CUMBERLAND — Is it too much to ask for a third matchup?

For the second time this season, defending Class A boys’ basketball state champion Greely and York engaged in an exciting back-and-forth battle. This time the Rangers finished strong over the final 10-plus minutes and won their seventh straight game, 75-60, before a big home crowd.

Both teams are now 14-3. Greely is likely to finish first in A South, and York entered No. 2. If the seeds hold, a third game would be in the regional final. York’s 57-51 win at home is Greely’s only loss to a Class A team the past three seasons. Greely went undefeated the past two seasons and this season lost to two AA teams (at South Portland, at home against Oxford Hills).

“It did mean a lot. It’s our homecourt so we’re just trying to protect it at all costs. Just get out there and look for revenge,” said Greely’s Andrew Storey, who scored at least six points in each quarter on his way to a game-high 26 points. “It’s a big game going into the playoffs, too.”

The first meeting featured alternating scoring surges. This time it was more nip-and-tuck with seven lead changes.

Both teams shot at a torrid clip in the first quarter (18 of 29 combined from the floor), ending with Greely up 22-21. Logan Bagshaw had 11 of his 21 points and two of his five steals for Greely. York’s Will MacDonald scored eight of his 16 points, with five other Wildcats scoring.

Greely led 37-32 at the half but York – playing without starter Brady Cummins (flu) – struck quickly in the third. Two quick Chris Cummins 3-pointers put York ahead 38-37 and forced a timeout by Greely, which promptly turned it over leading to a MacDonald 3.

A free throw – followed by a second deep ball by MacDonald and a Cummins’ steal and layup – pushed York’s lead to 47-41.

Greely responded with a 13-2 run sparked by six quick points from transition opportunities by Zach Brown (15 points) and led 54-52 after three quarters.

“Give York a lot of credit, they shot the ball well but I didn’t think we closed out well,” said Greely Coach Travis Seaver. “Then we did a better job and the shots they took were a little more contested.”

York was held scoreless for 5:13 to start the fourth and Greely gradually built a 63-52 lead. York, outscored 21-8 in the fourth, couldn’t get closer than eight.

“I think defense is going to be our identity the rest of the year,” Storey said.

“I think they played great defensively and forced us into taking shots that were a little quick, but it was a good high school basketball game,” said York Coach Paul Marquis. “It sure looks like Greely is going to be (ranked first). It would sure be nice to see them again.”

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or:

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