Greely senior Zach Brown shows off the regional championship plaque after the Rangers’ 64-48 win over Falmouth in Saturday’s Class A South Final. Greely will go for an unprecedented third consecutive Gold Ball Friday against Lawrence.

Ben McCanna / Portland Press Herald photos.

More photos below.

BOX SCORE

Greely 64 Falmouth 48

F-  12 10 10 16- 48
G- 18 11 12 23- 64

F- Simonds 7-1-18, Pitre 3-8-14, Williams 3-1-7, Webber-Gravier 2-1-6, Hester 1-1-3

G- Bagshaw 4-8-18, Storey 4-10-18, Coppersmith 1-10-12, Brown 5-0-11, Bernheisel 2-0-4, Gabloff 0-1-1

3-pointers:
F (4) Simonds 3, Webber-Gravier 1
G (3) Bagshaw 2, Brown 1

Turnovers:
F- 15
G- 14

Free throws
F: 12-18
G: 29-33

PORTLAND—Talent, perseverance and superb foul shooting have Greely’s boys’ basketball team 32 minutes away from yet another state title.

Saturday evening at the Cross Insurance Arena, the top-ranked Rangers had to contend with rival and No. 2 seed Falmouth in the Class A South Final and as expected, the Yachtsmen didn’t make life easy.

A pair of early 3-pointers from junior Michael Simonds gave Falmouth the lead, but Greely closed the first quarter strong and took the lead for good on a 3-point shot from junior Logan Bagshaw.

By the end of the frame, the Rangers were up, 18-12, and while the Yachtsmen hung tough in the second period, Greely held a 29-22 advantage at halftime.

Simonds tried to spark a rally in the third quarter, but he picked up his third and fourth fouls and Rangers senior standout Andrew Storey came to life, helping Greely take a 41-32 lead to the fourth period.

There, Falmouth drew as close as six, 46-40, on a putback from senior Nik Hester, but the Rangers put the game away at the charity stripe, draining 19 of 22 attempts in the frame, and they went on to a 64-48 victory.

Bagshaw and Storey each finished with 18 points as Greely improved to 19-3, ended the Yachtsmen’s season at 15-6 and in the process, advanced to meet Lawrence (13-8) in the Class A state final Friday at 7:45 p.m., at the Augusta Civic Center.

“This means a lot,” said Storey. “Falmouth’s a big rival every year. They put up a great fight tonight. They’re a really strong team and I think they’ll be strong in the future.” 

Uncharted territory

After consecutive 22-0 state championship runs, Greely lost to Oxford Hills, South Portland and York this time around, but the Rangers won their other 15 games to lock up the top seed in Class A South again.

Greely had little trouble with eighth-seeded Mt. Ararat in the quarterfinals, prevailing, 70-46, then Wednesday in the semifinals, the Rangers outscored No. 5 Kennebunk, 69-62.

Falmouth went 13-5 in the regular season, then knocked off No. 6 Brunswick, 45-31, in the quarterfinals and held off No. 2 York, 48-37, in the semifinals.

The rivals met just once this season, four days before Christmas, a 46-29 Rangers’ victory.

Greely had won all five prior playoff meetings, with a dramatic 49-47 triumph in last year’s semifinals the most recent.

Saturday, the Rangers again impressed, making program history with a third consecutive regional championship.

The first quarter was fast paced, as Falmouth got off to a good start before Bagshaw shot the Rangers into the lead.

Senior Jackman Webber-Gravier made a 3 to give the Yachtsmen the early jump and after Greely senior Zach Brown countered with a 3-ball, Simonds buried one from behind the stripe for a 6-3 lead.

Bagshaw’s first points, a layup, were followed by a free throw from Hester, but the Yachtsmen’s big man wouldn’t be around long in the frame.

After a jumper from senior Mikey Coppersmith pulled the Rangers even, Simonds made an NBA-range 3, but with 3;41 left, Hester fouled Bagshaw on a 3-point shot and Bagshaw made all three attempts to make it 10-10.

After Hester picked up his second foul with 3:26 remaining in the quarter, Greely went on top for good 44 seconds later as Bagshaw canned a deep 3.

