AUGUSTA — Third-seeded Madison stayed steady down the stretch Thursday night to pull out a 53-47 victory against seventh-ranked Waynflete in a Class C South boys’ basketball semifinal at the Augusta Civic Center.

Madison (17-3) will play top-ranked Winthrop (20-0) at 8:45 p.m. Saturday at Augusta. The last time the Bulldogs played for a regional title was in 1986.

The loss ended the Flyers’ reign as regional champions. The game marked their sixth consecutive appearance in the semifinal.

“It was a game of inches,” Waynflete Coach Rick Henry said. “The kids played really well. It was one of those games where you lose and you think you played pretty well. My kids can walk out of here with their heads held high because of what they accomplished.”

In the fourth quarter, the score was tied or the lead changed hands eight times before Sean Whalen completed a three-point play to send Madison into a 50-47 lead with 1:53 remaining. Whalen, who had 11 points, sank two free throws with six seconds left to nail it down.

“We just kept our composure, played tough and took care of the basketball down the stretch,” Madison Coach Jason Furbush said.

The Flyers (15-6) started off strong.

After Mitchell Jarvais of Madison opened the scoring by hitting a 3-pointer after 10 seconds, the Flyers ran off the next dozen points to take a 12-3 lead with two minutes left in the first quarter. But the Bulldogs finished the quarter with a 6-1 run to cut into Waynflete’s lead.

“We came out tight at the start of the game, kind of nervous and we settled for shots we don’t typically shoot,” Furbush said. “We settled for a lot of 3s and didn’t take much time off the clock.”

The Flyers nursed a three-point lead for most of the second quarter, but the Bulldogs finished the half with a rush, ending it with a 10-3 run. Jarvais, who had 16 points, sent them into a 32-28 lead when his fourth 3-pointer of the game beat the buzzer.

The Bulldogs maintained a five-point edge for most of the third quarter.

With 1:59 left, Asker Hussein of Waynflete converted an offensive rebound while colliding with Alex Morales of Madison, who was an assessed a technical foul after saying something to one of the officials following the play. Jack Meahl sank one free throw. On the resulting possession, Christian Brooks hit a shot from the right corner to make it 39-39.

“I tried to pick it up and be more of a leader in the fourth (quarter) because I would have felt very bad if (the technical foul) had been a deciding factor in the game,” Morales said. “I tried to be more of a leader just to try and make up for that.”

With 4:12 left to play, the Flyers took a 42-39 lead when Hussein, who scored 11 points, drove left for a layup and sank a free throw.

Morales, who had a game-high 18 points, hit a 3-pointer and put in a fast-break layup to send the Bulldogs into a 44-42 lead with 2:50 left.

Waynflete moved into a 45-44 lead when Brooks, who scored a team-high 13 points, converted a three-point play with 2:37 left.

Justyn Stinson, a sophomore reserve, sank a 3-point shot from the left to propel Madison into a 47-45 lead with 2:10 left.

Meahl scored a fast-break layup to tie it with 1:56 left, but the rest of the game belonged to the Bulldogs.

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