BOX SCORE

Falmouth 74 Gorham 47

G- 11 12 9 15- 47
F- 24 20 22 8- 74

G- Leclerc 5-0-14, C. Smith 4-0-10, Morrell 2-0-5, Sutton 2-0-5, Dillon 1-1-4, Michaud 2-0-4, Matheson 1-0-2, Nadeau 1-0-2, Luciano 0-1-1

F- Coyne 10-2-25, J. Stowell 7-1-19, Armstrong 6-0-13, L. Dilworth 3-2-9, Morrill 0-3-3, H. Stowell 1-0-3, Cameron 1-0-2

3-pointers:
G (9) Leclerc 4, C. Smith 2, Dillon, Morrell, Sutton 1
F (10) J. Stowell 4, Coyne 3, Armstrong, L. Dilworth, H. Stowell 1

Turnovers:
G- 14
F- 13

FTs
G: 2-8
F: 8-11

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FALMOUTH—Falmouth’s boys’ basketball team can kill you from the outside, but there are times that the Navigators can be deadly at the rim as well.

Or in the case of Thursday night’s home game against Gorham, above the rim.

Falmouth raced to an early 8-0 lead, but the Rams roared back with 11 points before the Navigators embarked on an 18-0 surge to seize control.

After senior Brady Coyne tied things up with a 3-pointer, junior Judd Armstrong sparked Falmouth with consecutive rousing slam dunks.

By the end of the first quarter, the Navigators held a 24-11 lead and by halftime, the score was 44-23.

Gorham tried to answer, but could never do so and Falmouth rolled to an impressive 74-47 victory.

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Coyne led all scorers with 25 points, senior Jack Stowell added 19 and Armstrong finished with 13 as the Navigators improved to 6-1, dropping the Rams to 1-6 in the process.

“We couldn’t score fast enough, so we brought it down a bit,” said longtime Falmouth coach Dave Halligan after his 551st career victory with the program. “You can’t just take the first available shot, which is what we were doing. Once we started sharing the ball, we’re pretty good because we have several scorers.”

Challenge accepted

Falmouth hasn’t shied away from playing teams from the state’s biggest class, believing it makes it that much stronger for the tournament and regardless of the opposition, the Navigators have consistently stepped up.

After starting with lopsided wins over visiting Biddeford (84-40), host Kennebunk (91-69) and visiting Marshwood (64-46), Falmouth met its match in Class AA favorite South Portland, falling on the road, 58-41, but the Navigators rebounded and defeated visiting Brunswick (93-55) and host Mt. Ararat (93-52).

Gorham started with an overtime loss to Windham (50-48). After falling to Sanford, 57-35, the Rams lost at the buzzer to Greely (52-51). Gorham got in the win column versus Scarborough (50-42), then was beaten by Thornton Academy (68-48) and Bonny Eagle (44-29).

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Falmouth and Gorham once squared off regularly in the Western Maine Conference, but Thursday’s contest was the teams’ first official encounter since Feb. 25, 2005, when the Rams beat the then-Yachtsmen, 71-46, in the Western Class B Final at the Augusta Civic Center.

This time around, Falmouth couldn’t be stopped.

Falmouth senior Brady Coyne drives on Gorham sophomore Ashton Leclerc early in the Navigators’ 74-47 victory. Hoffer photos.

The first quarter was one of runs and the first surge went the Navigators’ way, as Coyne raced in for a layup off the opening tip, Coyne took a pass from Stowell in transition and sank a 3, senior Zach Morrill hit a free throw and a driving layup from Armstrong made it 8-0 just 81 seconds in.

But back came Gorham, which got on the board on a 3-pointer from sophomore Ashton Leclerc, then got a layup from freshman Wyatt Nadeau, a tying 3-ball from sophomore Caden Smith and a transition 3 from Leclerc for an 11-8 lead, forcing Halligan to call timeout.

It paid immediate dividends, as first Coyne tied the score with a 3-pointer from the corner, then, with 2:29 left in the opening stanza, Armstrong drove the lane, the sea parted and he soared for a slam dunk to put Falmouth on top to stay.

“Getting dunks gets the team going and the crowd fired up,” Armstrong said. “I saw no one below the rim and I just took advantage of it.”

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The Navigators then got a defensive stop, the ball came to Coyne and Coyne passed ahead to Armstrong, who again raced in to slam it home, causing an even bigger reaction from his teammates and fans.

“That was just a great pass and a wide-open dunk,” Armstrong said.

“I love when Judd dunks the ball,” said Coyne. “Whenever he’s open, I want him to dunk it. When Judd’s open in transition, our goal is to get him the ball to make the defense pay.”

