When the game is on the line, Wells boys’ basketball coach Troy Brown knows which player he can count on most.

With his team down by a point and 17 seconds left in a Class B South semifinal Thursday night against Spruce Mountain, Brown called a timeout and set up a play for Owen Berry.

“(Owen) is a gamer,” Brown said. “I thought we’d have a better opportunity of getting him to the rim if we weaved one time, and he could try to turn the corner. But he didn’t even turn – he just took it.”

Berry, a senior forward, hit a jumper in traffic with 8.8 seconds left, giving No. 3 Wells a 53-52 win over the second-seeded Phoenix at Cross Insurance Arena.

The victory sends the Warriors (15-5) to their first regional final since 1984, when Brown played on a team that won back-to-back state championships. Wells will play top-seeded Yarmouth on Saturday.

“Being a senior, I didn’t want this to be the last game,” said Berry, who scored 15 points. “I wanted the ball.”

Spruce Mountain, which defeated Wells 59-51 during the regular season, ended its season at 16-5. The Phoenix made 11 3-pointers and set a tournament record for most 3s in two straight games with 23. The previous record of 21 was set by Mountain Valley in 1994.

“We’ve got some great shooters – I don’t put the shackles on them,” Spruce Mountain Coach Scott Bessey said. He smiled before adding, “I would have liked one more.”

Caulin Parker set the tone early. The 6-foot-2 senior forward opened the game with a 3-pointer and hit another a minute later to give the Phoenix a quick 6-2 lead. Parker finished with 14 points, including four 3s.

“Boy they can shoot – holy smokes,” Brown said. “We came in tonight knowing we had to defend the 3.”

Wells answered with 3-pointers by Tyler Dewey and Berry and took an 11-10 lead on a three-point play by Berry. Austin Darling scored four straight points for the Phoenix, but a 3-pointer by Berry and a Matt Sherburne jumper put the Warriors ahead 16-14 after one quarter.

Spruce Mountain outscored Wells 20-7 in the second quarter, getting seven points from Darling to grab a 34-23 lead.

Darling was held scoreless in the second half, however.

“He’s quick, just very good. We were trying to keep him in front,” Berry said. “Our defense was starting to get stops..”

Tyler Dewey gave the Warriors the spark they needed with three 3-pointers in the first three minutes of the second half. The senior guard finished with 12 points – all from 3s.

“I don’t think they were ready for him,” Brown said. “That gave the kids whatever it took to say ‘Hey, we’re definitely not done.'”

Andrew Shaw connected on three 3-pointers in the third quarter to keep Spruce Mountain ahead, 47-40. But the Warriors opened the final quarter with seven straight points to tie the score. After a 3-pointer by Parker, Wells tied it again with a free throw by Cousins and a layup by Deandre Woods.

Dempsey then gave Wells a 51-50 lead with a free throw, before a Parker layup with 25.7 seconds left put Spruce Mountain back in front.

Taylor Vortherms can be contacted at 791-6417 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: TaylorVortherms

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