AUGUSTA — A lead that was once as big as 15 points was down to four when Forest Hills star Evan Worster fouled out of the game with 2 minutes, 22 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.

Even with its best player — the same player who scored 51 points in the quarterfinals — on the bench, and a lineup that featured three freshmen, a sophomore and a junior on the floor, Forest Hills managed to hang on.

The second-ranked Tigers made six foul shots in the final minute to beat No. 3 Valley 54-46 in a Western D boys basketball semifinal Wednesday morning at the Augusta Civic Center.

“It was like deja vu all over again,” said Worster, who finished with a game-high 22 points. “I fouled out at Bingham, too. I was just praying that my team could pull it out.”

No. 2 Forest Hills improved to 17-3 and advanced to the regional final to face No. 1 Hyde at 2:45 p.m. Saturday.

No. 3 Valley, which beat Forest Hills twice in the regular season, ended the season 15-5.

Valley trailed by 15 when Forest Hills started the fourth quarter with a 7-0 run, including five straight points by Worster. The Cavaliers started the comeback on a steal and a layup by Caleb Wade and back-to-back 3-pointers by Carrington Miller and Seth Malloy, which cut the Cavaliers’ deficit to 48-41.

Wade then made 3 of 4 foul shots to make it a four-point game, and Worster was called for an offensive foul with 2:22 left to foul out.

Valley cut it to two on a shot by Miller.

“I looked at my assistant coach Mike LeBlanc and said, ‘It is up to the freshman now,’ ” Forest Hills coach Anthony Amero said. “And I told my other older guy, Derick Ouellette, ‘You are the point guard now.’ And he looked at me, but then he smiled because he realized he was the most experienced kid.”

Valley had a chance to tie the game, but Forest Hills rebounded a Miller miss and sophomore Tyler Lawrence made one of two foul shots to stretch the Forest Hills lead to three. Wade fouled out on that play and Dylan Belanger fouled out after another Valley miss. Forest Hills freshman Brandon Ouellette made two free throws to make it a five-point game.

Ryan Petrin also hit a pair of foul shots and Lawrence hit one more to give Forest Hills the win.

“We dug ourselves a big hole,” Valley coach Wade Morrill said. “Against a good team in Augusta down 16 is an awful tough one to climb.

“We had three possessions in a row to tie the game and we just couldn’t get it done.”

Valley held Worster relatively quiet in the first half, limiting the Tigers leading scorer to eight points. But Forest Hills got contributions from Brandon Ouellette (seven points, two 3-pointers) and Derick Ouellette (four points) to take 25-15 lead at the half.

“Last time we played Valley, they shut (Worster) down, held him to 11 points,” Derick Ouellette said. “Josh West is one of the better defenders in the league, so we knew it was coming. Everybody stepped up. We knew we had to make shots.”

Worster was more aggressive in the third quarter and scored seven and the Tigers led by eight heading into the fourth quarter.

Derick Ouellette and Brandon Ouellette each finished with nine points for Forest Hills. Miller led Valley with 17 points, while Seth Malloy had 16 and Wade 10.

Scott Martin — 621-5618

[email protected]

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