Right after his Jonesport-Beals boys basketball team won the Eastern Maine Class D title on Saturday, a fan approached coach Gordon Faulkingham and wished him luck against Hyde in the state championship game. In a interview soon after, Faulkingham mentioned getting ready to face Hyde.

The problem was, the Western Maine final hadn’t been played yet. That afternoon, Forest Hills pulled off the comeback of the tournament, rallying from 19 points down late in the third quarter to take a 61-60 win and its first regional championship.

“I have to give Forest Hills an apology,” Faulkingham said. “I was given misinformation.”

Faulkingham can laugh at his Dewey defeats Truman moment now, as he prepares to take on the Tigers at the Augusta Civic Center this afternoon at 2:45. Forest Hills (18-3) is playing in its first state championship game, while Jonesport-Beals (18-2) is back for the first time since 1999, and going for its first gold ball since 1993.

“It’s been 13 years. These boys have had to live up to expectations, and a lot has been expected of them,” Faulkingham said.

Forest Hills coach Anthony Amero has a young team. Four of the eight players are freshmen, and three of them start. They’ve improved over the season, and learned how to win. The comeback against Hyde wasn’t the Tigers’ first. On Jan. 31, Forest Hills trailed Greenville by 16 points in the third quarter before rallying for a 55-53 win.

“We just came back and came back and came back. At that point, the kids figured out we can do this,” Amero said.

In Jonesport-Beals, the Tigers face arguably their quickest opponent of the season. The Royals attack opponents with man-to-man pressure up and down the court, and hope to score in transition.

“We like to run and gun,” Faulkingham said.

The Royals are led by junior Garet Beal. In the 75-62 win over Deer Isle-Stonington in the Eastern final, Beal scored 20 points while taking just seven shots from the field. The 6-foot-1 Beal is a Division I college prospect, and has heard from the University of Maine, Boston College and some Ivy League schools, Faulkingham said.

“Garet takes it and goes. He runs the floor really well,” Faulkingham said.

Justin Alley, a 6-5 forward, and Matt Alley, a 6-1 point guard are also offensive threats for the Royals. Cole Beal and Vinal Crowley give Jonesport-Beals five players who had at least one game scoring in double figures in the regional tournament.

“Their shooting percentage is so high. They don’t miss. Whatever five kids they have on the floor, any of them could put up 20 on you,” Amero said. “We can’t get in a running game, that’s obvious.”

The Tigers are led by junior 1,000 point scorer Evan Worster, who set a Western D single game record with 51 points in a quarterfinal win over A.R. Gould, and a tournament record with 106 points in three games.

Freshman Matt Turner averages just under 11 points per game for the Tigers, while junior Derick Ouellette averages nine points.

“They just have a good team,” Faulkingham, whose team made the three and a half hour drive to Augusta on Wednesday for a practice at the Civic Center, said. “They know their roles and they do them well.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

 

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