AUGUSTA, Maine — It was an exhibition of shooting that would’ve made Steph Curry proud.
And for all the shots George Stevens Academy sophomore Taylor Schildroth was knocking down, he was just as good if not better at setting up his teammates.
The Eagles’ dynamic guard poured in a game-high 25 points on 8-for-21 shooting as coach Dwayne Carter’s club won its first Class C state championship since 2003 with a 59-46 victory over Waynflete of Portland Saturday night at the Augusta Civic Center.
GSA’s triumph put the capper on a 21-1 season, with the only loss coming to Class B North champion and Hancock County rival Ellsworth.
“I love this game,” Schildroth said. “Every game, I just play it like it could be my last one.”
He certainly did that and then some, leading three Eagles in double figures as they used their depth and their height advantage to wear down the Flyers, who finished the season 19-3.
“Physically, they were bigger than we thought. we thought they were going to be a little shorter,” Carter said. “But I thought our size and our rebounding and our defense was key.”
In particular the defensive interior work of Max Mattson, who hauled down 10 rebounds and whose presence in the lane forced the Flyers to settle for outside shots.
Schildroth asserted himself early, going off for 16 first-half points to help the Eagles build a 9-point lead.
Waynflete countered by ending the first half on a 7-4 run to close within three, and got as close as one midway through the third quarter.
“The runs that they made were definitely our fault we were settling,” Schildroth said. “Coach would be like, all right, settle down.”
George Stevens certainly showed maturity far beyond its age in keeping the Flyers at bay throughout the second half.
“We’re a young team but we’re really not that young,” said Carter. “They’ve played a lot of ball so they’ve been in big time situations a lot.”
The Flyers closed to within three near the end of the third quarter, but Beckett Slayton (13 points) was able to corral a loose ball in the far corner off a scramble and nail a 3-pointer to help the Eagles regain momentum.
George Stevens would open the final period on a 9-2 run, culminated by a conventional 3-point play by Nick Szwez which essentially put the game away.
Waynflete got no closer than 10 in the final minutes.
“The real play of the game was the scramble where Beckett Slayton caught the ball, shot the 3 and made it,” said Carter. “That was a huge play. That was a scrappy play.”
The Flyers did an admirable job in the second half of using their zone to run more defenders at Schildroth, but he showed exceptional basketball awareness and court vision in setting up post players such as Jarrod Chase (10 points), Mattson and Szwez.
“I would hate to play us,” Schildroth said. “If someone’s having an off night there’s someone else to step up.”
Carter is optimistic that Saturday launched the start of a new basketball dynasty in Hancock County.
“It’s really awesome because people who were here tonight I haven’t seen in 20 years,” said Carter. “It just brings everyone together. It’s a great feeling.”
Milo Belleau led three Flyers in double figures with 13 points. Will Nelligan added 11 and Yai Deng had 10.