YARMOUTH—Matt Gautreau set the tone, then Stevie Walsh turned it up another notch.

And it all added up to a decisive Yarmouth victory over rival Greely in a boys’ basketball showdown Saturday evening in front of a packed house at Stroud Gymnasium.

With the Rangers focusing on Walsh early, Gautreau scored all 11 of his team’s points as the Clippers opened up an 11-5 advantage after one quarter.

Then, in the second period, Walsh showed what he was capable of, draining three 3s and scoring 11 points as Yarmouth extended its lead to 24-9.

Walsh was even better in a third quarter which saw him sink four 3s and score 16 points and the Clippers were up 48-26 heading for the final stanza.

There, Greely never made a serious run and Yarmouth closed out its 59-36 victory.


Walsh led all scorers with 28 points, Gautreau added 19 and the Clippers won their fifth straight game, improved to 9-4 and in the process, dropped the Rangers to 6-7.

“It was such a special night,” said Yarmouth’s first-year coach Ilunga Mutombo. “We’ve hyped ourselves up for this. We knew both towns would be here. We knew we had to play hard. I told them to seize the moment.”

Can’t-miss kids

Both teams have improved as the season has progressed and have shown signs of being a tough out in the tournament.

The Rangers opened with a 54-49 loss at Fryeburg Academy, downed visiting Brunswick on senior Seamus Raftice’s buzzer-beater, 43-42, then dropped a 66-59 decision at Class AA South contender Gorham, lost at home to Gray-New Gloucester (57-36) and fell at York (61-51). Greely then hit its stride, beating host Freeport (72-41), visiting York (53-50) and visiting Yarmouth (58-48). After losing at reigning Class A South champion Falmouth (51-37), the Rangers downed visiting Cape Elizabeth (57-40). Greely then dropped a 62-60 decision at Lake Region on a last-second basket before edging visiting Wells Thursday (59-57).

Yarmouth started with a hard-fought 40-37 loss at York, then defeated visiting Mt. Ararat (49-31) and host Lake Region (57-54) before falling at Westbrook (57-42). The Clippers then knocked off visiting Wells (66-42) and host Fryeburg Academy (72-47), dropped consecutive games at Greely (58-48) and Leavitt (55-51, in overtime), then got back on track with a 62-49 home victory over Freeport before downing visiting Brunswick (68-53), host Freeport (45-39) and visiting Gray-New Gloucester (57-54).


In the teams’ first meeting Jan. 14, Walsh scored 27 points for Yarmouth, but a big third quarter allowed Greely to pull away and the Rangers got 17 points from senior Tyler Pettengill and 13 from Raftice.

Saturday, Greely had no answers for the Clippers, who rose to the occasion in a playoff-like environment and quickly seized control of the contest.

Yarmouth senior Stevie Walsh drives the lane during the Clippers’ 59-36 home win over Greely Saturday. Walsh scored a game-high 28 points. Hoffer photos.

Gautreau had a first quarter to remember, draining an early 3, adding a basket, then sinking two more 3-pointers.

Greely got baskets from Pettengill and senior Hayden MacArthur and Raftice made a late free throw, but Yarmouth held an 11-5 lead after one quarter.

“Their game plan was stopping Stevie, so whenever he drove, my man would help and (Stevie) gave me great looks in the corner for 3s,” said Gautreau. “I had confidence after I hit the first shot.”

“(Matt) facilitates for us,” Walsh said. “He’s our (point guard) and everything goes through him. He creates looks for everyone. He sneakily has a good stat line every single night. He does the things that go unnoticed.”


“Matt has picked it up,” added Mutombo. “His commitment to our team is amazing. The last few weeks, his leadership has been great and I’m so proud of him.”

Walsh, who will forever live in Yarmouth lore for draining the game-tying 3-pointer to send last year’s Class B state final versus Ellsworth to overtime, where the Clippers prevailed, then essentially said to those on hand, ‘Look what I can do” in a dazzling second period.

Just 20 seconds in, Walsh took a pass from junior Justin Dawes and drained a 3 from the corner.

The Rangers got a leaner from Raftice, but Walsh stopped-and-popped and hit a jumper, then he finished a feed from junior Evan Hamm with a long 3, forcing Greely coach Travis Seaver to call timeout.

It didn’t help, as Walsh stepped back and buried another 3 to stretch the lead to 22-7.

After junior Jackson Leding answered with a layup for the visitors, Dawes capped the first half by taking a pass from senior Nate Hagedorn, spinning and sinking a shot for a 24-9 advantage.


Gautreau and Walsh each scored 11 points in the first half and Yarmouth wasn’t about to take its foot off the gas pedal in the second half.

Greely Seamus Raftice drives toward the basket as Yarmouth junior Justin Dawes (15) and senior Liam Hickey defend.

