York junior Brady Cummins shoots a 3-pointer as Greely seniors Logan Bagshaw, left, and Andrew Lawrence defend during the Wildcats’ 59-57 Class A South semifinal round win Wednesday. Derek Davis / Portland Press Herald

BOX SCORE

York 59 Greely 57

G- 13 18 12 14- 57
Y- 16 12 16 15- 59

G- Bagshaw 13-3-34, Bernheisel 6-0-12, Butler 2-0-6, Gabloff 2-0-5

Y- Cummins 7-5-21, Linn 4-0-10, Coughlin 3-0-9, MacDonald 3-3-9, Hynes 2-0-5, Donovan 1-1-3, Johnston 1-0-2

3-pointers:
G (8) Bagshaw 5, Butler 2, Gabloff 1
Y (8) Coughlin 3, Cummins, Linn 2, Hynes 1

Turnovers:
G- 11
Y- 10

FTs
G: 3-5
Y: 9-11

PORTLAND—The champions played valiantly, but there will be no fourth consecutive Gold Ball for Greely’s boys’ basketball team.

Wednesday evening at a jam-packed and electric Portland Exposition Building, the fourth-ranked Rangers delivered potential knockout blow after knockout blow on the chin of top-seeded, undefeated York in a Class A South semifinal, but the Wildcats answered like the champions they hope to become and had barely enough to extinguish Greely’s upset bid.

York couldn’t miss early and shot to a quick 10-2 lead, but behind the leadership and sharpshooting of senior standout Logan Bagshaw, back came the Rangers to make it a one-possession contest, 16-13, after one quarter.

Junior star Brady Cummins kept hitting shots to keep the Wildcats in front in the second period, but Greely senior Nick Butler made consecutive 3-point shots, then unheralded senior Jakob Bernheisel put the Rangers in front with a layup before Greely eventually enjoyed a 31-28 halftime advantage.

Bagshaw helped the Rangers go up by eight in the third quarter, but Cummins led York back and allowed it to cling to a 44-43 lead entering the final stanza.

The Wildcats threatened to put it away when Cummins dunked the ball home for a 56-48 lead midway through the fourth period, but the next nine points went to Greely, capped by a bank shot 3-pointer from Bagshaw and as time wound down, the Rangers were on the brink of victory.

But in a memorable sequence, York missed two shots, but kept possession and with 3.7 seconds to play, senior Jonathan Donovan, who had yet to score in the game, put the ball home while being fouled and he completed the three-point play for a two-point lead.

Greely hoped to answer, but never managed a shot and the Wildcats escaped with a 59-57 triumph.

Bagshaw scored 34 points, but the Rangers’ season ended at 15-5, as York got 21 points from Cummins, improved to 20-0 and advanced to meet No. 3 Falmouth (16-4) in the Class A South Final Friday at 8:15 p.m., at the Cross Insurance Arena.

“I’m really proud of these guys,” said Greely coach Travis Seaver. “We had a strong game plan. We struggled all year to find a game plan that fit everybody and execute it, but these guys were so confident. York’s a tough team and we knew that. We knew we’d get punched in the mouth and we wanted to punch back.”

Thrill a minute

York has enjoyed a season for the ages, as it won all 18 regular season games, then had its way with No. 8 Biddeford in Saturday’s quarterfinal round, 80-58.

Greely lost just three total games in its three-year title reign, but this season saw the Rangers come back to the pack a bit, losing four times (see sidebar, above, for links to previous stories).

Greely had no answer for York this winter, losing the opener Dec. 6 in Cumberland, 63-51, and falling again at York Feb. 4, 62-46.

The teams have met nine times previously in the tournament with the Rangers holding a 5-4 edge. The most recent encounter came in the 2017 Class A South semifinals, where Greely eked out a 59-54 victory.

Wednesday, in front of a raucous crowd, both teams rose to the occasion and traded blows, but just seconds from seeing their undefeated dream die, the Wildcats came through to advance.

