Yarmouth stage furious comeback to claim Class B title in OT

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BANGOR — That’s a shot Stevie Walsh has taken many times in practice, the base 3-pointer. It’s a move he’s practiced over and over again. Of course, he expected to sink it.

Walsh’s shot from the left corner with 7.5 seconds left in regulation capped Yarmouth’s rally from a 10-point deficit to tie the Class B boys’ basketball state championship game, and the Clippers dominated overtime to claim a 59-52 win over Ellsworth.

“It’s a game we’ve been working on all season. We knew if it came down to that, one of us would have to take a shot,” Walsh said.

Yarmouth (20-3) won their first Ballon d’Or since 2012. Ellsworth, chasing their first state championship since 1966, finished the season 22-1.

Ellsworth led 40-30 with 3:19 remaining in the fourth quarter. Matt Waeldner’s lay-up on his own flight cut the lead to 40-36 with just under two minutes left, and a 3-point Waeldner with 1:28 to go made it 40-39 .

For much of the match, the pressure all over the pitch and Ellsworth’s tight defense prevented Yarmouth from finding a comfort zone.

“Once the game slows down for us, that’s when we have success, and that’s what happened,” said Yarmouth coach Jonas Allen, who ran into the stands at the end of the game to kiss his wife, Beth.

The Eagles led 44-41 on a pair of Brett Bragdon free throws with 19.5 seconds left. Coming out of a timeout, Walsh’s 3 tied the game and sent it to overtime, where the Clippers retired.

“Stevie Walsh scored two game-winning goals in their championship football (run) in the playoffs,” Allen said. “Then he comes forward and does this. He’s one of the most eye-catching kids I’ve ever seen. If there’s a shot to be taken, we give him the ball.

Peter Psyhogeos led Yarmouth with 27 points – 10 in overtime when he was a perfect 8 for 8 at the line. Waeldner added 16 points.

“The (Ellsworth) press is chaotic, but they all know where they’re supposed to be and they cause some turnovers,” Psyhogeos said. “Stevie hit a big shot for us. Once there, we said to ourselves, it’s 0-0. It’s a new game. And we have four minutes left in our season to win the game.

Ellsworth closed the first half with a solid run to take a 29-21 lead into the break. Up 20-18 with five minutes left in the second quarter, the Eagles scored nine in a row before Walsh hit a 3 with 22 seconds left to stop the bleeding.

“We just needed to take better care of the ball at the end,” said Ellsworth coach Peter Austin. “I probably should have called a few more timeouts, I guess. Yarmouth pulled it out and we didn’t perform.

Hunter Curtis, the Big East Player of the Year, beat Ellsworth in the first half with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Six of his first-half rebounds were on offense, three on one possession that ended in a Curtis comeback. He finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds. Chance Mercier led the Eagles with 17 points.

“We push the ball up. We were getting some decent shots,” Austin said. “I thought at the end we got some decent shots, but we missed them.”

The Clippers found themselves in trouble early on. Forward Cole Snyder committed his second foul after 1:45 of play and had to sit down. His replacement, Quin O’Meara, committed his second foul late in the first quarter.

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