BOX SCORE

Falmouth 79 Greely 47

F- 14 31 17 17- 79
G- 13 10 12 12- 47

F- Armstrong 9-1-19, Coyne 8-1-19, Stowell 4-3-14, Simonds 5-0-11, Morrill 2-2-7, Dilworth 2-1-5, Cowperthwaite 2-0-4

G- St. Hilaire 4-2-12, Walker 3-0-9, Baldacci 3-0-6, Raftice 2-2-6, MacArthur 2-1-5, Coyne 0-3-3, Gardner 1-0-2, Kouth 1-0-2, Pettengill 1-0-2

3-pointers:
F (7) Stowell 3, Coyne 2, Morrill, Simonds 1
G (5) Walker 3, St. Hilaire 2

Turnovers:
F-9
G- 21

FTs
F: 8-9
G: 8-14

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CUMBERLAND—If there was any lingering doubt if Falmouth’s boys’ basketball team was the clear favorite in Class A South, it was dispelled in a staggering second quarter display Saturday evening at Greely.

The Navigators only led the Rangers by a point, 14-13, after one period, but Falmouth flipped the switch as only it can and by halftime, the score was 45-23, thanks to a dominant display on the offensive glass and a defensive effort which forced Greely to commit turnover after turnover.

Greely hoped to make a second half run, but never got closer than 20 points, as the Navigators were up, 62-35, after three quarters before going on to a 79-47 victory.

Falmouth forced 22 turnovers, tallied 30 offensive rebounds, got 19 points apiece from senior Brady Coyne and junior Judd Armstrong and 14 more from senior Jack Stowell as it improved to 13-2, dropping the Rangers to 8-7 in the process.

“We just picked it up, we started sharing the ball and things opened up,” said longtime Navigators coach Dave Halligan. “Usually, when you increase intensity on defense, the offense comes alive.”

Setting the standard

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Falmouth has been the team to beat in the region since it opened with lopsided wins over visiting Biddeford (84-40), host Kennebunk (91-69) and visiting Marshwood (64-46), before meeting its match against Class AA favorite South Portland, falling on the road, 58-41. The Navigators then rebounded and defeated visiting Brunswick (93-55), host Mt. Ararat (93-52) and visiting Gorham (74-47) before having games versus Morse, Greely, Marshwood and Westbrook postponed during a COVID pause. Falmouth returned to action with a 47-44 loss at Portland, then, the Navigators handled host Marshwood (57-49) and Brunswick (90-46) before rallying for a stirring 73-71, buzzer-beating home victory over reigning Class AA South champion Thornton Academy, which was followed by wins at home over Mt. Ararat (75-35) and Morse (66-46) and at Biddeford (76-56).

Greely began its high-wire act of a season by beating visiting Fryeburg Academy (69-63) in its opener, then it 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). The Rangers were then defeated in overtime by visiting Freeport (70-58), fell at York, 62-52, and lost at Yarmouth (40-30) and Cape Elizabeth (65-51) before turning things around with a 57-54 win at Poland, which was followed by a 53-52 victory at Wells, a 51-41 home victory over Yarmouth, a 59-55 loss at Fryeburg Academy and Wednesday’s come-from-behind 64-60 home win over Lake Region.

The teams played twice in last year’s COVID-shortened season and Falmouth took both decisively, 77-47 in Cumberland and 85-32 at home, snapping Greely’s six-year, 10-game run in the series.

Saturday, the Navigators rolled again, even if it took a little while to gain separation.

Falmouth sophomore Chris Simonds looks to set a screen on Greely senior Liam Gardner as Navigators senior Brady Coyne drives during Falmouth’s 79-47 victory Saturday. Hoffer photo.

The Rangers scored first, as senior Timmy Walker drained a 3-pointer.

Armstrong scored Falmouth’s first points, on a putback, but senior Andrew St. Hilaire made two foul shots for an early 5-2 lead.

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That’s as good as it would get for Greely, however, as unheralded Navigators senior Zach Morrill tied it with a 3, then Armstrong scored on another putback to give the visitors the lead for the first time.

Greely got a free throw from senior Dee Coyne, followed by a long St. Hilaire 3 before an Armstrong layup after a steal tied it, 9-9.

With 1:30 left in the opening stanza, a St. Hilaire layup put the Rangers ahead for the last time, as Armstrong countered seven seconds later with an old-fashioned three-point play (layup, foul, free throw) to put Falmouth ahead to stay.

Brady Coyne then stole the ball, leading to an Armstrong layup before Greely pulled within 14-13 on a leaner from junior Hayden MacArthur.

But any good feelings Greely might have had were quickly eradicated by a breathtaking Navigators’ surge.

Morrill set the tone with a three-point play eight seconds into the second quarter and sophomore Chris Simonds added a 3-point shot. Simonds scored on a putback and Stowell scored his first points, from behind the 3-point arc, to cap a quick 11-0 run for a 25-13 advantage.

