No. 8 Wells High continued its improbable playoff run in the Class B South boys’ basketball tournament, knocking off No. 4 Gray-New Gloucester 49-37 in a semifinal Thursday night at the Cross Insurance Arena.

Wells (11-10), the two-time defending regional champ, will face No. 3 Cape Elizabeth in the final at 2:45 p.m. Saturday. Cape Elizabeth (13-7) beat No. 2 Maranacook in a fast-paced thriller 64-61, and also beat Wells in the regular season.

No. 4 Gray-New Gloucester finished 13-7.

Wells, 8-10 in the regular season, beat Lisbon in a preliminary-round game, then beat No. 1 Mountain Valley.

“We know we play a tough schedule and we played (Gray) in the regular season and were up 18 and lost to them. We knew we could beat them,” said Matt Sherburne, who scored a game-high 23 points. “We know we’re good at defense. It’s whether or not our shots are falling.”

Tyler Bridge added 15 points and eight rebounds, and Dylan Whitney was the defensive star, holding Gray’s Mr. Maine Basketball semifinalist, John Martin, to five points.

“The last two games our best asset has been our defense,” said Wells Coach Troy Brown. “We held a very good team to (37) points and a very good player to five points. I can’t say enough about Dylan Whitney right now.”

Gray-New Gloucester is still searching for its first trip to a regional final since winning the Class C state championship in 1975. With Martin struggling, the Patriots shot 5 of 25 in the second half, with Nick Pelletier scoring 10 of their 16 points after halftime.

Martin had taken a hard fall in the Patriots’ quarterfinal win, landing on his tail bone. While he played the entire game, Martin lacked his normal explosiveness and his 3-point shot was off (0 of 8).

“He landed on his tail bone and didn’t practice Monday or Tuesday. Yesterday was his first practice,” said Coach Ryan Deschenes. “He looked good in practice, he said he felt good, but he definitely looked limited tonight. He had some good looks and they (defended) him well.”

Wells’ experience also was a factor. It jumped to a 12-4 lead and was the more aggressive team throughout. Sherburne, now 5-0 at the CIA, scored eight points, and had two steals and an assist in a 10-1 run in the second quarter that opened a 10-point lead that left Gray-New Gloucester fighting back.

Sherburne added six and Bridge scored seven in the third quarter, which ended with Wells ahead, 37-26.

Wells’ 10-of-15 effort at the free throw line in the fourth quarter kept Gray-New Gloucester at bay after back-to-back Pelletier baskets cut the lead to 37-33.

“My concern was (Wells would) show their toughness and championship experience, and they did,” Deschenes said.

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: SteveCCraig

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