AUGUSTA — Waynflete is normally the team that makes the big steal or the big basket. That’s why the Flyers entered the Class C South championship game with a 19-1 record.

Saturday night, however, it was top-seeded Winthrop that made the biggest plays en route to a second consecutive regional title, beating the Flyers 39-30 at the Augusta Civic Center.

Winthrop (20-1) moves on to the state final next Saturday in Augusta against Dexter (21-0).

The Ramblers will be making their eighth trip to the state finals. They have won four state championships, including last year.

Second-seeded Waynflete (19-2) was trying to reached the state final for the first time since in 2016, when it defeated Winthrop in overtime in the regional final.

This one was tied at 28-28 for nearly half the fourth quarter, before Gavin Perkins’ steal and fast-break basket gave Winthrop a 30-28 lead with 3:12 to go.

Waynflete didn’t score again until the final minute, and Cam Hachey made 9 of 10 free throws to clinch the victory.

“That was the game-changer right there,” Waynflete Coach Rich Henry said of Perkins’ steal. “We’ve been in close games like this before and usually, with our length, we’re the ones on defense getting those steals. Credit to Winthrop.”

Hachey, who also hit three 3-pointers, led all scorers with 19 points. He was the only player in double figures.

Diraige Dahia and Jared Johnson led Waynflete with eight points apiece. Dominick Campbell scored seven.

The Flyers shot 38 percent but also committed 18 turnovers. They scored only 11 points in the second half, four in the final quarter.

“We couldn’t get into a flow, but we should be clear why that was: Winthrop did a great job defensively,” Henry said. “They’re always up in the passing lanes. They make it very difficult.

“We got sped up by them. We don’t usually (make that many turnovers). Some of them were rushed turnovers. We usually are able to settle down. But it’s an exciting time. It’s a nerve-wracking time, and that’s part of it.”

Winthrop also had some nerves. The Ramblers made one field goal in the first quarter.

“We always start a little slow, and then we get going,” said Perkins, who scored eight points.

Part of Winthrop’s problem was Waynflete’s size, with the 6-foot-8 Campbell (five blocks) and 6-5 Solomon Levy (four blocks).

Also, one of the Ramblers’ best scorers, 6-foot-5 forward Ryan Baird, left the game because of a leg injury late in the first quarter.

But the Ramblers only trailed 7-4 because of their defense. Waynflete kept the lead at halftime, 19-15.

The game went back-and-forth in the third quarter, with Winthrop taking a 27-26 lead.

Then Perkins came up with the most crucial play in the fourth.

“I had (a near steal) earlier and just missed it,” Perkins said. “I was trying to locate it again and get the steal and finish it.”

He did. And Winthrop is returning to the state championship game.

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