BANGOR, Maine — Garvey Melmed’s primary role Saturday was one of defender, guarding Caribou star Dayne Savage as the focus of Old Town’s box-and-one set.
But when the Coyotes needed a late offensive spark, the senior guard scored their final eight points of regulation and overtime — including two game-winning free throws with 22.6 seconds left in the extra period — to lift Old Town to a 43-41 victory and the Eastern Maine Class B boys basketball title.
“Garvey’s the man today, he’s been the man all year,” said Old Town coach Brian McDormand. “He’s probably going to need a day or two of rest to get his legs back, but he works out more than you can even dream of and he’s in top condition of any guy around here.”
The championship was the first for Old Town since 1991 when it competed in Class A, and the Coyotes (17-5) will play Poland in a battle of No. 6 seeds for the state crown Friday night back at the Cross Insurance Center.
No. 4 Caribou finished with a 17-5 record.
Melmed and Caribou’s Donovan Savage matched 3-pointers early in overtime to leave the teams in a 41-41 stalemate.
Neither team scored again until Melmed was fouled near midcourt and made both free throws with 22.6 seconds remaining.
“You get to the line in a tie game, and the energy just goes right through you,” said Melmed, a finalist for the state free-throw shooting contest to be held March 8. “You get that adrenalin that helps you make them.”
Caribou a chance to extend or win the game, but a contested 3-pointer from the left corner by Donovan Savage bounced off the rim and Old Town’s Mitchell Cole snared the rebound as the buzzer sounded.
Adam Richardson led Old Town offensively with 13 points, seven rebounds and three assists, while Melmed added three assists and three rebounds.
Cody Herbert paced Caribou with 11 points, but the Old Town defense limited Dayne Savage to 10 points after he had averaged 27.5 ppg in the Vikings’ first two tournament victories.
“We knew if we contained Dayne we had a chance to win this game, so we went in and practiced hard on the box-and-one, and the rest of the team deserves a lot of credit, too, because they helped when he got away from me,” said Melmed. “But I was definitely tired. He was working me hard, but we got it done.”
Kameron Manter grabbed seven rebounds for the Vikings, who made just 15 of 26 free-throw attempts, including 7 of 14 after intermission.
“We could have shot free throws better. It’s hard to win the Eastern Maine finals when you shoot 58 percent,” said Caribou coach Chris Casavant. “And we really needed somebody else to score besides Dayne. He creates a lot of things for other people, but when you take him away we tend to look to him and look to him and look to him. Somebody really needed to step up and score for us and that didn’t happen enough times.”
Caribou held a 19-17 halftime lead largely based on its early free-throw shooting, as the Vikings made 8 of 12 tries while Old Town did not earn an attempt.
The second half featured two lead chances and five ties, the final one when Melmed hit a 3-pointer from the right of the key to tie the game at 38-38 with 20 seconds left.
“It rolled around a little bit and I was scared,” said Melmed of his game-tying 3-pointer. “But when it went in we all went crazy.”