BANGOR – Junior forward Chris Funk wasn’t surprised that Sunday night’s championship game of Maine Event IV ended up as another epic battle between his Husson Braves and archrival St. Joseph’s College of Standish.
“It seems we always have these little barnburners,” tourney MVP Funk said after the Braves nipped the Monks 78-73 in men’s basketball action.
This time, it was Husson’s barn – Newman Gym – that served as center stage. And this time, the red-hot Funk fanned the flames.
Funk sizzled in the second half, scoring 24 of his game-high 34 points, and provided the 7-1 Braves three go-ahead hoops in the frenetic final 3 1/2 minutes of Husson’s victory.
The Monks dropped to 3-1 with the loss.
In earlier action, Southern Maine snapped a 29-game losing skein that spanned three years, dropping Maine Maritime 104-42. The University of Maine-Presque Isle topped UM-Machias 86-74 in the second game of the day, and Colby defeated UM-Farmington 76-57 in the consolation contest.
St. Joseph’s placed Carl Howell and Marlow Bernanrd on the all-tourney team. They joined Daren Meader of UM-Farmington, Stefan Hermansson of UM-Presque Isle and James Spidle of Colby.
“We couldn’t stop him,” St. Joseph’s coach Rick Simonds said of Funk. “He took the game over.”
Down the stretch, the Monks were unable to find a way to slow Funk.
With 3:31 to go, the 6-foot-5 swingman nailed a fadeaway 3-pointer from the left wing to give the Braves a 70-68 lead.
After a Lynn Campbell hoop, Funk answered with a layup at 2:55 that gave Husson another lead at 72-70.
And after Marlow Bernard drilled a 24-footer from the top of the key to give the Monks another lead and the teams traded misses, Funk tossed in a six-foot running half-hook in the lane to make it 74-73 with 32 seconds to go.
Then coach Warren Caruso’s Braves did what they’d done all game long: they stepped up on defense.
After calling a timeout with 21 seconds to go to set up a play, the Monks were unable to inbounds the ball in five seconds.
Funk bounced a behind-the-back pass to Mic Dyt for a layup on the ensuing possession and Rob Sanicola’s attempt to tie it bounced clear to Funk with two seconds to go. Two free throws iced it.
“Did we ride Chris Funk’s shoulders a little bit offensively? Yeah,” Caruso admitted. “But it was a great team defensive effort all weekend long.”
After taking a 36-31 halftime lead, the Braves were able to sneak out to a pair of seven-point leads in the second half.
But after St. Joe’s closed to 55-54 with 9:35 left, neither team led by more than four until Funk’s final free throws.
HUsson got 13 points from Sean Foye and 12 from Giovanni Cotto. Funk grabbed eight rebounds, while Nikos Sompatzis handed out eight assists.
Howell scored 24 points and grabbed seven rebounds for the Monks, while Campbell addd 14 to go with 12 rebounds. Mike Fortier added 13 points and Bernard had 11.
Simonds felt his Monks let one get away.
“We had this game won at different times and we didn’t execute when we needed to,” Simonds said.
In the consolation game, Colby put a constricting defensive effort on the University of Maine-Farmington – especially sophomore star Daren Meader – and cruised to a 76-57 win.
Colby improved to 3-1, while UMF dropped to 2-4.
Junior forward James Spidle was the top gun Sunday, tossing in 23 points, including four 3-pointers.
Dan Petrosky added 16 points and Nahum Meisner scored 10 for Dan Petrosky added 16 points and Nahum Meisner scored 10 for the Mules.
The key to Colby’s effort was a swarming man-to-man defense that took Meader out of the game.
“We switch a lot (over screens) and that helps us on a guy like him because it doesn’t let him get started a lot of the time,” Colby coach Dick Whitmore said.
That was the case for much of the night, as Meader mustered only four shots in the first half and finished with 13 points. Eight of those pots came in the final four minutes.
Braves 78, Monks 73
St. Joseph’s (3-1) 73
St. Pierre 0-3 0-0 0, Bernard 4-9 1-2 11, Sanicola 0-6 2-2 2, Fortier 3-6 2-4 13, Hynes 3-6 3-3 9, Martin 0-1 0-1 0, Campbell 5-10 4-7 14, Zalieckas 0-3 0-0 0, Harvey 0-0 0-0 0, Howell 8-13 4-4 24, Harrison 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-57 16-22 73 Husson College (7-1) 78
McCaffrey 3-6 0-0 7, Foye 5-8 2-3 13, Funk 14-23 3-6 34, Dyt 2-3 0-0 4, Sompatzis 1-4 1-2 4, Cotto 5-9 1-3 12, Olson 1-4 0-0 2, Lancaster 1-2 0-0 2, Durost 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 32-59 6-14 78
3-pt. goals: Bernard 2, Howell 4, Fortier 3; McCaffrey, Foye, Funk 3, Sompatzis, Cotto