Waynflete’s boys’ basketball team celebrates after the final horn of Thursday’s 53-52 win at Cape Elizabeth.

More photos below.


Waynflete 53 Cape Elizabeth 52

W- 13 15 13 12- 53
CE- 16 13 13 10- 52

W- A. Saade 4-3-13, Scott 5-0-12, Houssein 4-0-8, Dahia 3-0-6, Johnson 2-2-6, C. Saade 2-0-4, Campbell 1-0-2, Levy 1-0-2

CE- Hartel 8-4-20, Mullen 5-0-12, Carpenter 3-2-10, Conley 3-0-7, Smith 1-0-3

W (4) A. Saade, Scott 2
CE (6) Carpenter, Mullen 2, Conley, Smith 1

W- 12 
CE- 13

Free throws
W: 5-10
CE: 6-14

CAPE ELIZABETH—Not much separated the Cape Elizabeth and Waynflete boys’ basketball teams Thursday evening

In fact, in a game with five ties and 17 lead changes, it was no surprise that the ultimate margin of victory was a single point.

What was surprising is what occurred in the final minute and how the highly-touted visiting Flyers managed to earn a Heal Points-rich and confidence-building victory.

It was evident from the get-go that the contest would be close, as the Capers led, 16-13, after one period, Waynflete batted back within one, 29-28, at halftime, and when Flyers senior Finn Scott drained a desperation 3 at the third period horn, the margin remained one point, 42-41, in favor of the hosts.

When Cape Elizabeth senior Tanner Carpenter hit a clutch 3-pointer with 2:48 left in regulation, the Capers had a 50-47 lead and after a putback from Flyers junior Solomon Levy cut the deficit to one, Carpenter made two free throws with 1:16 to go to restore the three-point lead.

Waynflete then saved its best for last, as senior Alex Saade made a free throw with 1:04 remaining and after a pair of missed Cape Elizabeth foul shots, Saade hit a contested 3 with 18.7 seconds on the clock to put the Flyers ahead for good.

Carpenter had a chance to tie it or put the Capers on top when he went to the free throw line with 2.7 seconds left, but he couldn’t convert and Waynflete eked out a 53-52 victory.

Saade led the Flyers with 13 points and Scott added 12 as Waynflete improved to 3-0 on the young season, beat Cape Elizabeth for the first time in seven years and in the process, dropped the Capers to 2-3. 

“This says we’re on our way to being battle-tested, but by no means are we finished and we’re ready to keep working and remember this feeling,” Saade said.

Early barometer

Cape Elizabeth, a regional finalist last season, opened with losses at two-time defending Class A champion Greely (74-62) and Fryeburg Academy (41-39). After a 74-29 home win over Old Orchard Beach, the Capers evened their record Tuesday by edging host Gray-New Gloucester, 62-55.

Waynflete, meanwhile, earned some early confidence by downing visiting Wells, the reigning Class B South champion, 64-52, in the opener. The Flyers then downed visiting Traip Academy, 77-38, in their most recent outing, last Friday.

Entering play Thursday, Cape Elizabeth had taken six of seven all-time meetings, including a 46-38 victory last year at Waynflete.

This time around, the Flyers broke through, but it wasn’t easy.

The Capers started strong behind 6-foot-9-inch senior center Andrew Hartel, who made a free throw and scored on a putback.

Waynflete answered, as junior Askar Houssein, who scored 21 points in the teams’ meeting last winter, hit a runner, then spun and banked home a shot for a 4-3 Flyers’ advantage.

After Hartel put Cape Elizabeth back on top with a layup, senior Matt Conley added a 3-pointer to make it 8-4 in favor of the hosts.

Back came Waynflete, as Scott hit a short baseline jumper, sophomore Jared Johnson sank a free throw (Hartel was called for his second foul on the play), then Johnson took a pass from Houssein and made a layup to put the visitors ahead, 9-8.

Junior Nolan Smith countered with a 3-ball for the hosts, but two Saade foul shots tied it, 11-11.

