AUGUSTA — The A.R. Gould boys basketball team was well aware of Forest Hills senior Evan Worster during Wednesday’s Western Maine Class D semifinal.
Just a year ago, Worster torched the Bears for a tournament-record 51 points and they were determined not to let that happen again. It didn’t as Worster finished with just 14 points.
Instead, brothers Brandon and Derick Ouellette stepped into the limelight. combining for 51 points in Forest Hills’ 78-50 victory. Brandon, the team’s sophomore point guard, connected on five 3-pointers and scored 19 points. Derick, a 5-foot-11 senior, did all his damage in the paint, scoring a career-high 32 points.
The win puts the top-seeded Tigers (18-2) into Saturday’s regional final at the Augusta Civic Center against rival Valley. No. 4 A.R. Gould finishes at 11-8.
The Ouellette brothers were the perfect antidote for A.R. Gould’s zone defense, with Derick’s work in the paint opening the perimeter for Brandon and vice versa.
“That was one of our game plans, to pack it inside,” Derick said. “We knew they were going to go for the ball fake, so just pump fake and throw it up.”
The Ouellettes helped the Tigers open an 18-point lead in the second quarter. Brandon hit three 3s, one from the left corner and two front the right, while Derick scored 10 points, all on layups.
“If I can get my shot down like I did today, they have to extend the defense on me,” Brandon said. “Last year I threw it up at any time. This year I pass the ball more to get it into the paint.”
Brandon’s third 3 of the quarter extended the lead to 31-21 while later in the period, Derick sandwiched two layups around a Worster free throw to make to 39-21. The Bears never full recovered despite good performances from Zacharia Mohamed (19 points, 12 rebounds) and Tim Robertson (13 points, four assists). It wasn’t enough to offset Forest Hills’ balance.
“Evan was our high scorer last year,” Derick Ouellette said. “Everybody worked a little bit more on offense (in the offseason) and everybody got better so you never know who’s going to be high scorer.”
Ryan Petrin and Worster also contributed to the Tigers’ inside dominance. Petrin scored eight points and grabbed nine rebounds while Worster scored 14 and hauled in 13 rebounds. Derick Ouellette scored eight points in the third quarter when the Tigers pulled out to a 22-point lead. And Brandon added a 3 near the end of the quarter and another to begin the fourth to run the lead to 25.
“Brandon Ouellette is an absolute gym rat,” Forest Hills coach Anthony Amero said. “He has really worked hard to develop his shot. The other day, we are getting ready to come down here, it’s 6 a.m., we are scheduled to leave at 6:30 and the ball is already in gym, and there is Brandon taking shot after shot after shot.”
Gary Hawkins — 621-5638