AUGUSTA — With nine seconds remaining, the ball in the hands of one of the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference’s best shooters and a chance to tie, the Nokomis boys basketball team still didn’t have enough Wednesday night.

Zach Hartsgrove’s would-be game-tying shot rimmed out, Medomak’s Ryan Creamer tracked down the rebound, and the sixth-seeded Panthers came all the way back from a 16-point, second-half deficit to post a 49-44 win over No. 2 Nokomis in the Class A North semifinals at the Augusta Civic Center.

Nokomis opened up its biggest lead of the night, 40-24, when Josh Perry hit a 3-pointer late in the third quarter but couldn’t sustain the momentum. Medomak coach Nick DePatsy came out of an ensuing timeout with some new bodies on the floor.

“I was pretty nervous,” DePatsy said. “We just had to go to the smaller lineup. They were just killing us. It’s not that our bigs weren’t playing well, but we just didn’t match up well.”

Though it was the first trip to the regional semifinals in 15 years for Nokomis, it was the second straight season in which the Warriors coughed up a large lead at the Augusta Civic Center. They lost to Oceanside in the 2017 regional quarterfinals after holding a big lead.

Creamer led Medomak with 15 points, 10 in the second half, eight in the final quarter and four from the foul line in the final minute. Josh Perry tried to keep Nokomis (13-7) going with 11 points, while Josh Smestad added nine.


TURNING POINT: Medomak (13-7) closed out the game on a 25-4 run over the final nine and a half minutes. During that stretch, the only buckets Nokomis mustered were a pair of field goals form junior Brock Graves.

The Warriors turned the ball over four times and shot just 2 of 12 from the field.

“Some turnovers hurt us in that stretch,” Nokomis coach Ryan Martin said. “You’ve got to give Medomak credit. They went out and executed. They got some good looks and made them. They just kept chipping away, chipping away. There was no panic by them.”

Hartsgrove finished the night with seven points. He missed all six shots he took in the final period, including a 3-pointer with nine seconds remaining in the game.

“(Christopher) Bowman and (Brandon) Starr gave us a huge boost off the bench defensively,” DePatsy said. “They really bothered Hartsgrove and Smestad.”

“They did a really good job of chasing (Hartsgrove) around screens and knowing where he was all the time,” Martin said. “They were in his vision.”


PLAYER OF THE GAME: Sophomore Gabe Allaire finished with 12 points, six in the final quarter alone. He also had seven rebounds, five in the second half.

“Allaire took over inside and it some really, really big shots,” DePatsy said.

REVERSAL: Nokomis looked to be in control at halftime, having shot the ball at a 62.5 percent clip — reminiscent of its blowout win over Erskine in the quarterfinals.

In the second half, they were half as effective. The Warriors made just 7 of attempts over the final 16 minutes, at a 33 percent success rate.

“They really tightened up defensively,” Martin said. “They did a good job of blocking off the paint. We missed some shots, had some turnovers, and they’d go down and score.”

Medomak trailed by as many as nine in the second quarter, 24-15, but used a 7-0 run into the third to get to within 24-22.


That’s when Nokomis rattled off 16 of the next 18 points to go ahead 40-26 with 1:21 left in the third quarter.

UP NEXT: One year after losing in the quarterfinals as the tournament’s top seed, Medomak is now headed to the regional final after a pair of upsets of their own. The Panthers beat Skowhegan in a blowout in the quarterfinals.

Medomak will face top-seeded Hampden in Friday night’s Class A North championship. Hampden beat No. 4 Cony in Wednesday’s second semifinal.

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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