When a team scores 76 points, the first thought is it had a great offensive game.

But after top-ranked and unbeaten Greely High roared past eighth-seeded Kennebunk 76-31 in a Class A South boys’ basketball quarterfinal Friday night at the Portland Expo, all the Rangers stressed was defense.

“Total team effort,” said Coach Travis Seaver. “And I can’t talk enough about our defense. I mean, holding a varsity club to 12 points (in the first half) … The big thing for us is we wanted a big defensive effort.

“And we got it.”

The Rangers scored the first 14 points of the game. They forced 10 Kennebunk turnovers in the first quarter en route to a 22-5 lead and another six in the second. Greely led 44-12 at halftime.

“Defense is a big part of our game,” said guard Jordan Bagshaw. “I think the biggest reason why we win games is our defense. We do drills in practice, about half the practice, working on defense. We execute on defense and do a great job every game.”

Greely (19-0) will play fourth-ranked York, which defeated Westbrook, in the semifinals, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Cross Insurance Arena. The Rangers swept the Wildcats this season, 77-51 and 61-42.

Kennebunk (8-12) had lost to Greely 73-48 on Feb. 6.

Bagshaw and Matt McDevitt each scored 17 points for Greely. Ryan Twitchell added 13.

“We knew how good they were, we played them not too long ago,” said Rams Coach Barrett Belanger. “We went in with the mentality of taking away Bagshaw and McDevitt. And I think at the start the other guys (on Greely) did a nice job getting dribble-penetration on us.

“They were just tougher around the basket. Bigger, a little faster. That’s the difference between a lot of kids with experience and a young group getting here for the first time. I think that showed at the opening, that we were a little too tight at the start.”

The Rangers weren’t about to let Kennebunk get anything at the start. The Rams’ first seven possessions included two misses and six turnovers. Meanwhile, Greely got running, which is something the Rangers do well.

Baskets by McDevitt, Twitchell and Bagshaw were followed by a 3-pointer by Zachary Brown, and it was 9-0 just 2:19 into the game

After a Kennebunk timeout, Bagshaw hit a short jumper and – following Kennebunk’s sixth turnover – McDevitt swished a long 3-pointer to make it 14-0.

Cameron Lovejoy of Kennebunk (12 points) hit a 3-pointer to end the run but the Rangers were in high gear.

“When shots fall you can’t ask for anything more than that,” said Bagshaw, who had eight points in the first quarter.

Greely never slowed down. John Kane scored seven in the second quarter to help expand the lead.

Seaver was especially pleased that the Rangers never let up their intensity.

“This is the tournament and I’m trying to get these guys to understand anything can happen in the tournament,” he said. “I thought we did a nice job handling that atmosphere and that uncertainty.

“These guys are pretty focused and we’re ready to move on to the next one.”

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: MikeLowePPH

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