“When Logan shoots well, we’re tough,” Seaver said. “Logan can stretch the floor.” 

Bagshaw added another 3 with 1:24 left and after sophomore Nicco Pitre scored on a runner, a jump shot from junior Jakob Bernheisel gave Greely an 18-12 advantage after eight minutes.

“Hester’s a great player and getting him in early foul trouble was good for us,” Storey said.

Bagshaw had 11 points in the frame and started the second period with two free throws, but junior Macklin Williams countered for Falmouth with an old-fashioned three-point play (layup, foul, free throw).

The Rangers pushed the lead to nine, as Coppersmith made two foul shots and Brown set up Storey for a layup.

A three-point play by Simonds got the Yachtsmen back within six, but sophomore Luke Gabloff made a free throw and Bernheisel followed with a putback to make it 27-18 Greely.

After Webber-Gravier hit a free throw for Falmouth, Brown drove for a layup before a Pitre three-point play cut the deficit to 29-22 at the half.

“It changes the game when (Hester) comes off the floor, but in the second quarter, they played us even, so credit to them,” Greely coach Travis Seaver said.

In the first 16 minutes, Bagshaw led all scorers with 13 points, while Simonds paced the Yachtsmen with nine,

In the third quarter, Brown heated up and helped the Rangers open it up.

Brown started the second half with an up-and-under layup.

After Simonds hit a floater in the lane, Simonds was called for his third foul with 6:40 left in the quarter.

Brown then hit a jumper and Simonds was called for a charge and his fourth foul before Brown hit another jumper with 4:53 to go for a 35-26 advantage.

Pitre then made two free throws and banked home a runner to pull Falmouth within five, but Storey came to life, converting a three-point play and after a putback from Macklin, Storey converted another three-point play for a 41-32 advantage heading to the final quarter.

The Yachtsmen kept the pressure on to start the fourth period, as Pitre sank a free throw and Williams made a free throw, but after Coppersmith sank a foul shot for Greely, Brown threw a touchdown pass to a streaking Bagshaw, who made a layup with 6:18 left for a 44-35 lead.

Pitre set up Simonds for a 3-point shot in transition with 5:18 left, but 16 seconds left, Storey made both ends of a one-and-one.

A Hester putback with 4:43 remaining cut the lead to six again, but 15 seconds later, Storey again hit both ends of a one-and-one for a 48-40 advantage.

Storey went back to the line with 3:51 to go, this time for two shots, and he made them both.

Storey then hit two more with 3:13 remaining to stretch the lead to 12.

“If we didn’t hit those, it would have been a totally different game,” Storey said. “I just focused and tried to shoot in rhythm.”

Falmouth crept back within eight on two free throws from Pitre and a layup after a steal from Webber-Gravier with 2:18 on the clock, but Coppersmith sank two free throws. 

After two Pitre foul shots made it 54-46, Bagshaw threw a long pass ahead to Storey for a layup. Coppersmith then sank two free throws with 1:32 to go and 25 seconds later, he made two more to stretch the lead to 60-46.

“This whole tournament, Mikey has become our floor general,” Seaver said. “We’ve lacked that this year. For him to step up has been huge.”

The Yachtsmen’s final points came on a Simonds jumper with 57.7 seconds on the clock.

After Coppersmith made a free throw, Hester fouled out, picking up a technical foul in the process, and Bagshaw hit three of his four foul shots to close out Greely’s 64-48 victory.

“This feels pretty good,” Coppersmith said. “We’re not done yet though. The difference was free throws down the stretch. We practice free throws every day. We tried to stay calm and knock them down.”

“We knew it would be a totally different game (than the regular season),” Seaver said. “They were playing a lot better toward the end of the year and they’re super-well coached. They sped us up and I think we got uncomfortable at times. We had to slow it back down a little bit.”

Bagshaw had 18 points, as did Storey, who also had seven rebounds en route to being named the Jack Coyne Award winner as the regional tournament’s top player.

“I don’t really look at points,” Storey said. “I just want to win and I’ll do whatever it takes. Free throws are very important.”

“Andrew’s played great,” Seaver said. “He’s the most consistent guy day-in, day-out. He had a tough matchup with Hester tonight and he had to play both ends of the floor and he played well.”

