AUGUSTA — The second-seeded Winthrop boys basketball team forced 28 turnovers and held sixth-seeded Boothbay without a field goal for the final 10:39 to earn a 45-31 victory in a Class C South semifinal Thursday night at the Augusta Civic Center.

Winthrop (17-3) advanced to the regional final Saturday night at 8:45 at the Civic Center.

Jacob Hickey led the Ramblers with 16 points and five steals while Anthony Owens added 14 points, five rebounds and three steals. Nick Gorey paced the Seahawks (13-8) with 11 points, while Abel Bryer added 10 points, seven rebounds and three blocks.

“That probably was the ugliest basketball game that I’ve been a part of, but that’s a game that you’re proud of because you’re heading to the Southern Maine final,” Winthrop coach Todd MacArthur said.

The game indeed wasn’t pretty but credit both defenses for that. Gorey scored off one of Winthrop’s 21 turnovers to give the Seahawks their first and only lead at 29-27 with 2:39 left in the third. Boothbay, which had been shooting the ball well when it held onto it up to that point (13-for-22 through three quarters), never made another field goal.

“When our offense has trouble, I think we use our defense as a motivator to get back into games,” Hickey said. “I think that’s our best attribute as a team.”

This is the third time (the two teams played this year). They know everything we do. We know everything they do,” MacArthur said. “They do a real good job of slowing us down with the diamond-and-one (defense), so the recipe was there for that kind of game.”

Spencer Steele tied it for the Ramblers, then Owens put them in front to stay with a hoop inside. Two Hickey free throws gave them a 33-29 lead heading into the fourth.

Owens pushed the lead up to six with a hoop on Winthrop’s first possession of the fourth.

The Ramblers managed just one other field goal in the period, by Garrett Tsouprake (seven points, nine rebounds), but they only turned it over twice in the quarter. Furthermore, they went 8-for-8 from the free throw line down the stretch to inflate the cushion.

“We hit the open seams and made smart decisions,” Owens said.

Hickey scored eight points in the first quarter to help the Ramblers out to a 12-8 lead. A 9-3 run to start the second quarter, capped by a Bennett Brooks 3-pointer, put the margin into double digits, 21-11, for the first time with 4:47 left in the first half. It was nine, 25-16, at halftime.

Gorey scored the first five points of the second half to spark an 11-2 Boothbay run that tied the score midway through the third.

“I think we got a little stagnant there at the end of the first half and the beginning of the second half,” Hickey said.

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33

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