WESTBROOK—An improbable shot sent Westbrook’s boys’ basketball team on its way to another impressive victory Thursday evening when the reigning Class B champion Yarmouth Clippers paid the Blue Blazes a visit.

The lead changed hands five times in the first quarter, but in the final seconds, Westbrook got an old-fashioned three-point play from senior Kolbyn Dunphe, then junior Aiden Taylor stole the ball and threw up a prayer from beyond halfcourt at the horn and it found nothing but net for a 19-12 lead and a huge dose of momentum.

The Clippers refused to fold in the second period and were only down five, 27-22, at the break, but the Blue Blazes, thanks to their depth, willingness to share the ball and ability to hold on to it, gradually stretched their lead to 48-35 after three periods before going on to a 57-42 win.

Dunphe led all scorers with 16 points, Taylor added 11 and Westbrook made it three straight victories and improved to 5-1 on the year while dropping Yarmouth to 2-2 in the process.

“The great thing about this team is we’re so unselfish,” said Blue Blazes coach Bryan Hoy. “No one in the locker room cares how many points they score as long as we have the most points at the end.”

Learning opportunity


Yarmouth won the Class B championship in epic fashion a year ago, but graduated program cornerstones Peter Psyhogeos and Matt Waeldner, then saw coach Jonas Allen step down following the season.

Former assistant Ilunga Mutombo has taken over and has a team that’s capable of making a deep run again. The Clippers started with a hard-fought 40-37 loss at York, then defeated visiting Mt. Ararat (49-31) and host Lake Region (57-54).

Westbrook, meanwhile, is viewed as a team to watch this year in Class A South and the Blue Blazes have lived up to early billing, beating Brunswick (62-47) and Fryeburg Academy (71-42), losing a close home game to Class AA North power Cheverus (58-51), then knocking off Cape Elizabeth (60-50) and Kennebunk (77-72, in overtime).

A year ago, host Yarmouth defeated Westbrook, 62-48, in the teams’ first-ever countable meeting.

Thursday was a different story, as the Blue Blazes continued to surge.

Yarmouth senior Liam Hickey prevents Westbrook senior Quincy Seavey from feeding the ball to senior Kolbyn Dunphe as senior Nate Hagedorn defends during the Blue Blazes’ 57-42 victory Thursday night. Hoffer photos.

The Clippers scored first, as junior Evan Hamm banked home a runner 14 seconds in.


A bank shot from Taylor tied the score before senior Stevie Walsh scored on a runner to put the visitors back on top.

Senior Ben Eugley scored on a putback for Westbrook and after junior Justin Dawes countered with a putback of his own for Yarmouth, senior Kelson Custodio made a free throw and junior Jackson Young drove and finished a finger roll to give the Blue Blazes their first lead, 7-6.

After Hamm drove for a layup, another Eugley putback gave Westbrook the lead again before senior Nate Hagedorn drained a jumper with 2:02 to go for the Clippers’ final advantage, 10-9.

Twenty-five seconds later, Dunphe set up senior Quincy Seavey for a backdoor layup and the Blue Blazes were on top to stay.

Dunphe added a driving leaner, but Walsh scored on a putback and Yarmouth appeared primed to end the frame down just one.

But instead, Westbrook finished the quarter in dizzying style.


First, Dunphe drove for a layup while being fouled and he added the and-one free throw with 4.7 seconds remaining.

The Clippers then tried to answer, but threw the ball directly to Taylor, who didn’t hesitate, letting fly from beyond halfcourt and after the horn sounded, the ball found its target for an improbable 19-12 advantage.

“Honestly, it was just a prayer,” Taylor said. “It was probably the luckiest shot I’ll have all season. It felt good sailing and I was just hoping it would go in.”

“That was huge,” Hoy said. “(Aiden) forced a turnover, then just threw one in.”

“That shifted momentum,” Mutombo said. “I tell my guys whenever we play an away game, we have to go into it like we’re down 10 points and after that we almost were.”

Despite the momentum swing, Yarmouth didn’t buckle, as junior Jack Janczuk scored on a putback and after a bank shot from Blue Blazes senior Micah Lombardo, Hagedorn hit a 3 to cut the deficit to just four, 21-17.


A jumper from Dunphe and a driving layup from Lombardo forced Mutombo to call timeout and the Clippers closed the half strong.

