BANGOR, Maine — The Falmouth boys basketball team battled foul trouble throughout Friday night’s Class B state championship game.
But it was Camden Hills of Rockport that played the biggest price for fouling.
Falmouth center John Roberts hit the game-tying free throw after Windjammers star Tyler McFarland fouled out with 8.3 seconds left in regulation, and Stefano Mancini scored six of his team-high 27 points in overtime as the Yachtsmen outlasted Camden Hills 72-65 at the Bangor Auditorium.
The state title was the first since competing as a Class C school in 1999 for Falmouth, which finished its season with a 21-1 record.
“With all the great players on both teams, I think it was a fitting ending,” said Mancini, a 6-foot-2 senior. “I think it was something that could have been expected, to have this game go down to the end of the line.”
Camden Hills, the 2009 state champion, ends its season at 19-3.
“I’m struggling to figure out why my best player is not in there at the end of the game, I’m struggling to figure out why he missed the whole overtime,” said Camden Hills coach Jeff Hart.
“I guess it was just two big guys tangled up and I guess someone gained an advantage, I don’t know. All I know was that my best player was sitting for the rest of [regulation] and then overtime.”
Yarmouth built a 10-point third quarter lead before Camden Hills rallied as Mancini, Roberts and forward Jahrel Registe all sat out for extended periods with foul trouble.
McFarland led that comeback, scoring 20 of his game-high 32 points after intermission with an assortment of unstoppable drives to the basket and perfect free-throw shooting.
Camden Hills used an 8-0 run featuring a 3-pointer by Casey Scott and inside baskets by McFarland and Pieri to forge a 45-45 tie late in the third quarter.
A drive by McFarland with 4:48 left in the fourth quarter gave the Windjammers a 54-53 lead — their first advantage since the first half.
But Camden Hills couldn’t extend its lead to more than two points before Mancini and Co. returned to the floor, as point guard Ryan Rogers, forward Sam Horning and subs E.J. Rogers, Michael Lafond, Michael Ryan and Jack Cooleen helped Falmouth withstand the Windjammers’ comeback.
“It was the longest seven minutes in my life,” said Mancini, who sat out 7 minutes, 54 seconds midway through the second half after drawing his fourth foul. “But my teammates made it pass by a lot faster with the way they stepped up when I wasn’t out there. We not only stayed in the game, but we stayed in the lead and played really well down the stretch.”
And when McFarland then fouled out in rebounding action in the final seconds, Yarmouth had the advantage for overtime.
“In this game we had leaned on Tyler pretty hard because we really didn’t think they had an answer to guard him when he was facing the basket,” said Hart, “so whoever they put on him we were trying to have Tyler face up and take it to the rack.
“All of a sudden that’s gone, and then we struggled.”
Keegan Pieri hit a 3-pointer to give the Windjammers a 65-64 lead with 3:31 left in the extra period, but those were Camden Hills’ final points.
Mancini followed in his own miss to give Falmouth a 66-65 edge, then Ryan Rogers made a fast-break layup and Mancini hit two free throws to extend the Yachtsmen’s lead.
Mancini added two final free throws with 6.7 seconds left to set off a celebration on the Western Maine champions’ bench.
“We definitely felt confident that we could go at them without Tyler,” said Mancini. “He’s such a great player and such a big part of their team. When John got him to pick up his fifth foul, we felt like if we could get it into overtime that we’d definitely have the advantage.”
Mancini shot 8 of 20 overall, including 5 of 13 from 3-point land, while Ryan Rogers had 14 points and five assists. Roberts added 11 points and eight rebounds, while Registe scored 11 points and grabbed seven boards.
McFarland shot 11 of 22 from the field and made all nine of his free-throw attempts. The 6-6 junior also grabbed a game-high nine rebounds.
“That was huge [when McFarland fouled out],” said Falmouth coach Dave Halligan. “He’s one of the best in the state. He comes to battle every night, and every second of every game. He’s a special one.”
Pieri added 18 points and seven rebounds for the Windjammers, including nine points in the first quarter as Camden Hills jumped out to a 16-8 lead before settling for a 19-15 edge at the end of the period.
But while Camden Hills made six of its first eight shots in the game, the Windjammers began settling for jump shots and made just four of its final 18 shots in the first half.
Falmouth became the aggressor, particularly Mancini, who scored 16 first-half points — 12 on four 3-pointers — as the Yachtsmen pulled out to a 32-26 lead at intermission.
“At the end of the first quarter, even though we were making a few [outside] shots I thought we were settling,” said Hart. “I told them before the game that when [Yarmouth] is in foul trouble they’re in real trouble, but we didn’t make them pay enough.”