Waynflete junior Dominick Campbell goes up strong over Traip Academy defenders during the Flyers’ 55-29 victory in Monday’s Class C South quarterfinal. Campbell had a game-high 16 points. Andy Molloy / Kennebec Journal

BOX SCORE

Waynflete 55 Traip Academy 29

TA- 7 12 2 8- 29
W- 15 14 14 12- 55

TA- Brown 5-0-11, Frost 2-0-6, Driscoll 1-0-3, Henderson 1-1-3, Davis 1-0-2, Downs 1-0-2, Lane 1-0-2

W- Campbell 6-4-16, Johnson 6-2-15, Dahia 5-0-13, Saade 2-1-5, Kieffer 0-4-4, Levy 1-0-2

3-pointers:
TA (4) Frost 2, Brown, Driscoll 1
W (4) Dahia 3, Johnson 1

Turnovers:
TA- 18
W- 18

FTs
TA: 1-3
W: 11-14

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AUGUSTA—Even on a night when it was far from its best, Waynflete’s boys’ basketball team enjoyed a decisive victory in its first tournament test Monday evening.

In a Class C South quarterfinal at the Augusta Civic Center, the second-ranked Flyers took a 15-7 lead after one quarter over 10th-ranked Traip Academy, but the Rangers, thanks to junior Treshuan Brown’s 11 points, hung close and drew within 24-19 late in the first half before Waynflete junior standout Dominick Campbell sank two free throws and junior Jared Johnson converted a three-point play to produce a 29-19 advantage at the break.

The Flyers then flipped the switch in the third quarter, allowing Traip Academy just two points, while senior Diraige Dahia drained a pair of 3s to stretch the lead to 43-21 before Waynflete went on to a 55-29 victory.

Campbell had a near double-double of 16 points and nine rebounds, Johnson added 15 points and Dahia had 13 as the Flyers improved to 18-1, ended Traip Academy’s season at 9-11 and advanced to take on third-ranked Boothbay (15-4) in the semifinals Thursday at 7 p.m., in Augusta.

“We’ll take the win,” said Waynflete coach Rich Henry. “We scrimmaged Wednesday to try and keep a game mentality, but it’s different on this court, especially against a team you’ve beaten twice and are playing on a neutral floor. I tip my cap to Traip. For an undersized team, they’re scrappy. They don’t back down. I knew it would be a dogfight. They could have folded, but they played hard the whole way.”

The time has come

Over the past decade, Waynflete has averaged nearly 16 wins per season and has reached the semifinals in eight of the past nine years. Twice, the Flyers reached the Class C state final, but they are still seeking their first Gold Ball.

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This year’s team appears to have all the ingredients necessary to win it all. Waynflete has size, athleticism, can shoot the ball and play lockdown defense and despite a challenging schedule which included four games against Class B playoff teams, the Flyers won 17 of 18 contests, falling only at defending Class B South champion Cape Elizabeth, which left them second to Winthrop in Class C South.

Traip Academy, meanwhile, won its first three games, but went just 5-10 the rest of the regular season before upsetting No. 7 Hall-Dale in the preliminary round, 58-57, last Wednesday.

The teams met twice in the regular season, with Waynflete taking both, 54-28 at home Jan. 13 and 71-48 Feb. 4 in Kittery in the regular season finale.

The Rangers won the only prior playoff encounter, 60-49, in the 2007 Western C quarterfinals.

Tuesday, the Flyers gradually pulled away and took care of business.

Waynflete senior captain Diraige Dahia dribbles around Traip Academy’s Trevor Fournier. Andy Molloy / Kennebec Journal

Campbell put Waynflete on top to stay with a leaner 24 seconds in and Johnson scored his first points, on a putback, for a quick 4-0 lead.

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After Traip Academy got on the board when freshman Ben Hawkes set up senior Isaac Henderson for a layup, Johnson made a layup and after a Henderson foul shot, junior Chris Saade scored on a putback and off an inbounds set, Dahia passed to Campbell for a layup and a 10-3 lead with 3:56 to go in the opening period.

The Rangers crept back within three on a layup from junior Will Davis and a layup after a steal from Brown, but Saade countered with a leaner and with 28 seconds to go, a Dahia 3-point shot made it 15-7 Flyers after eight minutes.

Waynflete tried to deliver a knockout blow in the second quarter, but couldn’t do so.

A driving layup from Dahia got the frame started, but Brown scored on a spinner in the lane, then took a pass from junior Frankie Driscoll and made a layup to cut the deficit to 17-11.

After a Johnson free throw, Campbell added a pair, but Driscoll countered with a 3.

