BOX SCORE

Greely 42 Cape Elizabeth 38

G- 8 6 11 17- 42
CE- 9 12 8 9- 38

G- Bagshaw 8-7-25, Gabloff 3-0-7, Butler 2-1-6, Bernheisel 1-0-2, Lawrence 1-0-2

CE- Mullen 5-4-17, Bowe 4-0-11, Bassett 2-0-4, Concannon 1-0-3, Swift 1-0-3

3-pointers:
G (4) Bagshaw 2, Butler, Gabloff 1
CE (8) Bowe, Mullen 3, Concannon, Swift 1

Turnovers:
G- 10
CE- 14

FTs
G: 8-11
CE: 4-7

CAPE ELIZABETH—Greely’s three-time defending Class A state champion boys’ basketball team had almost nothing go its way in the first half of Monday’s contest at rival Cape Elizabeth.

But the Rangers dug deep into their reservoir of championship heart and found a way to pull out a victory.

The Capers came out fired up and held a 9-8 lead after one quarter before going up by as many as 10 points, 18-8, after a 3-point shot from junior Nate Mullen.

Greely crept back within 21-14 at the half, but with senior standout Logan Bagshaw only producing five points and being weighed down by three fouls, there was a pretty steep hill to climb.

But climbing that hill is exactly what Bagshaw and the Rangers did.

After senior Nick Butler got Greely back on track with a couple baskets early in the second half, the Rangers got as close as three points before Cape Elizabeth clung to a 29-25 advantage heading for the fourth period.

Where Bagshaw reminded everyone why he’s a clutch scorer extraordinaire.

After Mullen drained a 3 to make it 34-29 Capers, Bagshaw buried an NBA-range 3 and after senior Jack Bassett made a layup to put the hosts up by four, Butler made a free throw, then with 3:43 remaining, Bagshaw converted a rarely-seen four-point play to give the Rangers their first lead since the first quarter.

Greely then amped up the defense down the stretch and held on for a 42-38 victory.

Bagshaw had 25 points, with 20 coming after halftime, and the Rangers improved to 10-3 on the season and dropped Cape Elizabeth to 4-9 in the process.

“Cape always gives us a game,” said Butler. “It’s never easy, especially here. We came in and we battled and didn’t give up. We had to work hard.”

Old friends

Cape Elizabeth and Greely have been rivals for decades and while they now compete in different classes in the postseason, they have no trouble getting up for the other.

This showdown had big implications for both squads, who have had their share of ups and downs this winter.

The Capers started with losses at Yarmouth (46-43) and Waynflete (61-52), then downed visiting Freeport (35-31). After falling at Greely (61-39), Cape Elizabeth lost to Falmouth at the Portland Exposition Building (69-29) and at York (57-41). The Capers then hit their stride with home wins over Fryeburg Academy (47-32) and Waynflete (59-51) and at Old Orchard Beach (54-44). Cape Elizabeth’s three-game win streak was snapped by visiting York (69-43), then the Capers lost last week at home to Wells in a playoff rematch (52-47) and at Gray-New Gloucester (55-44).

Greely started with a 63-51 home loss to York, then held off host Falmouth (57-52) and beat host Fryeburg Academy (45-38). After falling at home to South Portland (81-43), the Rangers beat visiting Cape Elizabeth (61-39) and Yarmouth (62-49), then won at Freeport (60-45) and Oxford Hills (68-49), downed visiting Gray-New Gloucester (76-68) and beat host Wells (55-48). Greely’s six-game win streak was snapped last Tuesday by visiting Kennebunk (79-66). Friday, the Rangers got back on track with a 94-62 victory at Poland, as Bagshaw eclipsed the 1,000-point plateau for his career.

In the teams’ first meeting Dec. 20, Bagshaw only scored a dozen points, but the Rangers still rolled behind 15 points from Butler and 13 from sophomore Timmy Walker. Sophomore Will Bowe paced the Capers with 11 points.

