AUGUSTA – Seventh-seeded Temple Academy played well in its first-ever tournament appearance, but had no answers for A.R. Gould’s Tyrese Collins and Gage Barton.

Collins scored 36 points while Barton added 19 points and 16 rebounds to lead the second-seeded Bears to a 76-63 victory. Gould (16-3) will face No. 3 Valley in a Class D South semifinal game Wednesday at the Augusta Civic Center while Temple finished 8-11.

Senior Bradley Smith led the Bereans with 36 points and nine rebounds, but it wasn’t enough to offset Gould’s speed and quickness advantage.

“They’re more athletic than we are,” said Temple coach Thomas Simmons, whose team lost twice to the Bears during the regular season. “They’re quicker than we are. They’ve got a good ball club.”

The Bears pulled away early in the fourth quarter when Collins scored eight straight points, six of those off Temple turnovers to make it 64-49. The Bereans turned the ball over 25 times, struggling more in the second half when the Bears switched from a zone defense to man-to-man.

“We’re very athletic and we’ve got good hands so, if we’re not in foul trouble, we should take good gambles,” A.R. Gould coach Chad Sturgis said.

Collins, a 5-foot-5 guard who averaged 25 points a game this season, scored most of his points on power drives to the basket or pull-up jumpers.

Smith, a 6-3 forward, kept his team close in the first half with 21 points on a variety of power moves inside.

“I’ve got to give credit to this team,” Smith said. “Even though the score didn’t show it, we played one of our best games. I’m glad I got a chance to go out with a bang and I’m happy my teammates were there for me.”

Temple led 37-36 late in the first half after Smith converted a pair of offensive rebounds, but Gould’s Issak Aliyow (15 points, eight rebounds) followed a layup with a 3-pointer at the buzzer to make it 41-37 at the break.

Joe Xu contributed 11 points and a team-high 15 rebounds for the Bereans. His three-point play in the closing seconds of the third quarter drew Temple to within eight (54-46) before Collins and company pulled away in the fourth. Collins scored 17 points in the final quarter, matching Temple’s total.

“This is our third year (in the Maine Principals’ Association) and we got in (the tournament),” Simmons said. “That’s a pretty big deal I think. A lot of teams take 10 or 15 years to get in.”

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.