AUBURN — When you say “Final Four,” at least in Madison for the next month or so, you won’t be talking about the NCAA basketball tournament. You’ll be talking about Bulldog junior Scott Sawtelle.

Sawtelle scored the final four points of the night Tuesday, helping Madison Area Memorial High School pull away in the final minute to cap an undefeated season with a 58-54 win over Westbrook in the Unified basketball state championship game at Edward Little High School. Sawtelle finished with a game-high 40 points in a performance the nearly 500 people in attendance were still buzzing about long after the Bulldogs (10-0) raised the Gold Ball.

“I just wanted to help my teammates out,” Sawtelle said. “It felt really good … winning that Golden Ball.”

Madison’s Scott Sawtelle celebrates after the Bulldogs sank Westbrook in the unified championship game Tuesday night at Edward Little High School in Auburn. Morning Sentinel photo by Michael G. Seamans

“Scott is a baller,” said Madison senior Jennifer Dean, one of the Bulldogs’ student partners for the athletes. “When I first started playing with him, I was like ‘Why are you not on the varsity team? You’re so good.’ He has so much energy, and he is relentless. He is just go, go, go. He’s clearly been working at basketball for years, splashing threes left and right like he did.

“He’s carried the team.”

The game was tied at 54-54 with less than 45 seconds remaining when Sawtelle hit a 12-foot jumper to give Madison the lead for good. Fifteen seconds later, he turned a turnover into a fastbreak layup to clinch the victory with 26 ticks left on the clock.

Madison’s state title run came in its first season as a standalone Unified program. Last winter, Madison entered into a co-op with Carrabec for its first foray into the Unified game.

Two seasons later, the Bulldogs are state champions.

“This is what these kids have been talking about for the last year,” Madison coach Josh Bishop said. “I can’t even express how awesome it is that the goals they put forth, they worked hard and they’ve accomplished them. I couldn’t be any prouder of that.”

Sawtelle began the game in the same way he finished it. He scored Madison’s first four points, part of the 19 he scored in the opening 20 minutes as the game was deadlocked 30-30 at halftime.

Westbrook (7-2), the defending state champion, led by as many as seven in the second half. Led by 31 points from junior Matt Ricks, Westbrook took a 47-40 lead with 10 minutes remaining.

But an 18-6 run — in which Sawtelle scored 15 of the points, off turnaround jumpers, dribble-drives and three-pointers — closed out the historic season for Madison.

“After the last three games he’s had, I wouldn’t be surprised if he got recruited for the (varsity) team,” Bishop said. “I hope that he does. He’s an outstanding player. He puts in a lot of time and effort — he’s in the gym, even when he’s probably not supposed to be — and I think that’s what separates him.

“I don’t know anybody in our school that puts more time into basketball than he does.”

“It’s my first year playing Unified basketball, and we came this far,” Sawtelle said. “I missed tryouts for the regular school team, and I ended up doing tryouts with Mr. Bishop, and he put me on the team.”

“These last two weeks, these kids have been the kings of the school,” Bishop said. “That’s what’s the most important thing, that they’re getting the recognition they rightly deserve.”

Madison fans storm the court after the Bulldogs defeated Westbrook in the unified state championship game Tuesday night at Edward Little High School in Auburn. Morning Michael G. Seamans

Dean, who played on Madison’s state championship softball team last spring, was at a loss for words following the Unified title — which came following a chartered bus ride for the team to Edward Little and more than two-thirds of the boisterous crowd in attendance clearly of the pro-Bulldogs variety.

“Softball is different in that it’s more about me. Here, it’s all about the athletes,” said Dean, who volunteered with Carrabec’s team for two years before Madison began its own team. “It’s not about me trying to ball up — it just humbles me to be a part of this team. This makes such a difference in their day, and I’ve made friendships with these other kids that will last for a lifetime.”

“It was a great season. No, it was a perfect season. When you don’t lose any games, I think that’s pretty awesome.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

@TBarrettGWC

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