In the final minute of the frame, Carpenter sank a 3 and after Houssein picked up his second foul, Carpenter made a short jumper to give the Capers a five-point lead, but with time winding down, junior Diraige Dahia stole the ball and made a layup to cut Cape Elizabeth’s lead to 16-13 after eight minutes.

Waynflete scored the first six points of the second quarter, as Johnson made a putback, added a free throw and Scott buried a 3 for a 19-16 lead.

The Capers answered, as Hartel made a layup and after sophomore Chris Saade spun and made a reverse layup for the visitors, Hartel hit a leaner, banked home a runner, then made a hook shot for a 24-21 advantage.

Alex Saade countered with a game-tying 3 and Scott made a runner in the lane for a 26-24 Flyers’ lead.

Hartel made a free throw, then sank two more and after Alex Saade made a leaner, sophomore Nate Mullen hit a left-handed runner with just over a second left for a 29-28 Cape Elizabeth lead at the break.

Hartel had 16 points and six rebounds in the first half, while Alex Saade and Scott had seven points apiece.

After the lead changed hands eight times in the first 16 minutes, it would do so nine times in the second half.

Houssein opened the third quarter with a baseline leaner, but Conley countered with a leaner.

The back-and-forth continued, as Houssein made a layup before Hartel hit a leaner and after sophomore Dominick Campbell put Waynflete back on top with a putback, Conley’s putback rattled home and Hartel drove for a reverse layup and a 37-34 Capers’ advantage.

Chris Saade countered with a putback, but Mullen buried a 3 for a four-point lead.

Dahia drove for a layup and after Mullen did the same, Scott threw up a 30-year prayer at the horn and it found nothing but net to pull the Flyers within a point, 42-41.

And the fun was just beginning.

Waynflete retook the lead nine seconds into the final stanza, as Scott set up Alex Saade for a backdoor layup. 

Scott added a long jumper, but with 6:43 remaining, Mullen’s 3 tied it up, 45-45.

A runner from Dahia gave Waynflete a two-point advantage, but with 3:54 left, off an inbounds pass out of a timeout, Carpenter spotted Mullen wide open for a layup to tie the game again.

With 2:48 to go, Carpenter calmly sank a 3 and Cape Elizabeth was up, 50-47.

The Flyers answered, as junior Solomon Levy scored on a putback 15 seconds later, but with 1:16 on the clock, Carpenter made a pair of free throws to restore the three-point lead, 52-49.

Twelve seconds later, Alex Saade made the second of two free throws.

With 40.5 seconds remaining, Mullen went to the line for a one-and-one, but he missed the front end and Scott got the rebound.

Waynflete was able to get the ball to Chris Saade underneath, but with Hartel looming over him and from a tough angle, Saade wasn’t able to convert and Hartel rebounded and got the ball to Mullen, who was fouled again.

With 27.4 seconds on the clock, Mullen had another one-and-one opportunity, but again he hit the back iron. Chris Saade got the rebound and got it to Alex Saade, who dribbled into the frontcourt and just before reaching the 3-point stripe, he threw up a contested shot and which tickled the twine with 18.7 seconds remaining for a 53-52 lead.

“It was a scramble, the ball came out, I got the ball and dribbled up the court and knew I had to make a play,” Saade said. “I shot it and thankfully it went in. It felt good. We practice these situations every day and we plan for moments like this and our execution showed.”  

“We called a play the time before and mis-ran it, so I had a little more patience and you saw what happened,” Waynflete coach Rich Henry said. “Alex is a good 3-point shooter who doesn’t take enough 3s. I couldn’t be happier for Alex. He’s a stalwart for the program, a great leader. It’s funny how good things happen sometimes for the right person.”

“I had the right players at the foul line and that looked like a desperation shot, out of the frame of what they were trying to do offensively, but that’s just how it goes sometimes,” lamented Capers coach Jim Ray.

Cape Elizabeth got one final chance and Carpenter drove and drew a foul with 2.7 seconds remaining.

Carpenter missed his first free throw, but got a second chance out of a timeout.

That foul shot was off-target as well and Scott got the rebound.

The ball was knocked out of bounds and the Flyers managed to throw it in and although sophomore Noah Pillsbury managed to chase it down, time ran out and Waynflete celebrated its 53-52 victory.

