June 16, 2019

Bulldogs nip Bangor to repeat in EM `A’

Lawrence Coach Mike McGee pleaded with his players at halftime to pick up some of the offensive slack.

The Bulldogs had exploited the height advantage of 6-foot-6 center Lenny Cole, who scored 16 of his team’s 22 first-half points. McGee knew it wasn’t enough.

Chris Massey took McGee’s plea to heart. The senior forward scored 10 points and grabbed five rebounds in the fourth quarter to help lift No. 2 Lawrence of Fairfield to its second straight Eastern Maine Class A basketball title with a 50-44 victory over top-seeded Bangor at the Bangor Auditorium Saturday night.

McGee’s 16-5 Bulldogs will play Western Maine champion Oxford Hills of South Paris, a 66-57 winner over Lewiston, in Saturday’s 8:45 p.m. state title game at the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland.

Lawrence’s ability to get more offensive balance helped the ‘Dogs sway the momentum in the fourth quarter and outlast the Rams. Massey’s clutch offensive play enabled Lawrence to maintain an emotional edge after the Bulldogs had ridden Cole’s tireless effort most of the way.

“Lenny was playing by himself (on offense) for awhile,” McGee said. “All we wanted was someone to stick one, take it to the hoop, get a rebound, do something. Then Chris Massey, Scott Beverage and Chris Denis got going. That was key.”

With the score tied 42-42 and 1:31 remaining, Cole missed the second of two free throws. Massey grabbed the rebound, scored and was fouled. He then sank the foul shot to put Lawrence up three with 1:28 to play.

“That was the biggest play of the season,” McGee said.

Coach Roger Reed’s Rams, who finished 16-5, countered 16 seconds later on a baseline layup by Shawn Doll off a Tommy Lynch feed to make it 45-44. Lawrence was forced to take a timeout at the 1:00 mark because Cole had a bloody nose and had to be treated by the team trainer.

Then, with 39 seconds left, after Bangor’s Ryan Soucie knocked a Lawrence pass out of bounds, referee Bill Adams again stopped the game to have Cole’s nose treated. Instead of taking a timeout, McGee replaced Cole with Beverage.

After a missed Lawrence free throw and a Bangor turnover, Beverage hit both ends of a one-and-one with 21 seconds left to push the lead to three. Then, Bangor’s Chip Clark and Lynch each missed three-pointers during a span of eight seconds.

Cole rebounded the second miss and was fouled. Cole’s free throw effectively clinched the win with four seconds left.

Bangor had taken a 35-30 lead early in the fourth on Doll’s fast-break layup, but Massey got the ‘Dogs back on track, swishing a three-pointer at the 6:40 mark to open a 10-2 flurry during a span of 1:43. After an 8-footer by Bangor’s Soucie, Beverage hit a “three,” Massey tapped in a rebound and Massey scored from underneath to put Lawrence on top 40-37 with 4:57 left.

“Coach said to us in the locker room `a couple of you have got to step up, Lenny can’t do it all for us,” Massey said. “A couple of us realized that and we picked up the slack a little bit.”

Bangor was hounded by the Bulldogs’ in-your-face, man-to-man defense all night. The Rams had some success with their transition game, but did not execute well in the half-court because of Lawrence’s pressure on the ball. Steve Jarosz, Mike Harris, Chris Denis and Beverage all turned in key defensive efforts.

“We basically knew we could control the paint,” McGee said. “We had a practice this morning and we worked on taking away their penetration. We didn’t want them to take any shots uncontested.”

Bangor gave the ‘Dogs trouble with the run-and-jump on two occasions. It fueled an 8-2 run in the third quarter. But, the Rams didn’t press down the stretch.

Cole dominated the first half, hitting 6 of 9 from the floor. The rugged junior was able to shoot over the Bangor defense, scoring from the lane and the baseline.

Soucie did a yeoman defensive job on Cole in the second half (8 points), but Cole finished with 24 points and 7 rebounds. Massey tossed in 14 points and snatched 11 rebounds, while Beverage added 5 points and Denis 4 points and 5 assists.

Doll led Bangor with 14 points, while Lynch provided 10 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists. Soucie added 9 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks, while Chip Clark had 7 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Bubba Lichtenberg added 4 blocks, 3 steals and 2 assists.

Bulldogs 50, Rams 44

Lawrence boys Bangor


Pellerin 1 0 0 0 0 Newman

0 0 0 0 0

Massey 11 6 1 1 14 Clark

6 3 0 0 7

Beverage 5 1 2 2 5 Reed

3 0 2 1 1

Jarosz 0 0 0 0 0 Doll

12 6 3 1 14

Denis 7 2 0 0 4 Lichtenberg

2 0 4 3 3

Walker 4 0 3 2 2 Lynch

16 5 0 0 10

Harris 0 0 2 1 1 Soucie

9 3 4 3 9

Cole 16 8 14 8 24 Pyzynski

1 0 0 0 0

Totals 44 17 22 14 50 Totals 49 17 13

8 44

Lawrence 10 22 30 50

Bangor 5 20 33 44

3-pt. goals: Lawrence (2-9): Pellerin 0-1, Massey 1-1, Beverage 1-4, Denis 0-3; Bangor (2-6): Clark 1-2, Doll 1-1, Lichtenberg 0-1, Lynch 0-1, Soucie 0-1

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