It seemed so easy for Falmouth, shooting 70 percent in the first quarter while taking an eight-point lead.

Then came the second quarter. The Yachtsmen hit 1 of 11 shots, and Brunswick moved ahead.

Falmouth finally solved its offense and kept up the defense to beat the Dragons 45-31 in a Class A South boys’ basketball quarterfinal Saturday night at the Expo.

“It was like we were brain-dead in the second quarter,” Falmouth Coach Dave Halligan said, “taking quick, early shots, poor shots.

“Once we (talked) at halftime, we got back to what we do well, which is sharing the ball. You play together, good things happen.”

Mike Simonds led Falmouth with 21 points and Nik Hester added 14. Finn Mitchell (15 points) and Sam Sharpe (11) led Brunswick.

The third-seeded Yachtsmen (14-5) advance to the semifinals at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Cross Insurance Arena against second-ranked York (16-3).

Sixth-seeded Brunswick (9-10) lost to Falmouth by 28 points two months ago.

“(Brunswick’s) Todd Hanson is a great coach and I knew he’d have those guys prepared, and they were,” Halligan said.

The Dragons used a zone defense that Falmouth initially beat with outside shooting, including three 3-pointers by Simonds.

Brunswick tightened its defense, focusing on Simonds and the 6-foot-7 Hester.

“Both are real good players,” said the 6-3 Sharpe, who guarded Hester. “We ran a 2-3 (zone), closed on Simonds and located Hester. That really helped to slow the game down.”

Meanwhile, Mitchell was driving for baskets and Sharpe was strong inside with putbacks. Mitchell’s drive gave Brunswick its only lead, 22-21, just before halftime.

“We weren’t talking (on defense) in the first half,” Hester said. “We had a lot more rim protection in the second half.”

Halligan wasn’t worried about the defense – “our bread and butter all year” – but wanted to see better effort with the ball. The Yachtsmen got the message.

“In the second quarter we weren’t running our offenses through,” said Simonds. “In the second half we started looking, driving and kicking it to the bigs.”

Falmouth opened the second half with several passes before finding Hester for an easy layup.

“Instead of one or two passes, eight, nine, 10 passes, and we find the open man,” Halligan said.

Falmouth never lost the lead.

Falmouth led 34-26 after three quarters and in the fourth, stretched the lead to 39-29 with 3:09 remaining and began to stall.

“When we look back I think we’ll be really proud of the way we finished the season,” Hanson said. “We lost five senior starters last year. I tip my hat to these kids for fighting through and getting back here, and they put on a pretty good showing.”

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: KevinThomasPPH

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