AUGUSTA — Though it’s often broken down into matchups, offensive sets, defensive philosophies, frontcourts and backcourts, basketball always boils down to one essential factor. Baskets.

And the Forest Hills boys make a lot of them.

The undefeated Tigers claimed their fourth regional championship in eight years on Saturday afternoon, pulling away behind the outside touch of sophomore guard Parker Desjardins for a 69-47 win over No. 2 Temple Academy in the Class D South title game at the Augusta Civic Center. Tournament MVP Brandon Gilboe led the way with 26 points for Forest Hills.

The top-seeded Tigers (21-0) will face Schenck for the Class D state championship next Saturday at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. With the win, Forest Hills advanced beyond the regional quarterfinals for the first time since 2015.

“It’s done,” Gilboe said. “I feel like I finally finished what my brothers started, but there’s one more thing that I want that they don’t have, and that’s the Gold Ball.”

Desjardins, who estimates he takes 500 practice shots a day, scored 17 of his 20 points in the second half as top-seeded Forest Hills pulled away from a Bereans squad which matched the Tigers’ pace and intensity for most of the afternoon.

“In crunch time, when the time gets low, you’ve got to make those baskets,” Desjardins said. “If you’re not making them, they’re going to, you know?”

Temple (15-6) got as close as 10 midway through the third quarter, when an Oscar Camarena 3-pointer cut the Forest Hills lead to 44-34. Desjardins, though, answered with three of his four treys as part of an 11-0 Tiger run over a span of 3:35 overlapping the third and fourth quarters.

That made it a 55-34 game and was of particular satisfaction to Desjardins, who missed the entire second half of his freshman season after breaking his foot.

“This means a lot. You can’t take anything for granted,” Desjardins said. “In the first half they guarded me a little tighter and I missed a couple of 3-pointers, so they got off me a little bit. In the second half, I got open and I connected on them.”

As a team, Forest Hills shot an even 51 percent from the field for the game (26 of 51) to provide a key difference between the two squads.

Forest Hills coach Anthony Amero talks to the Tigers in a time out during the Class D South championship against Temple on Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center. (Staff photo by Joe Phelan/Staff Photographer) Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan

“Credit to our kids. I take no credit for it, we have no magical practice plan,” Forest Hills coach Anthony Amero said. “It’s just the old adage that players are made in the summertime. They get after it.

“Our kids just take a lot of shots. There’s not a lot to do in Jackman in the wintertime, unless you like to snowmobile. The kids just find time to shoot and shoot and shoot, year-round. They just love basketball. They’ll play outside a lot in the offseason in the town park. … I tell them to go outside and shoot as much as you can out in the outdoors in the big open space. They’ve got beautiful Big Wood Lake behind it, so it’s a great scenic place to shoot, and they do. They go down and shoot a lot of shots.”

Temple, by contrast, only connected successfully 25.8 percent of the time on Saturday. During the key second-half run highlighted by Desjardins, the Bereans combined to go 0 for 11 during the same spell — including coming up empty on back-to-back possessions which produced three shots and four shots, respectively.

It wasn’t the only time Temple failed to cash in on its size advantage in the post.

Despite being generously listed at 5-11, Gilboe was a force inside, particularly in the first half. He scored 19 of his 26 in the first 16 minutes and finished with four rebounds.

“He’s amazing,” Desjardins said of Gilboe. “He just works. He works so hard.”

“They’re a very good team,” Gilboe said of Temple. “They’re a lot taller than us. We were just at a disadvantage of height and strength. … I play a lot of summer ball, and when you play a lot of summer ball, you’re facing a lot of 6-6 (guys) and above. So today, 6-2, 6-3 (for Temple), I want it. I want that challenge.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC


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