes to build on its momentum Tuesday when it goes to Fryeburg Academy. The Capers are back home Jan. 6 versus Marshwood.

“We’ve had a tough start to the season,” Hewitt said. “It’s good to get this win against a quality team. We have to be more patient on offense. We have to work together on defense. We’re a young team, but we’ll keep getting better.”

“Coach has helped us stay humble and hungry,” Bowe said. “We knew we could get better and we have to keep getting better.”

“It’ll be nice for us to get back in a regular routine once we get through the holiday break,” Ray added. “I think the kids are probably a lot more resilient than the coaching staff. It’s been very tiring, but this is huge from a confidence standpoint. There are major holes in what we’ve got and we’re trying to figure out how to plug those holes. The kids made good progress against Westbrook and to play well and tough in this game was big. It was a tough game on a tournament floor. Now, we’ll get ready to go next week.”

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

Falmouth senior Sean Walsh goes up for a 3-pointer as Cape Elizabeth sophomore Andrew Hartel, left, and senior Jacob Allen defend. Walsh had a game-high 22 points.

Falmouth senior Colin Coyne drives past Cape Elizabeth senior Marshall Peterson.

Cape Elizabeth senior Nat Spicer goes up for a layup as Falmouth senior Sean Walsh defends.

Falmouth junior Jack Bryant tries to keep up with Cape Elizabeth junior Finn Bowe.

Cape Elizabeth senior Marshall Peterson defends Falmouth junior Nikko DePatsy.

Recent Cape Elizabeth-Falmouth results

@ Falmouth 69 Cape Elizabeth 66
Falmouth 44 @ Cape Elizabeth 42
Class A South semifinal
Falmouth 52 Cape Elizabeth 49 

@ 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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