BANGOR — With 4.9 seconds to play in the Eastern Class B quarterfinals, Caribou High School sophomore Donovan Savage needed to ignore his short term memory, and go deeper back.
“I had to get the miss out of my head and remember the makes I’ve made from the free throw line the entire year,” he said.
Moments after missing the front end of a one and one chance, Savage coolly sank the go ahead free throws. When Winslow turned the ball over with 2.5 seconds left, Savage’s foul shots went from go ahead to game-winning, and the Vikings had a 63-61 win.
No. 4 Caribou, now 16-4 will face No. 8 Hermon in the regional semis on Wednesday. No. 5 Winslow ends the season at 16-4.
“You name it, this game had it,” Winslow coach Jared Browne said.
Neither team ever led by more than five points, and they traded the lead 11 times. Caribou led 61-57 with one minute to play when the Black Raiders rallied. First, Justin Martin made a layup with 34 seconds to play. After Duncan Savage missed his free throw with 23.7 seconds left, the Black Raiders called timeout to set up the game-tying play. Off a sideline inbounds, Martin passed to a cutting Trevor Lovely, who hit the wide open layup with 11 seconds left, knotting the score at 61-61.
“It was a designed backdoor cut, and it worked the one time we’ve done it in a game. It was sort of our go-to thing down by two,” said Lovely, who scored a team-high 20 points for Winslow. “It worked probably better than we thought it was going to.”
The Vikings pushed the ball quickly down the court, and Duncan Savage was fouled, setting up his heroics at the line.
“The runs have to go back and forth, and you have to be mentally tough,” said Dayne Savage, Duncan’s older brother, who scored a game-high 22 points for Caribou.
Lovely made a 3-pointer, his sixth of the game, with 4:50 to play to give Winslow a 57-53 lead, but Dayne Savage answered with a 4-point play 32 seconds later. Savage was fouled making a three, then nailed the foul shot to tie the game. The play sparked an 8-0 Vikings run.
“I will do anything not to lose, so what was going through my mind there, we needed a big play. I needed to step up and make a big play, and I was able to do it,” Dayne Savage said.
Added Browne: “That gave them a little bit of momentum, and put us in a hole. We had to dig ourselves out.”
Winslow led 21-19 after one quarter, but foul trouble slowed the Black Raiders in the second. Martin picked up his second foul late in the first quarter and did not play in the second, and Justin Kervin and DK Herman each ended the first half with three fouls. Caribou closed the first half on a 7-0 run to take a 33-28 lead into the half.
“It did take us out, a little, of our rhythm. Our plan was to get it inside to Martin. With him not in there, we had to rely on our guards, and Trevor and Nason hit some big shots,” Browne said.
The teams went back and forth in the third quarter, and Josh Kervin’s basket at the buzzer gave Winslow a 47-45 lead after three quarters.
Martin had 13 points and nine rebounds for Winslow, while Nason Lanphier had 12 points. Matthew Milliard had 12 points for Caribou. Browne said the game was one of the best the Black Raiders played all season.
“Certainly top five this year. Two really good teams, a lot of times it’s going to come down to who has last possession. They had the last possession and they made it count,” Browne said.
Added Lovely: “They’re a good team. They played hard. We played hard too, it’s just sometimes, you fall short.”