BOX SCORE

Yarmouth 40 Greely 30

G- 2 8 11 9- 30
Y- 12 6 8 14- 40

G- Coyne 4-2-10, St. Hilaire 4-0-8, Cloutier 2-0-6, Gardner 2-0-4, Walker 1-0-2

Y- Psyhogeos 3-6-13, Waeldner 5-0-11, Augur 3-0-8, Hagedorn 1-0-3, Walsh 1-0-3, Dawes 1-0-2

3-pointers:
G (2) Cloutier 2
Y (6) Augur 2, Hagedorn, Psyhogeos, Waeldner, Walsh 1

Turnovers:
G- 16
Y- 8

FTs
G: 2-4
Y: 6-7

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YARMOUTH—Yarmouth’s boys’ basketball team remains undefeated.

Because it’s a team.

And everyone wearing a Clippers uniform does something to help their team to victory.

Especially on the defensive end.

Saturday afternoon at Jack Stroud Memorial Gymnasium, while senior standouts Peter Psyhogeos and Matt Waeldner were held somewhat in check by visiting rival Greely, three unheralded players stepped up with enormous plays in the fourth quarter to help Yarmouth lock up a win.

The Clippers appeared poised to run away and hide when they led, 12-2, after one quarter and 18-10 at halftime, but the Rangers, paced by senior Dee Martin Coyne’s dominance on the glass, pulled within 26-21 after three periods, then scored the first six points of the fourth quarter to lead for the first time.

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But it didn’t last.

With 5:09 to play, senior Sutter Augur calmly buried a 3 to put Yarmouth ahead to stay.

With 2:17 on the clock and Greely down only a point, 31-30, junior Nate Hagedorn made his lone shot of the night, a 3-pointer, to make it a two possession game.

Then, in the final minute, with the contest still very much up in the air, after a missed free throw by Psyhogeos, unheralded senior reserve Jack McCosh gave up his body, slid across the floor, snared the ball and got it back to Psyhogeos and Psyhogeos put it away at the line as the Clippers went on to a 40-30 victory.

Psyhogeos had a game-high 13 points, well below his average, but Yarmouth, thanks in large part to a tremendous 32-minute defensive effort, improved to 7-0 and in the process, dropped the Rangers to 4-4.

“I think we’re a pretty good defensive team, but this was a different level, so I give the guys credit,” said Clippers coach Jonas Allen. “Defense is what we focus on. It’s the brand of our program and our guys took it to a different level tonight.”

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Litmus test

Greely and Yarmouth each expect to be championship contenders this winter and haven’t disappointed.

Yarmouth needed overtime in the opener to survive visiting York in a thriller, 55-54. The Clippers then held on for a 48-38 win at Lake Region before downing host Mt. Ararat, 53-29, visiting Westbrook (62-48), host Wells (45-34) and visiting Fryeburg Academy (52-32).

Greely, meanwhile, held off visiting Fryeburg Academy (69-63) in its opener, then edged host Brunswick at the buzzer (62-61), held off host Gray-New Gloucester (62-57) and beat visiting Gorham at the horn (52-51) before losing at home to York (69-55). Tuesday, the Rangers were defeated in overtime by visiting Freeport (70-58). Thursday, Greely fell at York, 62-52.

The teams played twice a year ago, with the host Rangers rallying for a dramatic 74-66 overtime victory before the Clippers returned the favor with a 64-31 win in Yarmouth.

Saturday, the Clippers led most of the way, but couldn’t fully exhale until the final horn.

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Yarmouth’s couldn’t have asked for a better start, as Psyhogeos collected the ball off the opening tip, then passed ahead to Waeldner for a layup just three seconds in.

It took until 3:21 remained in the quarter for Greely to get on the board, as Coyne made a layup, but that would be it for Rangers’ offense in the quarter.

With 2:10 to go, the Clippers snapped a 5-minute, 47-second scoring drought when Augur made a 3.

Waeldner added a leaner in the lane, Psyhogeos scored his first points on a putback, then, after a steal, Waeldner got the ball back and hit a buzzer-beating 3 for a 12-2 advantage.

Coyne tried to get Greely back in the game when the second period began with consecutive putbacks, then senior Andrew St. Hilaire added a floater to cut the deficit to four, but Psyhogeos countered with a 3, then Psyhogeos set up junior Stevie Walsh for another 3 and an 18-8 lead.

Late in the half, Coyne made two free throws, yet Yarmouth appeared in control at the break.

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But the Clippers hadn’t delivered a knockout blow and the Rangers crept closer in the third quarter.

Coyne started the second half with a layup, but Waeldner answered with a one-handed floater.

Senior Max Cloutier then hit a 3 for the visitors, but just after subbing into the game, sophomore Justin Dawes drove for a layup and a 22-15 Yarmouth advantage.

After St. Hilaire drove for a layup and Augur countered with a jump shot in the lane, a jumper from senior Liam Gardner and a St. Hilaire layup (off a pass from Gardner) pulled Greely within one possession, 24-21.

The Clippers got a little momentum back when Waeldner again beat the horn, making a layup off a pass from Psyhogeos after a steal, but the Rangers were poised to make a run at the lead when the fourth period began.

St. Hilaire started the final stanza with a putback, then Gardner made a layup and with 5:23 to go, a jump shot from junior Timmy Walker put Greely ahead for the first time, 27-26.

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The lead only lasted 14 seconds, however, as at the other end, Augur got the ball with room behind the 3-point stripe and he confidently soared, shot and found nothing but net.

