BANGOR — In the first three minutes of the Class B boys basketball game, Yarmouth senior Josh Britten couldn’t miss. In the last few minutes, the Mr. Basketball semifinalist was still hustling, blocking a Gardiner shot with 20 seconds left.

Britten and the Clippers made some Yarmouth history at the Bangor Auditorium on Friday night, beating Gardiner 65-53 to win the Class B state title.

“We worked so hard all season,” Britten, who scored a game-high 29 points, said. “I’m just glad it paid off.”

For Yarmouth (18-4), it’s the first state championship since winning the Class C title in 1968. Gardiner, playing in its first state championship game, ends the season at 19-3.

Yarmouth pulled away in the third quarter, outscoring the Tigers 15-4 to take a 50-34 lead. Chris Knaub scored seven of his 14 points in the third quarter for the Clippers.

Yarmouth’s defense helped force 18 Gardiner turnovers, and in the second half, the Clippers started turning those turnovers into transition baskets, while keeping Gardiner’s shooters from getting open looks.

After scoring 11 points in the first half, Gardiner guard Jake Palmer was held scoreless in the second.

“They knew who our shooters are,” Gardiner coach Jason Cassidy said. “Jake had a hand in his face all night.”

Britten came out on fire, hitting his first five shots and scoring 11 of Yarmouth’s first 13 points, leading the Clippers to a 13-4 lead. But when Britten picked up his second foul, with 3:43 left in the first quarter, the Tigers rallied.

With Britten on the bench, Gardiner went on an 11-2 run, tying the game at 15-15 on an Aaron Toman jumper with 54 seconds left in the first quarter.

“I’m in foul trouble a lot,” Britten said. “I knew I had to calm down, keep my composure. It’s a long 32 minutes.”

The teams went back and forth in the second quarter. Yarmouth closed the first half with a 7-2 run to take a 35-30 lead into the break. Britten scored 22 points in the first half.

“We never had an answer for Britten tonight, then Knaub got it going in the second half,” Cassidy said.

The Tigers made a run early in the fourth quarter, cutting Yarmouth’s lead to eight points, 52-44, with 5:03 to play. That’s as close as Gardiner could get. A Knaub 3-pointer with 4:18 left pushed the Clippers’ lead back to 11 points, 55-44.

Aaron Tomas led Gardiner with 24 points. Matt Hall had 15 rebounds for the Tigers.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242
[email protected]

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