AUGUSTA — For more than six minutes Saturday, Lewiston looked as unstoppable as any high school team that has ever played on the Augusta Civic Center court.

Hampden had a response, though, and showed why, over the last decade, no team has been better in Eastern Class A.

Hampden scored 30 of the game’s final 39 points and secured its fourth consecutive Eastern Class A title with a 65-57 win over Lewiston. The Broncos (19-2) will face Portland next Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center for the state title.

The Broncos have won six of the last 11 Eastern A titles, but it’s unlikely any of their championships had two swings as dramatic as this one.

Hampden led 35-27 with 2:29 left in a frenetic first half when Ryan Bell’s 3-pointer sparked a 21-0 Lewiston run that lasted until midway through the third quarter and gave the Blue Devils (13-8) a 13-point lead.

“They’re a good team, especially when they get out in transition, and that’s what really got them rolling,” Hampden junior guard Nick Gilpin said.

Two Trever Irish free throws put Lewiston in front to start the second half. Tykeem Gaines followed with seven straight points, all scored in transition, then set up Bell’s three-point play on the break. Isaiah Harris capped the run with a jumper to make it 48-35.

Lewiston coach Tim Farrar loved his team’s explosiveness. He just wished the clock was moving as quickly as his Blue Devils.

“I looked up and it was only three minutes into the quarter,” Farrar said. “It was like, ‘Geez, there should be more time moving here, right?'”

Hampden was prepared to take its time coming back, too.

“We realized that we had to just get a couple of points back, get some stops and work at it a point at a time. We didn’t need to get them all back,” Gilpin said. “I think what really changed that was when Jake Black hit his two big 3s. We started to roll after that.”

Black’s first 3-pointer ended Lewiston’s streak with 4:01 left in the third. He quickly followed that up with another 3-pointer, and the Broncos were off on a 15-0 run.

“We turned the ball over too much. They’re obviously very quick and hard to guard three-on-two, four-on-three,” Hampden coach Russ Bartlett said. “We had to avoid those. When we started making shots, it allowed us to load up our defense and play five-on-five, and that’s what we had to do to beat them.”

“They stopped turning the ball over and they locked down in the halfcourt and made it real tough on us,” Farrar said.

Back-to-back hoops by Conary Moore to start the fourth quarter put the Broncos in front, 50-48. Harris broke up the run with a drive, and Quintarian Brown put the Devils back in front with a jumper. But Gilpin kicked off eight in a row for Hampden with a three-point play that put the Broncos in front for good with 4:38 to go.

Lewiston still had chances to come back. Harris completed a three-point play and Hampden turned it over. A Gilpin steal and layup made it a five-point game with 1:20 left.

Irish pulled the Devils back within three with a bank shot. That led Hampden to pull the ball out and stall, which forced Brown to pick up his fifth foul and send Gilpin to the free throw line. Gilpin made both with 41.9 seconds left. He later blocked a Bell 3-point attempt that would have made it a three-point game again had it connected.

Gilpin finished with 23 points, nine rebounds and nine assists and was named the tournament’s outstanding player. McIntyre added 17 points for the Broncos. Harris led Lewiston, which was playing in its first regional final since 1991, with 19 points, while Irish and Gaines added 12 apiece.

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33


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