After Walsh hit a jumper from the elbow, Dunphe drove and finished a reverse layup, but after junior Zach Kelly made a free throw, Dawes drove for a layup and Yarmouth went to the break down just five, 27-22.

Westbrook senior Kolbyn Dunphe looks to pass as Yarmouth senior Liam Hickey defends.

Westbrook then got some breathing room in the third quarter.

First, Dunphe set up Taylor for a layup.

After Walsh found Hamm for a layup, Taylor made a layup, Taylor set up Eugley for a layup, then with 5:21 remaining, Custodio drove and made a highlight-reel reverse layup to make the score 35-24.

The Clippers pulled back within six, as Hagedorn hit a 3 and Hamm banked home a shot, but Young got a 3 from the corner to bank in.


After another Hagedorn 3 made it a six-point contest again, 38-32, Young made another 3 and Dunphe hit a jumper for a double-digit advantage again.

Hamm countered with a 3, but in the final minute, Lombardo made a 3 from the corner, then Dunphe converted a leaner to make it 48-35 heading for the final stanza.

Where, the Blue Blazes finished it off.

Dunphe began the fourth period with a three-point play and after Hagedorn made his final 3, a Lombardo layup made it 53-38. Dawes hit a bank shot, but Custodio set up Taylor for a layup, then Custodio went coast-to-coast for a layup and Westbrook’s final points.

Hamm scored one final basket, a layup, but it was far too-little, too-late and the Blue Blazes ran out the clock on their 57-42 victory, which sped by so quickly and efficiently that only 58 real time minutes were required.

“Previous games, we had good starts, then we let off the gas,” Taylor said. “We talked about not letting that happen. We had to keep going. We were consistent. We got it done. They came us with a 2-3 (zone). We’re not as consistent at beating that yet, but good teams find ways to win and that’s what we did.”


“We stayed level,” said Hoy. “We’re getting more confident. We’re becoming a much better defensive team. Our help-side defense did a great job tonight. When (Yarmouth) got dribble penetration, we shut them down.”

Dunphe led all scorers with 16 points and he also dished out six assists.

Taylor not only had the shot of the game, he also scored 11 points, added seven rebounds and had three assists.

Lombardo finished with nine points, Young had eight, Eugley six, Custodio five and Seavey two.

Westbrook only turned the ball over four times and hit 3-of-5 free throw attempts.

“We were really consistent today not turning the ball over,” Hoy said. “We had 19 assists and four turnovers. When you have that kind of discrepancy, you’ll win a lot of games.”


For Yarmouth, Hagedorn led the way with 14 points and seven rebounds. Hamm added 13 points, eight blocked shots and six rebounds. Dawes finished with six points and four boards, Walsh had six points, 10 rebounds and four assists, Janczuk tallied two points and Kelly one.

The Clippers, who had to play without senior point guard Matt Gautreau, who was ill, out-rebounded the Blue Blazes, 32-27, made 1-of-4 free throws and only committed 10 turnovers.

“Westbrook’s a good team,” Mutombo said. “We were short-handed and I expected a tough game. Not having (Matt) tonight really hurt us, because he controls the pace.

“We learned a lot about ourselves tonight. A game like this allows you to understand who you are and how you measure up against other teams. We gave ourselves a chance, but their physicality and strength were too much as the game went on.”

Flipping the calendar

Both teams now say goodbye to 2022 and move on to the new year where big things await.


Westbrook looks to extend its win streak when it goes to Biddeford Tuesday. The Blue Blazes then have a showdown at Class AA South contender Bonny Eagle next Thursday before returning home to meet Kennebunk.

“We have a positive attitude on and off the court,” said Taylor. “Coach Hoy and our whole program has done a lot of things in the community that are positive. Our seniors are so positive and are amazing leaders.

“I think we’re going to keep going. We want to have a deep playoff run. We just have to keep working hard. Bonny Eagle will probably be our toughest game of the season, but we’re having so much fun.”

“This is one of the better teams in any sport that I’ve coached,” Hoy said. “They come to practice ready to work every single day. We’re getting better every single day in practice. Next week is a big week for us. Bonny Eagle will be tough. Biddeford is never easy down there, then Kennebunk will want revenge for the overtime win we got.”

Yarmouth is also back in action Tuesday when Wells pays a visit.

“We’re definitely right there,” Mutombo said. “We’re still finding our identity after losing so much from last year. I love this team. We’ll grow from this and be better next time we go out. We want to peak at the right time in January and February.”

Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

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