Orono High knocked off its second No. 1 seed this postseason, and this time it was worth a Gold Ball.

The Red Riots survived a late 3-point barrage by Oceanside star Carter Galley and their own poor free-throw shooting to win the school’s first boys’ basketball title since 1981 with a 61-58 victory in the Class B final at the Portland Expo.

Ben Francis led Orono with 23 points, and his three-point play off a long inbounds pass from Pierce Walston with 1:24 to play appeared to sew up the game, as the Red Riots led 60-49.

But Galley hit three straight 3-pointers, while Orono missed five consecutive free throws, including the front end of two 1-and-1s, and suddenly the lead was down to 60-58 with 5 seconds left.

“The emotions were all over the place to miss those free throws,” said Walston. “We knew in order to get the win done for these guys, I had to get back on defense and get a stop.

Caden Gray made one free throw with 2.7 seconds remaining, and Oceanside’s final attempt, from beyond half court by Alex Collins, was off-target.


Walston finished with 12 points and Will Francis had 15 for Orono.

Galley led all scorers with 27 points, including five 3-pointers. His twin brother, Cohen, added 17, but Oceanside, the top seed from the South, did not have a third option like Orono.

“He and his brother came at us pretty hard,” said Ben Francis. “We just kept going at them and we stayed together as a team, and here we are. We put it all together in the end.”

Orono (19-3) advanced to its first state championship game since 1996 (a loss to Gorham) by knocking off unbeaten and top-seeded Ellsworth in the North final. It was Orono’s fifth appearance in a regional final since 2015.

“It was the first time winning a regional since 1996 and the first time winning a Gold Ball since 1981,” Walston said. “That’s 27 and 42 years. It feels amazing. Especially to get it done with guys I’ve been in school with since the sixth grade.”

Oceanside (20-2) reached a state final for the second time in the 12-year-old school’s history by beating defending champion Yarmouth, 71-67, in an overtime thriller in the South final. In its previous state final appearance, Oceanside lost to Falmouth in the 2016 Class A final.


The game was originally scheduled for Saturday but was moved to Tuesday because of Saturday’s snowstorm.

That meant Oceanside had not played in 11 days, and Orono had a 10-day break since its regional final. The site also changed. Instead of the cavernous Cross Insurance Arena, the 3,000-seat Expo proved plenty large for the Class B showdown, with the arena about two-thirds full.

Orono led for nearly the entire game. Oceanside’s only lead was 3-2. The Mariners did cut the margin to one point three times in the second quarter, but Orono held a 30-27 lead at halftime, 44-38 after three quarters and 55-42 midway through the fourth after several buckets in transition.

Francis said Orono knew that Oceanside averaged nearly 80 points a game. The Red Riots thought they could be quick in transition and get easy hoops, and they did that throughout the game.

“Their focus isn’t really defense, so we decided to get out and punish them for their mistakes, and we did that tonight,” Francis said.

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