AUGUSTA, Maine — Just call them the closers.
Sixth-ranked Medomak Valley of Waldoboro, which outscored Skowhegan 38-6 to cap off its quarterfinal victory last Saturday, outscored No. 2 Nokomis of Newport 23-4 over the final 9 ½ minutes of play Wednesday night to rally for a 49-44 victory in a Class A North boys basketball semifinal at the Augusta Civic Center.
The win advances coach Nick DePatsy’s club (13-7) to Friday night’s regional final against the winner of the late semifinal between No. 1 Hampden Academy and No. 4 Cony of Augusta.
Nokomis, which scored its first tournament win since 2003 in the quarters, ends its season at 14-6.
Medomak Valley trailed 40-26 with just over a minute left in the third quarter after a 12-0 run by the guard-oriented Nokomis club.
So DePatsy opted to go small, inserting reserve guards Brandon Starr and Christopher Bowman into the game to apply defensive pressure.
Nokomis went nearly eight minutes without scoring, and Medomak Valley scored 14 straight points to tie the game before making nine straight free throws down the stretch to secure the victory.
Junior guard Ryan Creamer led a balanced Medomak Valley attack with 15 points while sophomore forward Gabe Allaire scored 12.
Josh Perry led Nokomis with 11 points, Brock Graves had 10 and Josh Smestad contributed nine, but Medomak Valley limited the Warriors’ 1,000-point scorer, senior guard Zach Hartsgrove, to just seven points on 3-of-16 shooting.
Nokomis led 24-19 at halftime, and two 3-pointers by Perry and one by Hartsgrove on three straight possessions extended the lead to 40-24 with 1:52 left in the third quarter.
The Panthers came out of the break and scored the final four points of the third quarter and then got baskets from Allaire and Bowman to open the fourth period to continue a run that produced a stunning 40-40 tie when Creamer made both ends of a 1-and-1 with 2:58 left in the game.
Nokomis slowed the Medomak Valley momentum briefly as Hartsgrove fed Brock Graves for a layup to give the Warriors a 42-40 edge, but some great interior passing by the Panthers led to a go-ahead three-point play by Bowman with 1:16 to go and Creamer followed with two free throws to make it 45-42 with 39 seconds to go.
Graves scored again on the inside to close Nokomis within 45-44 with 18.9 seconds remaining,
Allaire was fouled quickly after a Nokomis timeout and made both free throws to make it 47-44, and after Hartsgrove miss a 3-pointer from the key Creamer made two from the line with 5.3 seconds left to put the game away.