FALMOUTH—Falmouth’s boys’ basketball team might not boast quite as much firepower as it did a year ago, but the Navigators are still good enough to go toe-to-toe against anyone.

And perhaps embark on yet another deep tournament run.

Tuesday evening, on its Senior Night, Falmouth hosted surging Westbrook in a late-season showdown rife with Heal Points implications and playoff positioning and after a sluggish start, the Navigators controlled play and rolled to victory.

Falmouth clung to a 16-15 lead after one quarter, thanks in large part to eight points and five rebounds from junior Chris Simonds, but the Blue Blazes opened the second period with six straight points.

The Navigators then closed the first half on an 11-0 run, capped by a late Simonds three-point play, to take a 27-21 advantage to the break.

Simonds and senior Judd Armstrong then began the second half with layups to cap a 15-0 run and while Westbrook drew within 10 late in the third quarter, Simonds turned the tide for good with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to make it 43-30.


The Blue Blazes couldn’t recover from there and Falmouth went on and rolled to a 61-41 victory.

Simonds led the way with a double-double of 22 points and 10 rebounds, Armstrong, who helped seal it with a pair of fourth quarter dunks, added 17 points and senior Lucas Dilworth finished with 14 as the Navigators improved to 13-4, dropped Westbrook to 13-4 and in the process, secured the top seed for the upcoming Class A South tournament.

“This is a big win,” said longtime Falmouth coach Dave Halligan, after his 577th victory with the program. “(Westbrook’s) a good team. We just started to run our stuff. Once we calmed down and shared the ball and moved the defense, shots started to go in.”

Rounding into form

Falmouth was a powerhouse in 2021-22, but was no match for Cooper Flagg and Nokomis in the Class A state game, losing, 43-27.

The Navigators have a different look this winter, but the results have largely been the same.


Falmouth opened the season by defeating host Biddeford (63-38) and visiting Kennebunk (57-50). After a 52-39 home loss to reigning Class AA champion South Portland, the Navigators got back on track with a win at Brunswick, 63-55, then downed Mt. Ararat in a countable game played at the Expo Holiday Tournament, 48-37, beat host Marshwood (48-34), Gorham (60-56) and Morse (68-37), then downed visiting rival Greely, 51-37, before their six-game win streak was snapped with a 46-43 home setback to Marshwood. After falling at home to Portland (44-41), Falmouth won at Westbrook (36-24), then lost at Class AA South favorite Thornton Academy (57-37). The Navigators got back on track last week with wins at Mt. Ararat (57-45) and at home over Biddeford (56-28).

Westbrook, meanwhile, is in the midst of one of its best seasons in years.

The Blue Blazes opened by beating Brunswick (62-47) and Fryeburg Academy (71-42), lost a close home game to Class AA North power Cheverus (58-51), then knocked off Cape Elizabeth (60-50), Kennebunk (77-72, in overtime), reigning Class B champion Yarmouth (57-42) and Biddeford (58-49). After losing to Bonny Eagle (47-40), Westbrook handled Kennebunk (56-33), Morse (47-33), Deering (55-30), Marshwood (49-42) and Biddeford (67-47). The Blue Blazes’ five-game win streak was snapped by visiting Falmouth (36-24), then Westbrook defeated Mt. Ararat (59-39) and Morse (43-37).

In the teams’ first meeting, Jan. 25, Falmouth took a 10-0 lead after one quarter and never looked back.

Tuesday, the Navigators enjoyed another big run and made a late-season statement.

Falmouth senior Judd Armstrong handles the ball as Westbrook senior Kolbyn Dunphe defends early in the Navigators’ 61-41 victory Tuesday. Hoffer photos.

The Blue Blazes nearly produced some immediate fireworks, as junior Aiden Taylor tipped the ball ahead to senior Kelson Custodio for a layup opportunity just three seconds in, but Custodio couldn’t finish.


Simonds then opened the scoring with a putback and after senior Ben Eugley answered with a putback, senior Paul Dilworth set up Simonds for a layup and a 4-2 lead.

After Taylor tied the score with a jumper, Simonds set up senior Eli Cowperthwaite for a layup, Simonds added two free throws, but Taylor took a pass from senior Kolbyn Dunphe and made a layup, then Dunphe hit a fadeaway jumper to make it 8-8.

After Armstrong drained a 3 for the hosts, Custodio got a runner to roll in, but Lucas Dilworth made a free throw, Cowperthwaite set up Lucas Dilworth for a layup, then with 32 seconds left, Simonds made a bank shot for a six-point lead.

But Westbrook closed strong, as Eugley scored on a putback, then Dunphe stole the ball, dribbled up court and threw up a 3-pointer at the horn that found nothing but net to cut Falmouth’s lead to 16-15.

The scoring pace slowed in the second period, as each team went on a run and went cold.

Dunphe put the Blue Blazes on top, stealing the ball again and scoring on a layup, then senior Micah Lombardo drove for a layup and with 4:59 on the clock, as Dunphe fadeaway capped an 11-0 surge and put Westbrook ahead, 21-16.


But the Blue Blazes wouldn’t score again for a long time and the Navigators closed the half on an 11-0 run of their own and take control of the game.

First, with 4:27 on the clock, Lucas Dilworth made a layup after a steal to snap a 4 minute, 5 second scoring drought.

Dilworth then made another layup after a steal and with 2:14 to go, sophomore reserve Billy Birks took a pass from Simonds and buried a 3 to put Falmouth ahead for good.

After Paul Dilworth made a free throw, Simonds scored on a leaner while being fouled, then added the and-one free throw to complete the old-fashioned three-point play with just 2 seconds remaining, and the Navigators took a 27-21 lead to the locker room.