Off the opening tip, Bernheisel set up Bagshaw for a layup, but the next 10 points went to York, as first senior captain Riley Linn, then Cummins drained 3s, senior captain Will MacDonald drove for a layup, then after a steal, Cummins set up junior Teagan Hynes for a layup and a quick 10-2 advantage.

Greely would settle down and get back in the game.

After Bagshaw made a layup, Cummins scored on a leaner, but a long 3-pointer from junior Luke Gabloff drew the Rangers within 12-7.

Hynes set up Linn on the fastbreak for a layup, but Bagshaw answered, driving and finishing with his left hand.

After Cummins made two free throws for his sixth and seventh points of the quarter, Bagshaw drove for a layup, then Bagshaw set up Bernheisel for a layup to pull Greely within 16-13 after eight entertaining minutes.

The contest remained taut in the second period as well.

After Cummins opened the frame with a layup, Bagshaw and Cummins traded 3-point shots before a putback from senior captain Riley Johnston put York on top, 23-16.

Butler then made his presence felt with two 3-pointers in a 38-second span before Bernheisel’s jumper put the Rangers up, 24-23.

Cummins answered with two foul shots, but Bagshaw broke the press and set up Bernheisel for a layup and Gabloff scored on a putback to give Greely a three-point advantage.

MacDonald answered with a layup, but Bagshaw sank a 3 before a Cummins free throw made it Rangers 31 Wildcats 28 at halftime.

Cummins (15 points) and Bagshaw (14) went toe-to-toe in the first half, but Bagshaw got a little more help, as six points apiece from Bernheisel and Butler allowed Greely to cling to the lead.

Greely senior Logan Bagshaw drives to the basket for two of his game-high 34 points.

The second half would be just as dramatic.

When Bagshaw opened the third quarter with a 3, then Bagshaw drove for a left-handed layup, the Rangers had their biggest lead, 36-28.

Back came York, as Hynes sank a 3 and MacDonald made two free throws.

After a baseline jumper from Bernheisel, MacDonald found Linn for a reverse layup.

Bagshaw made a free throw, but MacDonald made a leaner in the lane to cut the deficit to two.

After Bagshaw set up Bernheisel for a layup, Linn drained a 3 from the corner, Cummins put the Wildcats ahead with a short jumper, then after a Hynes steal, Cummins made a layup, but two Bagshaw free throws kept York’s lead at a single point, 44-43, heading to the fourth quarter.

And it would take all of the fourth period to determine the winner.

Bagshaw started the final stanza with a 3, but Wildcats’ senior Tom Coughlin, who hadn’t scored all night, drained consecutive 3s for a 50-46 advantage.

“Pretty much when I go in, I’m a scorer,” said Coughlin. “Coach puts me in to shoot and get that boost for my team.”

Bagshaw got a leaner to roll in, but MacDonald sank a free throw, then Coughlin made yet another 3 and with 4:06 left, Cummins raced in and slammed the ball home for a 56-48 lead, putting Greely on the ropes.

But the Rangers answered once more with a stirring 9-0 run.

The comeback was sparked by a Bernheisel layup off a Bagshaw feed. After a Butler steal, Bagshaw made a layup, then with 2:38 to go, Bagshaw’s jumper pulled Greely within two.

After the teams traded turnovers, Bagshaw gave the Rangers the lead for the final time, when he banked home a 3-pointer from up top with 1:21 on the clock.

The Greely bench erupts during Wednesday’s contest.

Greely’s 14th straight tournament win was within reach, but Bernheisel missed the front end of a one-and-one and MacDonald got the rebound.

York then transitioned to offense where it would will its way to the winning hoop.

After Linn missed a shot from the corner, Cummins tipped the ball off the glass, then got a finger on it again before it came to Donovan, who with 3.7 seconds left, managed to score on a putback while being fouled and at last, the Wildcats could somewhat exhale.

