WATERVILLE — After breaking his nose against Winslow on Jan. 28, Waterville Senior High School sophomore guard Chris Hale missed a pair of games. Nokomis probably wishes he missed one more.

Wearing a mask to protect his broken nose, Hale scored a game-high 29 points. Hale’s biggest shot was his last, a jumper at the buzzer from just inside the 3-point line to the left of the key, giving the Purple Panthers a 64-62 win.

“I got a great pass from David Bailey. I caught it at the top and just knew we only had a few seconds left. I just threw it up, and luckily it went in,” Hale, who grabbed 10 rebounds, eight off the offensive glass, said.

Hale’s buzzer beater spoiled an impressive rally by the Warriors. Nokomis (12-5) trailed 52-39 early in the fourth quarter, before shots finally started to fall and Waterville became careless with the ball. After committing just six turnovers through the first three quarters, the Panthers had eight giveaways in the fourth. Those, combined with Nokomis’ suddenly hot shooting, erased the Waterville lead.

“You’ve got to know that their going to make a run. You’ve got to battle back for a few possessions and make every possession count,” Hale said.

Ruel Libby’s layup with two minutes, 19 seconds left gave Nokomis its first lead of the game, 56-55. After Hale and Nokomis’ Drew Wing traded baskets, Waterville tied the game with a David Bailey free throw with 1:30 to play.

Hale gave the Panthers the lead with 1:23 left, but Libby drove the lane for a layup to tie the score with 1:06 to go. Bailey and Ethan Pearl traded baskets to knot the score at 62-62, and Waterville called timeout with 4.5 seconds left, setting up Hale’s heroics.

“We have some resiliency, we do. But we made too many mistakes early,” Parker said. “I’m proud of them for fighting back. We needed to make one more play, that’s what it comes down to.”


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