Monday, Cape Elizabeth sought its first win over Greely since Jan. 26, 2016 (45-38 at home in longtime coach Jim Ray’s 300th victory with the program), but instead, the Rangers made it eight consecutive wins in the series.

Bagshaw opened the scoring with a free throw 16 seconds in, but the Capers’ ability to drain the clock and find open shooters helped them grab the lead, as Mullen banked home a runner, then Bowe drove for a layup.

After senior Andrew Lawrence fed junior Luke Gabloff for a layup to draw Greely within one, Bowe drained a 3-point shot from the corner.

The Rangers roared back to take an 8-7 lead, as Bagshaw sank two free throws and Gabloff buried a 3, but with just over a second remaining, two Mullen free throws put Cape Elizabeth on top, 9-8, after eight minutes.

The Capers were even better in the second period as Greely’s frustrations grew.

Sixteen seconds into the quarter, Mullen sank a long 3 and junior Dylan Swift added a 3-pointer of his own to make it 15-8.

After Bagshaw was called for a charge and his second foul, Mullen buried another long 3 and with 3:51 to go in the half, Cape Elizabeth’s lead was 10.

Twenty seconds later, a driving layup from senior Jakob Bernheisel snapped the Rangers’ 7-minute, 14-second drought and the Capers’ 11-0 run.

Bagshaw added a contested leaner, but senior Liam Concannon countered with a 3 for Cape Elizabeth’s final points of the half.

With 1:09 to go, Lawrence took an inbounds pass from Bagshaw and made a layup, but just before the horn, Bagshaw picked up his third foul and Greely was down by seven, 21-14, at the break.

Mullen led all first half scorers with 10 points, while the Rangers got five points from Bagshaw.

Greely then hit its stride in the third period, but couldn’t come all the way back.

Butler set the tone 15 seconds into the second half with a 3-pointer and after a Bowe 3 snapped the Capers’ 5:27 drought, Butler took a pass from Lawrence and made a layup to cut the deficit to 24-19.

“Coach said we were flat in pre-game and we came out slow,” said Butler. “Logan talked to us in the locker room at halftime and got us going. Coach tells me to shoot no matter what. That was a confidence booster. Logan found me and got me the ball.”

“We weren’t connecting on offense in the first half and they were,” Bagshaw said. “They stalled a lot in the first half, then we sped them up in the second half. I just talked about what we didn’t do well and what we needed to do well (in the second half) and we came out more fired up. A lot of teams focus on me, which gives other players a chance to shine. Nick hit big shots which really helped tonight.”

“We know Logan will be there every night, but Nick is kind of our secondary scorer,” Greely coach Travis Seaver added. “He complements Logan. He’s good when he’s getting to the rim.”

Mullen kept the pressure on with two free throws, but Bagshaw put home a miss, then after a Lawrence steal, a Gabloff floater pulled the Rangers within three, 26-23.

Cape Elizabeth answered out of a timeout, as Bowe made a 3, but a Bagshaw up-and-under layup pulled Greely within four, 29-25, heading for the fourth period.

There, the Rangers completed their comeback.

Bagshaw opened the frame by driving for a layup, but Bassett countered with a jumper.

Bagshaw then took a pass from Butler and made a layup to again make it a two-point game, but with 6:05 remaining, Mullen hit another clutch 3 for a 34-29 advantage.

Bagshaw then put his team on his back and came up with a couple of huge shots to turn the tables.

With 5:53 to go, Bagshaw pulled up and launched a 3 from well beyond the NBA stripe and it found the mark to again make it a two-point game.

With 4:58 left, Bassett took a pass from Mullen and made a layup, but with 4:08 to go, Butler made a free throw and after Greely got the ball back, Bagshaw got Mullen to commit, drew the foul while shooting and willed his 3-point shot into the basket to tie the game with 3:43 remaining.

“I up-faked and I knew he’d bang into me and I drew the foul,” Bagshaw said.