The fun was just beginning for the hosts, as before the first quarter ended, Coyne set up Stowell for a 3, Stowell drained another 3 in transition, then Stowell made a layup while being fouled and added the and-one free-throw for an old-fashioned three-point play, capping a 16-0 run for a 24-11 advantage after eight minutes.

“We wanted to get better looks,” Coyne said. “We didn’t want any poor shots.”

Falmouth continued to pour it on in the second period.

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Just 12 seconds in, after a steal by junior Lucas Dilworth, Stowell capped the 18-0 surge with a layup.

A runner in the lane from Leclerc ended the Rams’ 4-minute, 6-second scoring drought, but Coyne countered with a 3, then Coyne sank two foul shots.

After Smith knocked down a 3 for Gorham, Morrill made two free throws and Coyne drove for a layup.

Senior Dylan Morrell countered with a 3 for the visitors, but Coyne hit a jumper.

After a bank shot from Rams sophomore Gabe Michaud, Dilworth drove for a layup, Dilworth drove for another layup, then Stowell knocked down a 3 before a floater from Smith cut Falmouth’s lead to a healthy 44-23 at the break.

In the first 16 minutes, Coyne stuffed the stat sheet to the tune of 17 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals, while Stowell added 14 points.

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The Navigators never let up in the second half either.

Gorham freshman Wyatt Nadeau is closely defended by Falmouth sophomore Chris Simonds.

After a Smith jumper opened the third quarter scoring, Coyne drove for consecutive layups and a 48-25 advantage. Leclerc countered with a 3, but Coyne made a jump shot.

After a bank shot from Michaud, Falmouth erupted for 10 points in 98 seconds, as Dilworth set up Armstrong for a layup, Stowell sank a long 3, Coyne set up Armstrong for a 3 in transition and Coyne drove for a layup.

“It’s not all about scoring,” said Coyne. “Getting my teammates involved gets me open and helps us win.”

“Brady can do a lot of things, which is what you want your stars to do,” Halligan said.

After junior Tyler Matheson got two points back for the Rams with a layup, Stowell drove for a layup, Armstrong did the same, then junior Finn Cameron converted a leaner to send the Navigators to the fourth period up, 66-32.

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In the final stanza, Gorham got a 3-ball from junior Quinn Dillon and another from Leclerc, but Dilworth countered with a 3 for Falmouth.

After a free throw from Dillon, senior John Sutton made a layup, then sank a 3 for the Rams.

The Navigators’ final points came on a 3-point shot from sophomore Henry Stowell before a free throw from Gorham senior Ian Luciano and a layup from Morrell brought the curtain down on Falmouth’s 74-47 victory.

“Gorham’s different,” Halligan said. ‘I knew they’d work hard and be organized. They’re very young. I think they’ll be very good going forward.”

Coyne led all scorers with 25 points and he also had seven rebounds, five assists and three steals.

Jack Stowell had 19 points and five rebounds.

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Armstrong continued his emergence as a star with 13 points, four rebounds, three assists and a blocked shot.

“I just want to move the ball around, take good shots and playing defense is also a big part of my game,” Armstrong said.

“Judd is a jack-of-all-trades,” Halligan said. “We put him on the other team’s best player. He can play inside or outside and handle the ball. He’s really worked on his game.”

Dilworth came off the bench and produced per usual with nine points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals. Morrill added three points (to go with 11 rebounds), Henry Stowell had three points and Cameron finished with two.

The Navigators out-rebounded the Rams, 45-27, made 8 of 11 foul shots and only turned the ball over 13 times.

Gorham’s effort was led by Leclerc, who made four 3-pointers and finished with 14 points. Smith added 10 points, six rebounds and four assists, Morrell and Sutton each contributed five points, Dillon and Michaud had four apiece, Matheson and Nadeau each finished with two and Luciano had one.

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The Rams made just 2 of 8 free throws and committed 14 turnovers.

Rivals await

Gorham is back in action Tuesday, when undefeated South Portland pays a visit. The Rams also welcome Noble and Massabesic next week.

Falmouth was scheduled to host Morse Saturday, but that game has been postponed. Instead, the Navigators return to action Tuesday of next week at rival Greely. Falmouth visits Marshwood next Friday.

“We just have to work hard in practice and our mental toughness will be huge,” Armstrong said.

“We know we need to be consistent,” Coyne said. “We know we’ll have some good teams coming up we’ll have to play better against. Class AA teams are tough teams to beat.”

“I think we’re making progress,” Halligan added. “There’s no rhythm to this season. You have to adjust to the conditions and control the things you can control. We just want to get better by the end.”

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

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