At this time of year, teams are preaching defense more than anything else.

And so it was Saturday night with Falmouth High’s boys’ basketball team. The second-seeded Yachtsmen struggled offensively in their Class A South quarterfinal against seventh-seeded Biddeford, but they more than made up for it with their defense.

Falmouth built a 22-point lead in the third quarter and held off a Biddeford charge for a 48-34 victory to advance to the regional semifinals.

“We live on our defense,” said Dave Halligan, Falmouth’s veteran coach. “If our offense isn’t working, and it wasn’t tonight, then our defense will keep us in the game and give us a chance to be successful. That’s all you can ask.”

Falmouth (14-5) will play Cape Elizabeth in the regional semifinal at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Cross Insurance Arena. The teams split in the regular season, with the Capers winning 40-37 on Dec. 29 and Falmouth winning 60-44 on Feb. 8. A year ago, Falmouth eliminated Cape in the semifinals on its way to a state championship.

Biddeford finished 8-11.

The Yachtsmen only forced eight turnovers, but their perimeter defense really bothered Biddeford’s 3-point shooters. The Tigers hit just 5 of 21 3-point attempts (24 percent) and converted only 11 of 41 shots overall (27 percent).

“That’s a pretty good shooting team,” said Falmouth senior Sean Walsh, who scored 13 points and had 12 rebounds. “You’ve got to feel good about that.”

Biddeford Coach Justin Tardif knew his team would have to shoot well to have a chance.

“If you’re going to pull the upset, you’re going to have to hit some 3s to win,” said Tardif. “That was the difference. Sometimes the game of basketball is really simple. It’s about making shots, and we were not making them.”

Falmouth never trailed and led 11-5 after one quarter and 25-11 at the half. The Yachtsmen appeared to be pulling away in the third when they scored the first eight points.

When Walsh scored down low late in the quarter after a lob pass from Mike Simonds, Falmouth led 38-17.

That’s when Biddeford started hitting some shots. Twice in the fourth quarter, the Tigers pulled within 10, the final time at 42-32 on a basket by Carter Edgarton. But Falmouth regrouped, slowed the pace and scored the next six points to secure the win.

Jack Bryant led Falmouth with 14 points, along with eight rebounds, while Colin Coyne had 11 points. Biddeford’s Kyle Norton led all scorers with 19 points, hitting five 3-pointers.

While disappointed about the loss, Tardif said his team had come a long way.

“They hung in there,” he said. “We forced them to have to finish out the game. I’m proud of this senior group. They were 2-52 the last three years. And it was really nice to see them play on a playoff court.”

For Falmouth, Halligan said there is work to be done.

“I’m not pleased (with how his team played),” said Halligan. “I’m pleased that we won. There are some things that we need to take care of and we’ll do that in practice.”


OCEANSIDE 53, NOKOMIS 49: Third-seeded Oceanside (16-3) overcame a poor first quarter and held on in the closing minutes to beat No. 6 Nokomis (11-8) in a Class A North quarterfinal at the Augusta Civic Center.

Nokomis couldn’t get a good look at the basket on two late possessions with a chance for a go-ahead bucket, and Oceanside’s Cooper Wirkala made a pair of free throws with less than three seconds remaining.

Michael Norton Jr. scored 27 points for Oceanside, the reigning regional champion.

Josh Smestad led Nokomis with 22 points, while Zach Hartsgrove added 17.

Nokomis took command early, racing out to an 18-8 first-quarter advantage, but led by a scoring surge from Norton, the Mariners fought back. Oceanside was up 24-22 at halftime, and then 40-35 after a fast-paced third quarter.

A.R. GOULD 76, TEMPLE 63: Tyrese Collins scored 36 points to lead second-seeded A.R. Gould to a quarterfinal win over No. 7 Temple at the Augusta Civic Center.

Gould (16-3) faces No. 3 Valley, a winner over Vinalhaven earlier in the day, on Wednesday morning in the regional semifinals.

Brad Smith scored 36 points for the Bereans (8-11), but Temple’s first trip to the Class D tournament since returning to MPA-sanctioned play two years again came to a quick end.

A high-scoring first half ended with a Collins 3-pointer at the buzzer, sending Gould into the break with a 41-37 lead. After holding Temple to just nine third-quarter points, the Bears pulled away in the final period with a 22 points over the last eight minutes.

Gage Barton added 19 points for A.R. Gould, while Joe Xu scored 11 for Temple.

SPRUCE MOUNTAIN 88, LISBON 66: Mason Shink set a Class B South tournament record with eight 3-pointers and finished with 38 points, and the second-seeded Phoenix (16-3) rolled past the No. 7 Greyhounds (9-10) in a quarterfinal at the Portland Expo.

Shink had 25 points and seven 3-pointers by halftime, matching the previous regional record. He went to the bench for good early in the fourth quarter with Spruce Mountain holding an insurmountable lead.

Noah Preble added 22 points and Austin Darling scored 14 for the Phoenix, who will face No. 3 Wells in the semifinals Thursday at Cross Insurance Arena.

Tyrese Joseph paced Lisbon with 20 points.


GREELY 4, YARMOUTH 2: Jake McDonald and Andrew Moore each had a goal and an assist as the Rangers (10-5) jumped out to a 4-0 lead after two periods in a win over the Clippers (7-9-1) at Travis Roy Arena.

Ryan Megathlin and Matthew Kramlich also scored and Ryan Sullivan recorded two assists for Greely.

Cooper May and Will Jacobs each scored a third-period goal for Yarmouth.

WINDHAM/WESTBROOK 5, NOBLE/WELLS 2: Five players scored for Windham/Westbrook (5-11) in a win over the Knights (3-14) at USM Arena.

Windham took a 3-0 lead on goals by Cam Morrison in the first period and Derek Corbett and Tommy Lekousi in the second period. Keegan Pock and Dylan Francoeur also scored for the Eagles.

Nate DeWolf and Evan Whitten scored a goal apiece for Noble.

YORK 8, GORHAM 1: Thomas Carr recorded two goals and an assist for the Wildcats (13-2) in a win over the Rams (4-12-1) at USM Arena.

Julius Lundgren added a goal and two assists for York, which also got goals from Andrew Bertolini, Jacob Martin, Dalton McCann, Aidan Drew and Spencer Pickett.

FALMOUTH 8, THORNTON ACADEMY 0: Brendan Hickey notched two goals and two assists for the Yachtsmen (13-3-1) in a win over the Trojans (3-13) at Family Ice Center.

Robbie Armitage also scored twice, and Alex Grade had three assists. Jacob Skillin-Lanou, Theo Hembre, Lou Mainella, Garett Tracy contributed a goal apiece.