“I was pretty excited when (Logan) made that shot,” Butler said. “That was a real momentum swing. It was huge.”

Bagshaw then added the free throw to complete the four-point play and give the Rangers a 37-36 advantage, their first lead since 8-7.

“I knew I had to make the free throw, but I didn’t think about it much,” Bagshaw said. “It was just another free throw for me.”

“Logan’s a competitor,” Seaver said. “The nice thing about it is regardless of how the game’s going, he’s going to fight. I’m working hard to get him to slow down at times. Down the stretch, he’s great with the ball in his hands, either shooting or making the right decision and finding someone.”

“Mullen and (junior Will) Thornton did a pretty good job on Bagshaw, but talent like that is tough to stop,” Ray said. “He makes offense look easy. That gave them momentum.”

Senior Nolan Smith looked to answer for the Capers, but he was off-target on a 3 and Gabloff rebounded.

Then, with 2:23 to go, Bernheisel set up Bagshaw for a layup and a three-point lead.

After a Cape Elizabeth turnover, Butler missed a shot, but out of a timeout, the Capers turned the ball over again with just 29.6 seconds left.

Bagshaw was then fouled and made both ends of a one-and-one opportunity to make it 41-36.

After a Mullen miss, Bassett got the offensive rebound and tried to follow, but Gabloff blocked the shot.

Mullen did hit a runner in the lane with 11.6 seconds on the clock to snap Greely’s 9-0 run and a 4:47 drought, but with 7.1 seconds showing, Bagshaw hit one more free throw and the Rangers went on to their 42-38 victory.

“I’m not sure we forced any turnovers in the first half, but we did later in the game,” Seaver said. “Cape’s gotten better through the year. We knew they’d have extended possessions, so we tried hard to speed things up in the second half.”

Greely was paced by Bagshaw, who had 25 points and just as importantly, added three assists.

Gabloff had seven points and four rebounds, Butler added six points and six boards and Bernheisel and Lawrence (three assists) each produced two points.

The Rangers had a 22-17 advantage on the glass, only turned the ball over 10 times (with eight of those coming before halftime) and made 8-of-11 free throws.

Cape Elizabeth was paced by Mullen, who had 17 points and also helped defend Bagshaw.

“(Nate) plays hard,” Ray said. “He’s a tough kid.”

Bowe added 11 points, Bassett had four (to go with six rebounds) and Concannon and Swift each contributed three.

The Capers committed 14 turnovers, with eight coming after halftime, and made 4-of-7 free throws.

“The guys were prepared and locked in,” Ray said. “We had some good possessions and made shots at times. Our offense was better and our defense kept us in the game, but turnovers kills us at the end. We had our chances. Their pressure forced us into turnovers. Credit to them.”

Thinking February

Cape Elizabeth (now ranked fourth in the Class B South Heal Points standings) is in the playoff mix despite its record, but needs to show improvement in the weeks to come.

The Capers are at Fryeburg Academy Friday, then have home games versus Yarmouth and Lake Region and trips to Wells and Poland remaining.

“I’m seeing a lot of improvement, but we still have improvements to make,” Ray said. “The ultimate goal is to just get in (the tournament). A couple more wins would help us a lot. We’re in a stretch now where we’re not as overmatched as we’ve been in a lot of our games, but there are no gimmes. We can’t underestimate anybody. If we approach it the right way mentally, maybe we’ll squeak in and anything’s possible.”

Greely (fourth in Class A South) is back in action Friday at home versus Wells. After hosting Lake Region, the Rangers go to Gray-New Gloucester and York, then close at home against Fryeburg Academy. 

“We need to keep getting better,” Bagshaw said. “We’re working hard every day. I think come February, everyone will be ready.”

“We’re getting better,” Seaver said. “The nice thing about these guys is we have a great idea of what we need to do. We have a lot of work to do. I’m hoping when the time comes, we’ll be ready to go. We think we can compete with anyone if we’re playing our best basketball.”

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

Comments are not available on this story.