In the first half, Simonds led the way with 11 points and seven rebounds.

Falmouth junior Chris Simonds, who had a game-high 22 points and 10 rebounds, drives on Westbrook senior Ben Eugley.

Simonds then opened the second half with a layup off a feed from Armstrong, then senior Peyton Mitchell stole the ball and fed Armstrong for a layup and a 10-point advantage, forcing Westbrook coach Bryan Hoy to call timeout.


It helped, as with 5:46 remaining in the third quarter, Custodio made a layup to snap the Navigators’ 15-0 run and an interminable 7:13 drought.

After Armstrong countered with two free throws, senior Quincy Seavey drained a 3, but Paul Dilworth drove for a layup.

After Dunphe hit two foul shots to pull the Blue Blazes within seven points, 35-28, Simonds made a leaner in the lane, then Armstrong set up Lucas Dilworth for a 3-pointer.

With 40 seconds to go, Eugley scored on a pullback to seemingly give Westbrook momentum, but off an inbounds set just before the horn, Paul Dilworth passed to Simonds in the left corner and Simonds, while falling out of bounds, managed to deliver a perfect shot that kissed the net and made the score 43-30 with just eight minutes to play.

“I was just trying to do as much as I could to help the team win,” Simonds said. “I don’t know how I made that one. It was just muscle memory.”

Armstrong started the final stanza with a driving layup and after Dunphe made two free throws, Armstrong converted an old-fashioned three-point with 6:01 left, going up for a dunk, managing to steer it home while being fouled, then adding the free throw for a 48-32 advantage.


Dunphe tried to spark a rally with a contested bank shot, but Simonds scored on a putback to complete his double-double, then with 4:42 to go, Armstrong’s 3-pointer pushed the lead to 19.

After Custodio countered with a layup after a steal and Dunphe made wo free throws to cut the deficit to 53-38, Lucas Dilworth sank two foul shots, then hit two more, Simonds made two free throws after a technical foul called on the Blue Blazes’ bench and Mitchell set up Armstrong for a breakaway dunk for Falmouth’s final points.

Custodio hit two free throws and senior Jason Shackley added a foul shot in the final seconds, but it was far too little, too late and the Navigators brought the curtain down on their impressive 61-41 victory.

“From the get-go, we knew it would be competitive,” Lucas Dilworth said. “Last game was back-and-forth. There was so much tension, but I was confident that our team would come out on top. Chris got us going after that drought and everyone chipped in after that. We’ve talked all week about working as a team because that will help us win.”

“We just realized that we couldn’t lose this game,” Simonds said. “It was for the number one seed. The energy just shifted. It feels great to give the seniors a win, especially for the guys who don’t play as much.”

Simonds led all scorers with 22 points and he also grabbed 10 rebounds.


“Through our scouting, we saw that I had a huge size advantage inside, so we just wanted to attack,” Simonds said.

“We had to get (Chris) the ball and play inside and out,” Halligan said. “When we share the ball, we’re pretty good. When we go one-on-one, we’re just another team.”

Armstrong added 17 points, with 10 coming in the fourth period, and also had six rebounds, two assists and two blocked shots.

Lucas Dilworth was a sparkplug at both ends of the floor, scoring 14 points, while also grabbing five rebounds and producing five steals.

“Lucas is all heart,” Halligan said. “He’s a competitor. He has that warrior mindset. He’s not going to lose.”

Birks and Paul Dilworth (three steals, two assists, two rebounds) each finished with three points and Cowperthwaite had two.


The Navigators had a 29-20 advantage on the boards, overcame 16 turnovers and hit 14-of-16 free throws.

For Westbrook, Dunphe led the way with 17 points, five steals, four rebounds and three assists.

Custodio added eight points, Eugley had six (to go with five rebounds), Taylor four, Seavey three, Lombardo two and Shackley one.

The Blue Blazes turned the ball over 13 turnovers and made 9-of-12 foul shots.

“They just made plays and we didn’t make plays,” Hoy lamented. “I thought we did pretty well in the third quarter, then (Simonds) hit that 3 and that changed things quite a bit and it got away from us in the fourth. You can’t have scoring droughts against anybody. We have to do a much better job. I don’t think we played great defensively today, especially on the help side. We were out of position a lot. We have things we have to clean up.”

One more tune-up


The Class A South tournament tips off Saturday, Feb. 18 at the Portland Exposition Building.

Westbrook (currently ranked third in the Heal Points standings) closes at Marshwood Thursday.

“I can’t do the math anymore, but I imagine that game will be for the No. 2 seed,” Hoy said. “We want to finish on a high note, but Marshwood’s a tough place to play on the road. We have our work cut out for us.

“I think we’ll be okay for the tournament. I don’t think we played well defensively tonight, but we’re a good defensive team and that will be helpful in the tournament. That’s usually what wins tournament games. We have to rebound better and score.”

Falmouth finishes at Kennebunk Thursday, then will focus on taking the one additional step that last year’s squad couldn’t muster.

“This year, we’re really confident,” Lucas Dilworth said. “I feel like we’re 100 percent ready to compete for a state title. We’ll have to work really hard. Preparation starts now. We’re ready.”

“We’re all clicking,” Simonds said. “I think we have what it takes to do what we did last year, but we can’t underestimate any of our competition. We have to focus in practice, study film and do what we do best. We’re just getting better and better.”

“We can beat anybody and we could lose to anybody,” Halligan added. “We average probably 30 points less than last year, so we have to make the most of every possession. We just have to show a little more patience. If we reverse the ball, we’re pretty good.

“It’s been what I hoped for. You can never tell if the guys will buy in or not, but they’re buying in and seeing the team having success.”

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

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