AUGUSTA — You name it, the Winthrop High School boys basketball team had too much of it for Traip Academy to handle. Too much size. Too much speed.

Too much everything.

The top-seeded Ramblers took control of Thursday night’s Class C South semifinal late in the first quarter, and cruised to a 68-25 win.

No. 1 Winthrop, now 19-1, will face rival No. 3 Hall-Dale in the regional championship game Saturday night at the Augusta Civic Center. No. 5 Traip ends the season at 15-6.

Cam Wood, Winthrop’s 6-foot-8 Mr. Basketball semifinalist, led the Ramblers with 19 points. Jared McLaughlin and Ryan Baird each added 12 points, while Cam Hachey scored 10.

Winthrop coach Todd MacArthur never expected a win to come so easily.

“To be honest with you, I was really scared of that team. Sometimes, when you watch a lot of film, you become infatuated with a team. I watched a lot of film on that team, and these kids did, too,” MacArthur said. “They’re a real dangerous team in terms of their quickness and shooting ability. They didn’t shoot well tonight, but I think our game plan tonight, our size and our length, really flustered them. Sometimes things just all click, and they clicked tonight for us. … I always thought speed kills. We did a nice job handling their pressure.”

In a quarterfinal win over Boothbay, Traip made six 3-pointers. Against the Ramblers Thursday, the Rangers made just two.

“Don’t let them shoot 3-pointers,” Wood said. “We watched them play Boothbay. They shot a lot of 3-pointers. This game, they didn’t take many. They didn’t make many.”

“They’re so long. They take up so much space, they do a great job of slowing down our pace with their made baskets,” Traip coach Ed Szczepanik said. “I knew we were going to have to play a lot of half-court offense, but when you play a team like that, there’s not a lot of space left on the court.”

MacArthur said the defensive effort was among the best he’s seen the Ramblers put forth is his time as coach.

“I just told them I was proud of them,” MacArthur said. “If we’re going to do anything in this tournament, it has to be with our defense.”

Offensively, the Ramblers were able to pound it inside to Wood and Sam Figueroa. When Traip did manage to clog up the paint defensively, the Ramblers’ outside touch was there in the form of seven 3-pointers.

“It wasn’t just their starters. Guys came off the bench and hit shots,” Szczepanik said.

Winthrop began to pull away late in the first quarter. An 8-0 run brought the Ramblers from down 7-4 to ahead 12-7. Ahead 17-8 after one, Winthrop went on an 11-2 run to push the lead to 28-10.

McLaughlin’s 3-pointer at the buzzer, his third of the first half, gave Winthrop a 37-16 lead at the break.

Will Stuart led Traip with 16 points.

 

 


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