YORK, Maine — Hopefully for the York High School boys basketball team, there will be some bigger moments this winter. But there is no denying the statement the Wildcats made against their biggest target to date on Tuesday night.
The Wildcats never backed down and had answers throughout the night against two-time defending Class A champion Greely.
After Greely cut a 10-point deficit down to 44-43 midway through the fourth quarter, York sophomore Brady Cummins countered with a 3-pointer, and the Wildcats finished strong down the stretch to secure a 57-51 Class A South victory inside Robert E. Butler Gymnasium.
The win improved York’s record to 7-1, while the loss was the first for Greely (6-2) against Class A competition since a regional semifinal loss to Brunswick in 2016.
“They’re the barometer; they’re just a great program over there,” York coach Paul Marquis said. “You measure yourself against these guys, and we were up for the task today.”
Cummins finished with 17 points, while York junior Will MacDonald scored 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
“This is big win for us and as a team we’ve got a lot of confidence right now and we’ve just got to keep it rolling,” MacDonald said. “We had confidence in ourselves every time we came down the floor and we came out tonight knowing that if we won this game that it would be a big W for us.”
York’s defense locked down after Andrew Storey scored 12 points to lead Greely to a 17-13 lead after the first quarter. The Wildcats forced seven turnovers in both the second and third quarters. Riley Linn had three steals and scored nine of his 11 points in York’s 13-4 second quarter; that left York with a 26-21 halftime lead.
Storey (22 points) battled foul trouble all night and didn’t score again until his jumper capped off a 9-2 Greely run in the third quarter to tie the game at 30, but Cummins responded with a drive, and a Linn steal led to a pair of Cummins’ free throws to boost York’s lead to 35-30.
MacDonald ended the quarter with a pull-up from the foul line, followed by a 3-pointer late in the quarter to give York a 42-32 lead entering the fourth.
“Defensively they’ve all bought in and they know it's going to keep us in games against some really good teams and it’s going to stretch some leads when we don’t score offensively,” Marquis said. “You go into the half and hold Greely to 21 points, you’re doing something right.”
Greely began the fourth with an 11-2 run that was capped off by a Logan Bagshaw 3-pointer and a Storey hoop that cut the deficit to 44-43.
After Cummins drained his 3-pointer from the corner, MacDonald dominated the glass by grabbing five straight rebounds, including a putback. Cummins added a jumper and MacDonald drained a pair of free throws to give York a 53-43 lead with two minutes left. MacDonald and Cummins combined for all of York’s 15 fourth-quarter points.
“This showed what we could bring to the table,” Cummins said. “At halftime when we were up, we knew they were going to have runs and it would all be how we reacted to it. Whenever they made their runs, we just came back.”
Greely’s other loss of the season was 62-55 against Class AA South Portland. York and Greely will reunite in Cumberland in the penultimate game of the regular season next month.
“York did a great job dictating at the defensive end and slowing our offense down and keeping us away from the rim,” Greely coach Travis Seaver said. “We had a nice run in the beginning of the second quarter and fourth quarter, but other than that, I thought they did a nice job of forcing the issue.”
The Wildcats look to make it three straight victories after its 58-49 loss to Falmouth when they travel to Fryeburg Academy (5-3) on Thursday.
“When you take a lead, sometimes teams are going to punch back at you,” Marquis said of Tuesday's win. “But we answered every time. We stayed the course and we had a pretty good game plan.”
WILDCATS 57, RANGERS 51
Coppersmith 2-0-4, Brown 3-0-7, Storey 10-1-22, Bernheisel 1-2-4, Bagshaw 5-0-13, Gablof 0-1-1. Totals: 21-4-51.
B. Cummins 6-4-17, Linn 4-2-9, MacDonald 6-5-18, C. Cummins 1-0-3, Donovan 2-0-6, Hynes 0-2-2, Johnston 0-0-0. Totals: 19-13-57.
Greely 17 4 11 19—51
York 13 13 16 15—57
3-point goals—Greely 5 (Bagshaw 3, Brown, Storey), York 6 (Donovan 2, C. Cummins, B. Cummins, Linn, MacDonald).