“I’m confident in my guys,” Alex Saade said. “Every time I go into a gym I know I’m playing with guys I wouldn’t trade for the world. When you play against a great team, it comes down to hard work and it paid off. I know it was luck. We don’t want to be in that position again, so we’ll hard to stay out of it.”

“It was nervewracking,” Henry said. “They shot free throws like we normally do down the stretch. It means to come a lot to come into a place like this and get a ‘W.’ I’m very proud of the kids battling back. It was a composure game. We showed some composure and to do that against a Hall of Fame coach and a flagship program that has been so good for so long means a lot. I have so much respect for Coach Ray and what he does.”

Alex Saade led the Flyers with 13 points. He also grabbed four rebounds.

Scott had 12 points and four boards, Houssein added eight points, Dahia (seven boards, two steals) and Johnson (five rebounds) finished with six points apiece, Chris Saade had four and Campbell and Levy (seven rebounds, two blocked shots) each tallied two.

Waynflete enjoyed a 40-33 rebounding advantage, hit 5 of 10 free throws and overcame 12 turnovers.

Cape Elizabeth was paced by Hartel, who had a game-high 20 points, as well as 11 rebounds. Mullen added 12 points, Carpenter had 10, Conley seven (to go with six rebounds) and Smith three.

The Capers turned the ball over 13 times and missed eight of 14 foul shots.

“(Waynflete’s) got a good team,” said Ray. “Tough, physical kids. They’ll win a lot of games. They have good balance. They understand their roles. They’re athletic and they’re strong and long.

“We’ve just got to be a little better. We don’t have a lot of experience. Lack of poise showed up on multiple occasions, not just in the final minutes. We don’t have that level of trust in each other yet or discipline. We’ve identified it as a problem, we’ll see if we can fix it.”

Goodbye to the old year

Cape Elizabeth is back in action Saturday at home versus Kennebunk. The Capers battle A South power Falmouth next Thursday in a game played at the Portland Exposition Building. Cape Elizabeth then says goodbye to the 2018 portion of its schedule two days later at Westbrook.

“There’s a lot of maturing we need to do,” Ray said. “The experienced kids aren’t demonstrating the necessary poise and composure we hoped. We’re putting pressure on our underclassmen to do that and it’s tough to do. We have to work our way through it.

“It’s a tough schedule the way the games roll together for us. We’ll have more games than practices before Christmas. It would be nice to have two days to practice instead of having to go light tomorrow because we have three games in five days.”

Waynflete has another test looming Saturday when it goes to Yarmouth. The Flyers then close 2018 with a home game against St. Dom’s Friday, Dec. 28.

“We went into this gym knowing we can win and this shows we’re capable of doing anything we set our minds to,” Alex Saade said. “It’s a great confidence-builder. We can still move the ball better. It’s about honing our athleticism and playing smart.”

“I told the kids to try and enjoy it tonight,” Henry said. “We’re practicing tomorrow, then we have another tough one Saturday at Yarmouth. Our practices are almost college level in their intensity and the kids are responsible for that. They understand what they’re accountable for and what they can do if they put their mind to it. “

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

Cape Elizabeth senior Andrew Hartel drives on Waynflete sophomore Dominick Campbell. Hartel had a game-high 20 points.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette photos.

Waynflete senior Alex Saade is hounded by Cape Elizabeth sophomore Nate Mullen. Saade hit the game-winning 3-pointer in the final minute.

Cape Elizabeth senior Andrew Hartel and Waynflete junior Askar Houssein battle for a loose ball.

Waynflete junior Askar Houssein drives on Cape Elizabeth sophomore Nate Mullen.

Recent Cape Elizabeth-Waynflete results

Cape Elizabeth 46 @ Waynflete 38

@ Cape Elizabeth 52 Waynflete 34

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@ Cape Elizabeth 43 Waynflete 34

Cape Elizabeth 63 @ Waynflete 39

@ Cape Elizabeth 82 Waynflete 24

Cape Elizabeth 69 @ Waynflete 57