“We weren’t panicking,” Augur said. “Somebody got into the paint and kicked it to me. I was open and I just let it fly and it went in. It felt good off my hand. Everyone on the team’s really supportive. I feel confident every time I take an open shot.”

“It’s about not hesitating,” said Allen. “We’ve talked about that so much. Just catching the ball and letting muscle memory do its job.”

With 4:33 to go, a Psyhogeos jumper put Yarmouth up four, but 21 seconds later, Cloutier buried a 3 to cut the deficit to 31-30.

That would be it for the Rangers’ offense, however.

After Greely missed multiple chances to take the lead, the Clippers got some breathing room with 2:17 on the clock, as Psyhogeos drew the defense, dished to Hagedorn in the corner, then Hagedorn buried the 3 for a four-point advantage.

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Junior Tyler Pettingill tried to answer for the Rangers, but Psyhogeos blocked the shot and was fouled.

Psyhogeos then missed the front end of a one-and-one, but the rebound was knocked back toward midcourt where out of nowhere, McCosh, who spent most of his night trying to slow Coyne, gave up his body, slid, got possession, then passed the ball to Psyhogeos before a traveling violation could be called.

“I knew I just needed the ball to get it back to Peter, because he’s a shooter,” McCosh said. “I just wanted to keep the boys buzzing.”

“I just saw Jack lay out for the ball,” said Psyhogeos. “That was just a great play. He’s a big, physical guy who’s willing to do whatever it takes for the team to win.”

With 25.8 seconds on the clock, Psyhogeos went back to the line and this time, he hit both ends of the one-and-one.

Psyhogeos then came up huge on the defensive end again, blocking a St. Hilaire shot, and Psyhogeos came down with the ball and was fouled again.

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With 14 seconds remaining, two Psyhogeos foul shots essentially ended the competitive phase of the contest and then after Psyhogeos forced a Greely turnover, he made two more free throws to put the finishing touches on the 40-30 victory.

“I think our defense was the difference,” said Psyhogeos. “We knew Greely is a good shooting team and we had to key in on that. Playing tough on the defensive end helped us win. We didn’t want to get in a scoring battle with them. We just did what we had to do to win.”

“I think it shows that we’re a really tough team,” Augur said. “That’s really changed in my four years. I’m excited to finish out this year terrifying teams with our defense.”

“I would say recently all we’ve done is win ugly,” Allen added. “I’ll never be surprised when Greely comes back. Coach (Travis) Seaver does such a great job and they have so much pride. They never give up. We knew they were coming, especially with our inability to find an offensive rhythm. Fortunately, we didn’t fold.”

Psyhogeos wasn’t his usual prolific scoring self, but he still had a game-high 13 points. Psyhogeos also had 12 rebounds for a double-double, four assists, three steals and a pair of huge blocks.

“It’s not about the points I score, but getting the win, so I’m thankful my teammates hit big shots,” Psyhogeos said. “There were some big shots hit by Sutter and Nate.”

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“Pete on any given night can score 30, but tonight, you saw what an incredible all-around player and leader he is,” said Allen. “He just wants to win.”

Waeldner added 11 points and seven steals, Augur had eight points and nine rebounds, Hagedorn and Walsh both had three points and Dawes added two points. McCosh didn’t score, but grabbed five rebounds (including the biggest of the game) and two steals.

“I knew I needed to bring energy and toughness,” McCosh said. “Shout out to Jonas. He switched up our defense. I just wanted to get in front of (Coyne).”

“Jack changed the game,” Allen said. “Coyne was killing us in the first half. He was just out-toughing us, but McCosh went in and met him head on. He stepped up as well as anyone. He didn’t score a point tonight and he hasn’t scored this year, but what our program values is starring in your role. He was just a warrior tonight. Everyone in the locker room knows that.”

Yarmouth had a 36-35 edge in rebounds, made 6 of 7 free throws and only committed eight turnovers.

Greely got a double-double from Coyne, who had 10 points and a game-high 18 rebounds.

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“Coyne played well and that was part of our plan tonight,” said Seaver. “We thought we could get him around the basket.”

St. Hilaire added eight points and four assists, Cloutier had six points, Gardner four and Walker two.

The Rangers made 2 of 4 free throws and turned the ball over 16 times.

“We came into the fourth quarter where we wanted to be and late in the fourth, we were still pretty good,” Seaver said. “Defensively, we did what we wanted to do, but we couldn’t find the bucket all game. We just couldn’t buy a basket.”

Buckle up

Greely hopes to end its four-game skid next week, but the Rangers face the daunting task of hosting powerhouse Falmouth Tuesday, then welcome Lake Region Thursday.

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“It’s been a tough week and it doesn’t get any easier with Falmouth next,” said Seaver. “The kids are competing, which is all I can ask for. We know what we need to work on and we just have to see if we can accomplish it.”

Yarmouth looks to stay perfect Tuesday when it hosts a very talented Leavitt squad. The Clippers then travel to Waynflete Thursday and go to Brunswick Jan. 17.

“It’s wicked fun to play,” said McCosh. “Last year’s season ended early. We’re back now and we’re loving every minute of it.”

“We just have to show up and stay humble and keep improving,” said Augur. “We have to make sure we’re playing our best basketball in February.”

“We haven’t won anything yet and we know we have to keep working,” Psyhogeos said. “We’re winning close games because of our defense and chemistry. Leavitt will be a huge test Tuesday. We just have to keep working.”

“This year, it’s going to be about who’s healthy at the right time,” Allen added. “Right now, we’re thankful for any game we get to play. We’re just hoping we can stay healthy.

“No one has to bring us back to earth. We know every night is a battle. There aren’t any easy games for us.”

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

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