If you want to win basketball championships, you better know how to make free throws.

Two-time defending Class A state champion Greely knows how to win, and with Falmouth nipping at its heels Saturday night in the South final, Greely made 19 of 22 fourth-quarter free throws to secure a 64-48 win at Cross Insurance Arena.

Andrew Storey, a 6-foot-6 senior center, hit eight straight free throws when the game was still in the balance. By the time Storey was done, a six-point lead was up to 12. Then Mikey Coppersmith closed the deal with seven straight free throws in the final two minutes.

“Down in crunch time, free throws are everything,” said Storey, who was 10 of 10 overall. “They’ll give the lead or contain the lead. It’s a free shot at the hoop. But I’m normally not that good. I don’t think I’ve ever made 10 for 10, even in practice.”

No. 1 Greely (18-3) will go for its third straight state championship against North champ Lawrence (13-8) at 7:45 p.m. Friday at the Augusta Civic Center.

Lawrence, with five senior starters, will be making its first state final appearance since a 1999 loss to Portland. Lawrence’s last title came in 1994.

Storey, who was named the Jack Coyne Award winner as the tournament’s top player, and Logan Bagshaw each finished with 18 points.

Bagshaw had 11 in the first quarter to help stake the Rangers to an 18-12 lead.

“We thought if we didn’t (get ahead early), then Falmouth would try to slow us down,” said Greely Coach Travis Seaver. “So we wanted to try to come out quickly and set the tone and try to get them on their heels a little bit so they couldn’t extend those possessions and shorten the game.”

Coppersmith finished with 12 points, making 10 of 12 free throws. Zach Brown had 11 points.

“Whoever’s getting fouled, we just trust them at the line,” Coppersmith said. “We trust in each other, and that allows us to just come together and make free throws down the stretch in games, and hopefully we can keep that up for next week.”

No. 3 Falmouth finished 15-6. Nicco Pitre scored 14 points before fouling out. Falmouth struggled with foul trouble throughout. Center Nik Hester (three points) sat for most of the first half, and Mike Simonds (16 points) missed most of the third quarter. They both fouled out late in the game.

In last year’s regional semifinal, the Rangers escaped an upset bid by Falmouth, winning 49-47.

This year, Greely earned the praise of Falmouth Coach Dave Halligan.

“It was the difference between a good, veteran team and good young team,” Halligan said. “We played in spurts, but the spurts weren’t long enough to cause them problems.

“They’re a good team. They remind me a lot of the guys we had when we won three in a row.”

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or:

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Twitter: SteveCCraig

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