Campbell scored on a putback and Dahia scored on a floater, but Brown drained a 3, then took a pass from Driscoll and made another layup with 1:52 to go in the half, pulling the Rangers within five, 24-19.

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The Flyers closed the half strong, however, getting a pair of Campbell free throws and an old-fashioned three-point play (putback, foul, free throw) from Johnson for a 29-19 halftime advantage.

“Dom’s kind of the facilitator of our offense and everything goes through him,” said Johnson. “When the other team focuses on him, it opens up shots for me and Diraige or whoever it is. I was fired up to play on this court. It was bigger crowd than we’re used to at our game.”

Brown led all first half scorers with 11 points, but 10 points from Campbell, eight from Johnson and seven from Dahia was enough for Waynflete to hold a lead.

Players from both teams fight for a loose ball. Andy Molloy / Kennebec Journal

The lead would only grow in the third quarter, as the Flyers held Traip Academy to a mere two points.

Senior Soloman Levy started the second half with a floater, Johnson scored on a runner off the glass, then Johnson hit a jump shot to extend the lead to 35-19.

With 3:42 remaining in the third period, a putback from senior Burke Downs ended the Rangers’ 6-minute, 10-second drought and Waynflete’s 11-0 run, but Dahia answered with a 3, then Dahia hit another, before Dahia set up Campbell for a layup and a commanding 43-21 advantage heading to the fourth.

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“I think I just had to get used to the rims a little bit,” Dahia said. “I came out a little slow, then I got it going.”

Waynflete surrendered all of two points in the third quarter.

“In the locker room, Coach told us to pick up our transition defense,” said Johnson. “We all came together and it worked out.”

In the final period, the Flyers put it away.

The first 10 points of the frame went to Waynflete, as Campbell scored on a putback, Campbell took a pass from Dahia and slammed the ball home, Johnson knocked down a 3-ball, junior Aidan Kieffer made two free throws, then Saade hit another to push the lead to 53-21.

After senior Bobby Lane made a jumper for Traip Academy to end another long drought (8:11) and an 18-0 Flyers’ run, junior Hunter Frost hit a 3 for the Rangers. Kieffer made two foul shots for Waynflete’s final points, then Frost made one last 3-pointer to bring the curtain down on the Flyers’ 55-29 triumph.

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“It was just all about getting our composure in a different environment in front of a big crowd,” Dahia said. “We just had to settle down.”

“We had a little bit more patience on offense in the second half and we dealt with (Traip’s) perimeter pressure,” Henry said.

Campbell had a game-high 16 points and finished one rebound shy of a double-double (grabbing nine total). He also blocked two shots.

“It all starts with Dom because he gets so much attention,” Henry said. “He’s such a versatile player.”

Johnson stepped up with 15 points and five rebounds.

“Jared is a player we’ve been pushing to be a little more assertive on offense, so that was great to see,” Henry said.

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Dahia was also in double figures with 13 points (to go with six rebounds, three assists and two steals).

“Diraige has been the heart and soul of the team, sometimes too much heart, but when he’s on and playing his best, he’s a great player on both ends of the court,” Henry said.

Saade added five points, Kieffer had four and Levy finished with two (to go with five rebounds).

Waynflete enjoyed a big edge on the glass (38-21), overcame 18 turnovers and made 11-of-14 foul shots.

Traip Academy was paced by 11 points from Brown, but he didn’t score in the second half (Brown also had three steals).

Frost added six points, Driscoll and Henderson finished with three apiece and Davis, Downs (four rebounds) and Lane all had two.

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The Rangers committed 18 turnovers and took just three free throws, making only one.

Next challenge

In two of the past three seasons, including last year, Waynflete’s title hopes were derailed in the semifinals.

Thursday, the Flyers figure to get a challenge from Boothbay, which held off No. 6 Mt. Abram, 59-54, in its quarterfinal.

Waynflete doesn’t play Boothbay in the regular season. The teams have met three previous times in the playoffs, with the Flyers only winning once. Two years ago, the Seahawks sprung a 65-64 upset in the quarterfinals.

Waynflete is primed for the challenge.

“Boothbay is longer than the team we just played in Traip and they have more offensive options, so it’ll be tough to sit down and play defense against them,” Johnson said. “It’s going to be a good game.”

“This year, I feel like we’re prepared,” Dahia said. “It’s going to be a tough game.”

“Boothbay is a tradition here and I’m looking forward to playing them,” Henry said. “I think it’s going to be a great game. I’m sure (longtime Boothbay coach) I.J. (Pinkham) will have them ready and I can only hope to have our team ready. (Boothbay’s) very smart. They have a lot of spirit. They’ve played in that system since they were little kids, so they know exactly what’s expected of them. Our challenge is going to be, can we keep our composure and use our athleticism and length?”

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

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