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The Rangers hoped to stem the tide when St. Hilaire got a runner to rattle in, but Armstrong drove for a layup, Armstrong made a layup after a turnover, Stowell found Simonds for a layup and with 4:25 left before halftime, Simonds set up junior Lucas Dilworth for a three-point play to cap a 25-4 surge, good for a 34-15 lead.

Falmouth wasn’t done, as after Walker hit a 3 for the hosts, Stowell drove for a layup and after a layup from MacArthur, Simonds banked home a shot, Coyne hit a 3 after his teammates kept possession alive four different times with offensive rebounds, junior Eli Cowperthwaite scored on a putback and Armstrong drove and banked home a shot for an overwhelming 45-20 advantage.

“I think our halfcourt press really worked this game,” said Armstrong. “We got a lot of steals and easy points on open layups. We have a lot of big, athletic players. A team like Greely doesn’t have that many tall players and we took advantage of it. Everyone crashed the boards.”

St. Hilaire hit a late 3, but the damage was done.

Armstrong had a sensational half, scoring 17 points, while adding six rebounds and three steals. Falmouth grabbed 21 offensive rebounds and forced Greely to give the ball away 15 times.

“Second quarter, we came with pressure and got offensive rebounds,’ Halligan said.

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Junior Seamus Raftice opened the second half with a layup, but there would be no rally for the Rangers.

Stowell answered with a 3 and after Gardner made a jumper, Coyne answered with one of his own for a 50-27 advantage.

Walker hit a 3 for Greely, but the next 10 points went to the Navigators, as Stowell set up Coyne for a layup on the fastbreak, Stowell found Coyne for another layup, Coyne drained a 3, then Stowell hit a 3-ball as well and Falmouth had doubled up the Rangers, 60-30.

Dee Coyne answered for Greely with two free throws, then MacArthur hit another. Simonds scored on a putback for the visitors before a driving layup from senior Matiang Kouth made it 62-35 after three.

The competitive phase of the contest was over, but both teams played hard in the final stanza.

Brady Coyne got things started with a three-point play, then Armstrong finished at the rim and Stowell was fouled while shooting a 3-pointer and made all three subsequent free throws to stretch the lead to 70-35.

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Junior Tyler Pettengill answered for the hosts with a runner, then senior Edward Baldacci scored on a leaner before Coyne scored on a reverse layup to make it 72-39.

Raftice then made a layup and added two foul shots before Coyne scored his final points on a putback.

After a Baldacci layup, Morrill made one free throw and Dilworth drove for a layup.

Baldacci then scored Greely’s final points on a layup before a layup from Cowperthwaite accounted for the 79-47 final score.

“This was good because it was a good crowd,” Halligan said. “Crowds will be like this in the tournament, so it’s an important experience.”

Armstrong excelled, scoring 19 points, grabbing six rebounds, registering three steals and two assists.

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Brady Coyne came to life in the second half and also finished with 19 points, as well as eight rebounds and three steals.

Stowell posted 14 points. He also had six rebounds, four assists and two steals.

Simonds (11 points) also reached double digits and had nine rebounds.

Morrill added seven points (as well as eight rebounds and two steals), Dilworth five points (to go with five rebounds, four assists and three steals) and Cowperthwaite four points.

Falmouth dominated on the glass to the tune of a 47-24 advantage, with 30 coming on the offensive end. The Navigators made 8-of-9 free throw attempts and only committed nine turnovers.

Greely was led by St. Hilaire, who had a dozen points, three assists and three rebounds.

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Walker added nine points and five rebounds, Baldacci and Raftice had six points apiece, MacArthur five, Coyne (seven boards) three and Gardner, Kouth and Pettengill two apiece.

The Rangers made 8-of-14 free throws and turned the ball over 22 times.

“Falmouth’s good and they took away the things we had to take away from them to be successful,” Greely coach Travis Seaver said. “It doesn’t matter who you’re playing, you can’t give up (rebounds and turnovers) like that to be successful. We did what we wanted to do in the first quarter, then the wheels fell off a little bit. Our biggest goal was to make adjustments and try to identify what we weren’t doing well. It didn’t come down to ability. We had to keep them off the glass and not throw the ball away. Not to take anything away from them, we can be more prepared for that kind of pressure.”

Hectic finish

Each team plays three games in four days next week to finish the regular season.

Greely (ranked fourth in Class A South) is at Freeport Monday, then hosts Gray-New Gloucester Wednesday and Wells Thursday.

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“You want to learn as much as you can during the season and the nice part is we learned a lot tonight,” Seaver said. “It’s the first time we’ve seen (Falmouth) in person. Hopefully we’ll make some adjustments and see them again (in the tournament). The goal is to play our best in a couple weeks.”

Falmouth hosts Westbrook Monday, goes to Westbrook Tuesday, then closes at home versus Kennebunk Thursday.

“I think we’re getting better and better,” Armstrong said. “I’m looking forward to the tournament.”

“We need to practice,” Halligan said. “We’re much better after we practice. I feel good. We just need to play our game and we’ll be fine.”

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

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