“I just crashed the rebound, that’s what you do,” Donovan said. “Honestly, I was just waiting for my time to shine.”

“It’s almost like a microcosm of who were are,” said York coach Paul Marquis. “Everyone was involved in that play. I’m confident with everyone taking that shot. I was confident Linn taking that shot, Brady tipping that shot. Teams win and we have some really good players.”

“This game’s funny,” Seaver said. “That ball could have bounced 100 different ways and we’d have a different conversation. Sometimes it goes your way and sometimes it doesn’t.”

Donovan added the free throw for a two-point lead, but the Rangers still had a chance to tie or win.

Bagshaw threw the ball in from the side to senior Andrew Lawrence, expecting to get it right back to race in for a shot.

But York knew full well what Greely had planned and Bagshaw was never allowed to touch the ball again.

“We were trying to get Logan the ball,” Seaver said. “He’s been our guy all year. We thought we had a couple different options, but in the moment, it happens. They did a good job taking it away from us.”

Instead, Lawrence hesitated, then passed to Bernheisel in the backcourt and before Bernheisel could even think about a desperation shot, the horn sounded and York had survived and advanced, 59-57.

York celebrates its victory.

Cummins paced the Wildcats with 21 points. He also had four rebounds and three assists.

Linn also finished in double figures with 10 points, to go with five rebounds. MacDonald had nine points and six reobunds. Coughlin made just three shots, but they were good for nine points. Hynes added five points, Donovan had three enormous points (and seven rebounds) and Johnston finished with two.

York had a 28-16 rebounding advantage, only turned the ball over 10 times and made 9-of-11 free throws.

“This was just an instant classic,” Marquis said. “We’ve harped on winning the mental battle all year long. You have to stay composed when teams make great plays. Props to Greely. Travis had a great game plan to slow us down and defend us in the full court. They made it tough on Will. They did a great job on everyone and played great defense and they had players who made some great plays”

Next up for York in its quest for its first regional title since 1999 and its first state championship since 1991 is Falmouth, which upset Kennebunk, 64-51, in Wednesday’s other semifinal.

The teams played a very close game Jan. 7 in Falmouth, which saw the Wildcats prevail, 68-63.

The Yachtsmen have won all five prior playoff meetings, including a 48-37 triumph in last year’s semifinals.

York knows it will be in for another challenge.

“Falmouth is well-coached, disciplined and they have tremendous shooters,” said Marquis. “Their point guard (junior Nicco Pitre) does a great job keeping them composed and patient. We’ll have to play well and I think they’d say that they have to play well against us.”

Bowing out like champs

Bagshaw, the most prolific scorer in the history of the wildly successful Greely program, had 34 points in his swan song, to go with seven rebounds and four assists.

“The way Logan played tonight, he’s a guy who’s shown he can play on both ends of the floor,” said Seaver. “He’s a special player and it’s been remarkable to coach him.”

Bernheisel added a dozen points.

“We tried to put Jakob in spots that were beneficial for us and he made some tough shots around the hoop,” said Seaver.

Butler had six points and Gabloff (three blocks) finished with five.

The Rangers took just five free throws, making three, and turned the ball over 11 times.

“There’s one game that we put together four quarters this year and we played our heart out and it was this game,” Bagshaw said. “It’s tough to take away from a game that you lost, but everyone played hard. We did what we were supposed to do and unfortunately it didn’t go our way.”

“We’ve come a long way,” Seaver said. “We’ve had so much success, but we had so many changes and we’ve grown. The seniors have been special. Every one of them had a part in it. We have great kids and kids who work hard.

Greely graduates Bagshaw, Bernheisel, Butler, Lawrence and Harrison McFarland and will have a very different look next winter.

“I have no idea what we’ll look like, but we’ll be ready next year,” Seaver said.

Portland Press Herald staff writer Steve Craig contributed to this story.

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

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