BANGOR, Maine — Call 2018 the year of the Hawks.
Senior forward Jacob Godfrey scored 21 points and Hermon dominated the inside play Friday night as the Hawks defeated Wells 55-34 in the Class B boys basketball state championship game at the Cross Insurance Center.
“These kids love to be in the gym and they love to practice,” said Hermon coach Mark Reed. “There are tears of joy, but they’re just upset that they don’t have practice Monday.
“That’s the way this group is.”
The victory earned Hermon its first gold ball in program history and also capped off an undefeated 22-0 season for the Hawks..
Wells, which was playing in the state final for the second straight year but was seeking its first state championship since 1984, finished at 15-7.
Hermon showed off the inside strength, transition explosiveness and depth that had made it a preseason favorite last fall to achieve new heights come March, and the Hawks did little throughout the winter to threaten those expectations.
Little was different during Friday night’s final chapter, as Hermon attacked Wells’ tall front line with great success early, then used its stifling defense to churn out a succession of fast breaks later in the contest while limiting Wells to just 14 field goals during the contest.
“It’s just a tremendous effort these kids made the entire tournament,” said Reed of his team’s defensive effort. “I think we might have given up an average of 35 points throughout the tournament, which is just outstanding. The commitment, the concentration, we were able to just go out and grind every night.”
Junior guard Cody Hawes added 11 points and six assists for Hermon while sophomore forward Isaac Varney scored 10 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and dished out five assists.
Senior point guard Keenan Marseille and junior guard Garrett Trask each chipped in five points, with Marseille also credited with five assists for the Hawks, who never trailed after the game’s opening minutes.
Junior guard Matt Sherburne led Wells with 13 points, while junior forward Tyler Bridge had 10 points and 11 rebounds and frontcourt match Cam Cousins also scored 10 points.
Hermon took the ball inside from the outset and controlled the paint en route to a 32-17 halftime lead,
Godfrey, who was part of a Class D state championship team at Machias last winter before transferring to Hermon last fall, was the primary target for the Hawks, and not only did he score 16 first-half points but he got one of Wells’ big men, Cam Cousins, in foul trouble as the Warriors’ 6-foot-4 forward sat out the final four minutes of the second quarter with three fouls.
Godfrey, meanwhile, shot 7 of 10 from the field in the opening two periods, all from the lane after establishing strong low-post position.
“We definitely had a game plan to get it into Jacob.” said Varney. “He’s a great finisher in the post and we knew that their post players were dominant for Wells but a little slower and that we could outwork them in the post.”
But it wasn’t just Godfrey working inside, as Hawes, Varney and even the point guard Marseille taking their chances to post up against Wells defenders.
Hermon made 8 of its 11 field goal attempts during the first quarter while building a 19-10 lead, then built its advantage to as much as 30-17 when Varney tipped the rebound of a missed Wells free throw to Godfrey for a layup with 3:52 left in the half.
Hermon maintained that double-digit cushion throughout the third quarter, taking a 40-27 advantage into the game’s final eight minutes.
The Hawks then broke the game open, scoring eight unanswered points in less than two minutes to push their lead to 50-31 on a follow-up basket by Varney with 3:49 to play.
And the celebration was about to begin.