AUGUSTA, Maine — The Greely High School boys basketball team wanted to get off to a good start in Friday night’s State Class A schoolboy basketball game against Lawrence High of Fairfield and that’s exactly what the Rangers did,
Greely scored the game’s first six points, expanded the lead to 16-2 and never looked back en route to its third straight Class A schoolboy basketball title by virtue of a 62-45 victory at the Augusta Civic Center.
“We knew if we got down early, they would slow the ball up and we aren’t a great half-court team,” said Greely senior guard Zach Brown, who had 14 points. “We wanted to get off to a good start so we could create the tempo we wanted.”
“We were concerned that they would really slow the game down and shorten it,” said Greely coach Travis Seaver. “We knew we wanted to come out and get the first few points and put them back on their heels.”
Seaver said he was also relieved that his team didn’t have to rely on a big run to beat the Bulldogs because you never know if it’s going to come.
The Rangers also turned in an exceptional defensive performance, making Lawrence work for every piece of real estate and contesting their shots.
They also limited Lawrence’s second-chance opportunities by controlling the boards.
Greely outrebounded the smaller Bulldogs 28-17.
“We work hard on our defense and it paid off,” said junior guard Logan Bagshaw, who had a game-high 21 points for the 19-3 Rangers.
“Defense wins championships,” said Brown, who also noted that their defense fueled their transition offense and led to some easy baskets.
“It got us going,” Brown said.
Bagshaw had three assists and two steals to go with his 21 points. Andrew Storey had 11 points including a reverse dunk off a Bagshaw steal and pass.
“My teammates definitely helped me out a lot,” Bagshaw said.
Mike Coppersmith had seven points and nine rebounds for Greely.
Lars Boddie had five rebounds.
Nick Robertson’s 16 points paced 13-8 Lawrence. Kobe Nadeau and Dylan Martin-Hachey had nine apiece.
Bagshaw poured in 14 first-half points as the Rangers built a 29-16 halftime lead over the cold-shooting Bulldogs, who missed their first seven shots and trailed 10-2 after the first quarter.
Baskets by Brown, Coppersmith and Storey staked Greely to a 6-0 lead and they built it to 16-2 early in the second period.
Lawrence never got closer than eight the rest of the way.
Martin-Hachey’s basket in the latter stages of the second quarter pulled Lawrence within 19-11 but Boddie converted an offensive rebounds, Brown fed Bagshaw for a layup and, after Dylan Coombs hit a foul line jumper for Lawrence, Bagshaw scored the half’s final six points on three layups including a fast break bucket off a Coppersmith steal and Brown pass.
“We didn’t let them back in the game. We didn’t want to let them back in the game,” Bagshaw said.
“We played hard on defense but we couldn’t get our shots to fall,” said Lawrence coach Jason Pellerin. “Part of that was their length. We played hard.”
The Bulldogs never quit.
They used an 11-2 run that spanned the third and fourth quarters to close the gap to 40-31.
But the Rangers went on a game-clinching 8-0 run on a pair of baskets from Storey, two Brown free throws and a basket by Bagshaw..