The Oceanside High boys’ basketball team has agreed to ease up in games after the program received complaints about running up the score against its opponents, the team’s head coach, Larry Reed, said Friday.

“I don’t know who made the complaints or how the complaints happened, but there were complaints to the (Maine Principals’ Association) that we were winning a bit egregiously,” Reed said. “We were told we needed to ease off the throttle, and we’ll do that.”

The Mariners, a Class B title contender at 12-0, have averaged 94.8 points per game this season. They’ve scored at least 100 points in four games, which is rare in Maine high school basketball. That included a 126-38 blowout of winless Belfast on Wednesday night in Rockland.

Reed said an MPA official contacted the school after it had received a complaint about the lopsided score.

MPA Executive Director Mike Burnham, citing school confidentiality policies, declined comment when reached Friday.

Oceanside Coach Larry Reed talks to Cohen Galley just before the second half of their game against Morse on Friday night in Bath. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

Oceanside remained undefeated Friday with a 96-63 victory over Morse High in Bath, and clearly had the MPA’s message in mind. The Mariners played their typical brand of pressing, uptempo basketball through three-and-a-half quarters, but up 87-56 midway through the fourth, Reed gave the order to his players to slow things down, and audibly commanded them not to shoot during possessions in the final minute.


“For the first three quarters, I said we’re just going to play the way we play all the time,” Reed said. “With a couple of minutes left in the third quarter, I started watching the clock. When we got to 89, I called a timeout and I said ‘Let’s make sure we’re moving the ball.’

“I just wanted to make sure I was following those parameters.”

Cohen Galley, whose 25 points Friday were second to twin brother Carter’s 31, said he doesn’t think his team has been unsportsmanlike in its victories.

“It’s kind of a little foolish to me,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of guys that work hard all year long to be great basketball players and be part of a great team, but people kind of want to drag down what we can do. We’re a good top-to-bottom team, and it’s hard when your bench can go in and probably compete with most starting fives on our schedule.”

Should the Oceanside High boys’ basketball team have to ease up in games?


It is unclear what, if any, sanctions might be levied against the Oceanside team if its games remain lopsided. The Mariners’ average margin of victory is 41.3 points.


Reed said he doesn’t think the team is at risk of any punishment, or that its postseason status is in jeopardy.

“I don’t think that was the case,” he said. “(The MPA said) ‘If it continues to be out of hand, then it may turn into something. We don’t want it to come to that, so go ahead and make those adjustments now so that it doesn’t.'”

Reed said Oceanside Athletic Director Troy Smith addressed the situation Thursday with the team. Smith did not respond to messages seeking an interview for this story.

Oceanside’s Zach Woodman keeps the ball away from a Morse player during the last minute of the Mariners’ 96-63 win on Friday. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

“Our athletic director got us together (on Thursday) and said we have to take it down a step a little bit and find a way to make the games a little bit more competitive,” said Reed, whose team reached the Class B final last season. “There’s certainly ways we can do that. We don’t want to embarrass anyone. We’re not trying to run it up. We’re trying to achieve some individual goals along the way, in conjunction with some team goals. We’re doing the best we can, but it’s not always easy.”

The Galley brothers are each chasing scoring marks. Carter Galley is closing in on the school’s record for points in a career, while Cohen Galley is nearing 1,000 career points.

“They’re both well within striking distance,” Reed said. “We have people that might be up for player of the year (in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference) and even in the state. Again, we’re trying to help them achieve those awards, but at the same time, making sure we get them out when we can, make sure no one gets hurt. We do not try to embarrass anyone we play and we do not take any joy in any lopsided victories.”



Belfast Athletic Director Susan Robbins, in an e-mail to the Kennebec Journal, said she was disappointed with how Oceanside played the game Wednesday.

“The main issue for me is that starters continued to play into the fourth quarter, and the pressure and trap were still being utilized defensively,” Robbins wrote. “I later heard that there was a scoring record that was trying to be broken. It doesn’t pass the straight-faced test for me to run up a score to break a record. That score differential does not benefit either team. I was proud of the way our team handled a difficult situation.”

Robbins added that she voiced her concerns to Smith, the Oceanside athletic director, after the game.

“I discussed my concern with him and trusted him to handle this with the coach, team and community,” Robbins said. “We do not support any sanctions against Oceanside. I do expect that when we host them later this month, it will be a more respectable game for all those involved.”

The Mariners and Lions are scheduled to play again Jan. 30 in Belfast.


Belfast wasn’t the only team this season to be churned up in the Mariners’ relentless attack. There’s no shot clock in Maine high school basketball, but Oceanside plays like there is, frequently pressing and trapping on defense and looking to push the ball up the court on every steal and rebound. The sweet-shooting Mariners are fond of 3-pointers in transition, which combined with their fast-break prowess means points come in bunches.

Oceanside Coach Larry Reed talks to Zeb Foster after Foster was subbed out of the game Friday night at Morse High in Bath. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

With 4:40 to play on Friday night, however, Carter Galley gathered a loose ball and again looked up to start the break, only to see Reed pushing his hands down in a “slow down” motion. On the next possession, which began with a missed Morse free throw with 4:17 to play, the normally breakneck Mariners passed the ball around and didn’t take a shot for 45 seconds.

Morse fans noticed the slowdown. One fan called out “Boring!” Another yelled “Oh, come on!” as the Mariners passed the ball around the perimeter.

“We’re stalling the ball, and their fans are booing,” Reed said. “They want us to play. Can you blame them?”


Morse Athletic Director Andrew Pelletier said he didn’t have an issue with the Mariners’ style of play. Morse lost its first game to Oceanside, 106-49.


“My coaches had nothing but positive things to say about the experience when we went up to Oceanside,” he said. “The last thing I would ever want to see is them to just come out here and pass the ball for 16 minutes, and not score the ball. I think that takes away from our players’ experiences, as well as some of the kids that might not play as much on their team.”

Oceanside has held opponents to an average of 53.4 points. It has also defeated two Class A North playoff contenders, Camden Hills (86-77 in overtime) and Cony (110-59).

Cony Athletic Director TJ Maines, a member of the MPA Basketball Committee, said he had no complaint with how Oceanside played when the teams met on opening night, Dec. 12, in Rockland, despite the 51-point differential.

“(Oceanside) played great,” Maines said. “They had 80 at the end of three quarters. They put their starters in for like, two minutes (in the fourth). … But they scored another 25 points (in the quarter) because their backups are good. It’s not OK for our team to say, ‘Hey, that’s not fair.’ Those kids need to be able to play, too, They practice all the time. It’s not like they’re pressing us (defensively) all over the place. Offensively, they just play fast, they execute, and they have a whole bunch of skilled players.”

Central Maine sports editor Bill Stewart contributed to this report.

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