Coppersmith had 12 points, while Brown added 11, Bernheisel had four and Gabloff one.

The Rangers turned the ball over 14 times, but made 29 of 33 free throws, including 19 of 22 in the fourth period.

“We did a good job getting the right guys the ball between Mikey and Drew,” Seaver said. “It’s tournament basketball and games are won at the line. And lost.”

One win short

Falmouth got 18 points from Simonds before he fouled out. Pitre had 14 points before he fouled out. Williams had seven points, Webber-Gravier six and Hester (eight rebounds) three points (before fouling out).

The Yachtsmen enjoyed a 26-19 rebounding advantage and made 12 of 18 foul shots, but they turned the ball over 15 times.

“We didn’t finish and make shots,” Falmouth coach Dave Halligan said. “Greely had a lot to do with that. That’s the difference between a veteran team and a young team. They’re a good team. They just won’t lose. They have a chip on their shoulder and have a lot of confidence. We lost our focus a little bit. We played in spurts, but the spurts weren’t long enough. Both teams were trying to impose their will upon the other. If we could have gotten the lead, we might have changed the pace a little bit. We tried everything, but they handled it.

“We got better this year. We didn’t lose to a bad team all year. We lost to Kennebunk twice, Greely twice, South Portland and (Class AA South champion) Bonny Eagle. You don’t like to lose, but we lost to good teams and we battled. The kids worked hard and were rewarded.”

Falmouth graduates Hester, Webber-Gravier, Doug Cooke and Sam Manganello.

“The seniors are always special because you spend two, three hours a day with them,” Halligan said. “If losing a basketball game is the worst thing that happens to them, they’ll be OK.”

Next year’s squad will be built around Pitre and Simonds and should go deep in the postseason again.

“(The returning players) saw how close they got,” Halligan said. “You have to taste it before you can get there. Hopefully the younger guys learn from this and we’re better down the road.”

One more step

Awaiting Greely Friday will be a Lawrence squad making its first title game appearance since 1999.

The Bulldogs’ record is nowhere near as impressive as the Rangers’, but Greely expects a battle in the teams’ first-ever playoff meeting.

“We want the Gold Ball,” Storey said. “(Lawrence seems) like a good team. It’s time to go to work on them and focus and dial in for this last game.”

“We’ve been here before,” Coppersmith said. “We’ve got experience. We just stay calm and trust each other. We’ve got to watch some film. We don’t know them very well. We need to find weaknesses and worry about us. We hope we play well, we’ll hope for the best and try to get the job done.”

“This is great, but obviously the biggest goal is still out there,” added Seaver. “The guys’ success is testament to their work ethic and ability to hit the reset button each year. We played a totally style this year. New guys have stepped in and contributed and the guys who have been around changed the way they contribute and lead.

“I don’t know anything about Lawrence. We’ll get to work tonight and figure out what we can do. We’re excited.”

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

Greely sophomore Luke Gabloff shoots as Falmouth junior Emmett Hamilton defends.

Falmouth sophomore Nicco Pitre handles the ball.

Falmouth senior Michael Simonds is defended by Greely senior Mikey Coppersmith.

Greely senior Zach Brown drives to the basket as Falmouth sophomore Nicco Pitre looks on.

Greely senior Mikey Coppersmith looks to pass as Falmouth sophomore Nicco Pitre defends.

Previous Greely stories

Season Preview

Greely 46 Falmouth 29

Greely 45 Yarmouth 34

Class A South semifinal
Greely 69 Kennebunk 62

Previous Falmouth stories

Season Preview

Greely 46 Falmouth 29

Falmouth 54 Cape Elizabeth 25

South Portland 48 Falmouth 38

Class A South quarterfinals
Falmouth 45 Brunswick 31

Class A South semifinals
Falmouth 48 York 37

Previous Greely-Falmouth playoff results

2018 Class A South semifinals
Greely 49 Falmouth 47

2017 Class A South Final
Greely 47 Falmouth 26

2008 Western B quarterfinals
Greely 50 Falmouth 49

2007 Western B semifinals
Greely 63 Falmouth 40

2003 Western B semifinals
Greely 62 Falmouth 45