As impressive as Walsh was in the second quarter, he was even more dazzling in the third.

First, Pettengill tried to spark a rally with a long 3, but Walsh made a fadeaway jumper, then stepped back and buried another 3.

After Pettengill made a 3, Walsh stepped back and hit a jumper, then with 5:25 to go, he took a pass from Hamm and buried a long 3.

Raftice tried to keep pace with two free throws, but with 4:55 on the clock, Walsh took a pass from Gautreau and hit a 3, then, 17 seconds later, he pulled up and buried another long-range bomb and suddenly the Clippers’ lead was 40-17 as Mutombo could only shake his head and smile and the vast and vocal Yarmouth student section unleashed its sing-song “Stevie Wonder” chant.

“The way Matt played in the first half, they had to switch up their game plan and it created an opening for me,” Walsh said. “Getting the first one to go down gives me a dose of confidence and I keep shooting.”


“Stevie has been playing his heart out,” Mutombo said. “He’s committed to being the best he can. He’ll go in Yarmouth history as the player that whenever things are tough, he does what he does best.”

Seaver could only tip his cap.

“(Walsh has) been playing really well and it continued tonight,” Seaver said. “He can heat up quick and keep it going. He’s having a heck of a year.”

After Gautreau extended the lead with a layup after a steal for his first points since the first quarter, Raftice made two free throws, then he banked home a runner, but senior Liam Hickey sank a free throw and Gautreau set up junior Jack Janczuk for another 3-ball.

In the final minute, Raftice converted three points the old-fashioned way, banking home a shot while being fouled and adding the and-one free throw and after Gautreau made a layup off a Hagedorn inbounds pass, Raftice made a layup at the horn, but the Clippers were still firmly in control, leading, 48-26, heading to the fourth period.

There, Walsh made a free throw for his final point and Hagedorn scored on a putback before Pettengill sank another 3.


After a Hagedorn layup, MacArthur made a foul shot and Raftice sank a pair, but Gautreau banked home a runner, then Gautreau made two foul shots for his final points.

After senior Parker Sasseville made a layup for the Rangers, senior Tate Nadeau added a layup before a layup from Yarmouth senior Spencer LaBrecque brought the curtain down on a resounding 59-36 victory, which left the capacity crowd thrilled.

“We love our fans,” Walsh said. “They came out in big numbers today. That’s so helpful. We haven’t lost a game at home all year and that’s partially due to them bringing the energy every single time.”

“I feel like the energy of the crowd was great tonight,’ Gautreau said. “This was a rivalry game. Coach gave us a great game plan and it was great motivation for us.”

Walsh starred with 28 points, while Gautreau also finished in double figures with 19 points.

“Great players always seek more for themselves and now they’re seeking that desire to get better every time,” Mutombo said. “As a coach, you can do all the X’s and O’s you want, but at the end of the day, they’re the ones who execute and you have to trust them to do what they do. They just want to get better every time.”


Hagedorn added four points, Janczuk had three and Dawes, Hickey and LaBrecque all tallied two.

The Clippers made 11 3-pointers and hit 4-of-7 foul shots.

Greely’s top scorer was Raftice, who had 16 points. Pettengill finished with 11, while MacArthur contributed three and Leding, Nadeau and Sasseville all tallied two.

The Rangers went 9-of-17 from the free throw line.

“Give those guys (Yarmouth) credit,” Seaver said. “They’re a totally different team than we played two weeks ago. They responded.”

Playoff push


Greely (now sixth in the Class A South Heal Points standings) welcomes Fryeburg Academy Tuesday. The Rangers then play at Wells, host Poland and Freeport and close the regular season at Gray-New Gloucester.

“We’re doing a lot of good things,” Seaver said. “I know it didn’t look like it tonight, but we’re a much better team than we were two months ago and I expect we’ll be a better team two weeks from now. We hope to hit our stride.”

Yarmouth (which is up to third in Class B South) has three more home games next week, versus Spruce Mountain Monday, Cape Elizabeth Tuesday and Lake Region Friday. The Clippers then close the regular season with games at Wells and Poland the following week.

“We’re really clicking right now,” Gautreau said. “We’re excited for our next game. We have the opportunity for more Heal Points.”

“A lot of guys didn’t play influential varsity minutes last year, so it took awhile to figure things out, but things have clicked at the right time and we’re firing on all cylinders,” Walsh said. “We’re never satisfied, so we’ll keep looking to improve everything we can.”

“We have to trust each other and communicate,” Mutombo added. “We have to play the best defense we can play every single quarter. For us to get to the next level, we have to stay committed to defense. Now that we know what’s working, we’ll keep working to get even better.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net.

Comments are not available on this story.