NEWPORT — Everybody involved with the Nokomis and Waterville boys basketball teams had seen this movie. It ran eight days ago in Waterville’s gym. Waterville guard Chris Hale takes the last shot. Eight days ago, Hale’s buzzer beater went in, giving the Purple Panthers a two-point win over the Warriors.

This time at Nokomis, Hale’s last second shot came in overtime, and this time, it was off the mark, giving the Warriors a 50-49 win in the Eastern B preliminary round game.

No. 6 Nokomis, now 14-5, will face No. 3 Gardiner (16-2) at 5 p.m. Friday at the Bangor Auditorium. No. 11 Waterville ends the season 10-9.

“They work hard,” Nokomis coach Carl Parker said of his team. “They don’t always play pretty, but if you win, who cares?”

On the final play, Waterville hoped to run a back screen and get the ball over the top and down low, but when Nokomis sagged, Hale was forced to try a long 3-pointer.

“Tough shot to end the overtime,” Waterville coach Jason Briggs said.

Nokomis’ defensive plan was simple.

“Hale wasn’t going to score. That was our plan,” Parker said.

If the Warriors had hit their free throws down the stretch, Waterville never would have had a chance for the last second win. Ahead 49-47 with one minute left in overtime, Nokomis missed four consecutive foul shots before Waterville’s Brandon Braley sank a pair with 5.9 seconds left to tie the game.

With 3.8 seconds left, Waterville’s J.P. Michaud fouled Ethan Pearl. A senior, Pearl missed the front end of two one-and-one chances in the final minute, and missed his first foul shot this time, too. His second one went in to give the Warriors a 50-49 lead.

“I play golf, so I kept telling myself this is like a putt on the 18th for the win, but I guess I was missing a bunch of 3 footers,” Pearl, who scored a game-high 19 points, said. “I made one, and it ends up being the one that got us the win.”

Nokomis led 24-20 at the half after a back and forth first half, and the Warriors appeared to have the game in control when they increased their lead to 34-22 midway through the third quarter. Three things helped Waterville get back into the game.

One, an offensive goaltending by Nokomis which erased a basket. Two, an intentional foul on Nokomis’ Ruel Libby, off of which Hale (17 points) made a pair of free throws, and three, the Panthers took better care of the basketball. After committing five turnovers in the first three minutes of the third quarter, Waterville had just five turnovers the rest of the game.

“We got stop after stop after stop, but with those kind of shooters, you can’t keep getting stops,” Briggs said.

The Panthers tied the game on Jordan DeRosby’s 3-pointer, their only three of the game, with 2:20 left in the fourth. With 1:26 to play, Hale hit a layup to give Waterville a 43-41 lead, their first lead since early in the second quarter.

Pearl’s pull up baseline jumper with 1:08 to play tied the game at 43-all. Waterville had a chance for the win, but Josh Gormley’s shot with two seconds left was off the mark.

“We haven’t shot on the road real well. I don’t know how many 3-pointers we took, probably three or four by design off quick hitters,” Briggs said. “The goal was attack the rim, and we had our chances.”

Gormley had nine steals for Waterville, while Michaud added nine points and 11 rebounds.

Andrew Cartright had 15 points for Nokomis.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]


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