Bangor survived a furious fourth-quarter rally by Bonny Eagle to win the Class AA boys’ basketball state championship Saturday night with a 58-48 victory at Cross Insurance Arena.

Bangor (20-2) was led by seniors Matt Fleming, a 6-6 forward who has signed to play at Army, and point guard Damian Vance. Vance finished with 20 points and Fleming scored 19.

Both had critical baskets after Bonny Eagle (18-4) cut a 14-point lead to three with less two minutes to play.

“A turnaround floater from behind the backboard,” Fleming said. “I definitely didn’t realize I was behind the backboard, but I had time enough to adjust and go with my right hand outside of my body.”

Vance followed with a three-point play on a tough drive into the paint.

“Big shots. That’s what we live for,” Vance said. “This was probably my best game that I’ve ever played in my high school career, and I love it.”

A Zach Maturo 3-pointer with 1:06 to play gave Bonny Eagle a final gasp, but Bangor closed it out with six straight free throws.

Bonny Eagle was making just its second state final appearance in the largest-school division, having lost in 1995 to Bangor in Class A. Maturo led the Scots with 19 points and helped set the comeback in motion with a steal and layup early in the fourth quarter. Jacob Humphrey added 11 points.

Bangor won its 13th state title and its first since 2011 in Class A.

Early in the second quarter, Bangor looked ready to pull away. The Rams were ahead 21-9, and Bonny Eagle had made just three of its first 20 shots.

But with Fleming on the bench for the final five minutes of the half after picking up two fouls, the middle was opened for Maturo, a junior guard and the Scots’ leading scorer, to drive into the lane. He scored six points, including a floater that swished through at the buzzer in a half-ending 8-2 run for the Scots.

Humphrey, a sophomore guard, scored the Scots’ other basket with his own drive, hanging in the air to get the ball over an attempted shot block.

Bangor led 23-17 at the break, with Vance scoring eight of his 10 points in the second quarter. Fleming had seven before he sat.

In the third quarter, Fleming picked up his third foul early but stayed on the court. He quickly went to the basket in transition, then hit a 3-pointer. Humphrey was called for a box-out foul during Fleming’s 3-pointer, and Bangor turned it into a six-point trip when Fleming kicked out a pass to Noah Missbrenner, who calmly made a 3-pointer. Missbrenner, who averages less than four points per game, added four more before the quarter ended.

Cam Gardner answered for Bonny Eagle with two 3-pointers. Bangor led 41-28 after three quarters.

Bonny Eagle went on a 9-1 surge to start the fourth, cutting the lead to 42-37 and forcing a Bangor timeout. The run included a Jackson Bean 3-pointer, a steal and breakaway layup by Maturo, an inside hoop from Will Hendrix and a transition layup from Humphrey.

“These guys don’t quit, no matter what, it doesn’t matter who we play, when we play, they don’t quit,” said Bonny Eagle Coach John Trull. “I wouldn’t trade these guys for anyone. “I’d rather lose with these guys than win with those guys.”

Vance responded with two tough hoops – an offensive rebound and a midrange pull-up.

Bonny Eagle came right back with six straight points, capped by a 3-pointer by Humphrey that cut the lead to 46-43. Bonny Eagle had one chance to get closer when Maturo made a steal, but he missed the ensuing shot.

Fleming then made his behind-the-backboard shot and Vance converted a three-point play to push the lead back to eight.

“I was hoping we could knock them out a couple times, but they’re a great opponent and they’re going to fight, and they showed some really good character,” Fleming said. “They definitely had some momentum, and it shows how tough we are, and how resilient we are, to come back and fight for this win.”

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: SteveCCraig

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