The Maranacook bench cheers in the first half as the Black Bears take a lead over Lake Region in a Class B South semifinal game Tuesday in Portland Portland Press Herald photo by Derek Davis Buy this Photo

READFIELD — It’s been a wild tournament already for the Maranacook boys basketball team. And it’s not over yet.

The Black Bears, the top seed in the Class B South bracket, will be tipping off in their championship game this afternoon, looking for their first trip to a Class B title game since 2008. They’ll be facing No. 6 Wells, a regional final regular that will be making its fourth straight appearance in the game.

The Warriors have the experience. The Black Bears haven’t been in a South final since being moved back to Class B in 2015-16. Maranacook coach Travis Magnusson, however, doesn’t see his team lacking in poise once the game gets under way.

“The thing I like about these guys is they are extremely clutch,” he said. “When it’s been our biggest games, you know we’re ready to play. There’s no nervousness at all tomorrow that we’re not going to play a good game. We’re going to play as well as we can play, we’re sure of it.”

Maranacook certainly looked ready for Wells and all other comers Tuesday night, rolling to a 64-40 victory over Lake Region, one of the two teams to beat the Black Bears this season.

The Warriors, however, will be a tough out. Don’t be fooled by their 10-10 record or sixth seeding; this is a team, Magnusson said, that knows how to play at this time of year.

“They’re really big, they have a couple of 6-5 guys, they like to pound it inside, they’re really good defensively,” he said. “They’re good, we know them well, we’ve seen them a lot over the years. … Over the last five to eight years, they’ve probably been the most consistent B South team. They’re going to be ready for the moment.”

Magnusson has respect for Wells, but he also feels good about his team.

“We’re still playing our best basketball right now, for sure,” Magnusson said. “We’ve been playing this way for six weeks.”

That statement might seem odd considering the tournament opener, which saw No. 8 Freeport give the top seeds all they could handle. The Falcons held a double-digit lead before Maranacook rallied and came away with a 59-57 victory.

Magnusson knew, however, that the Black Bears hadn’t gotten the usual cushy No. 1 vs. No. 8 matchup a top seed can expect.

“The seeds were all messed up. We had Freeport as possibly a top-three team in Class B,” he said. “We knew right when we got Freeport that that was going to be one of the toughest games that we’d have.”

“We came in knowing it wasn’t going to be a cakewalk,” senior forward and co-captain Skyler Boucher said. “But I think, more importantly, it showed our toughness more than anything. We were down by 10 at one point, we came back, we were down by one. And we never lost composure, we kept our poise.”

The win over Lake Region, however, was Maranacook looking like Maranacook. Tim Worster scored 20 points. Cash McClure, with gauze stuffed in his bloody nose after taking a charge, scored 19. Boucher added 10. Casey Cormier had big baskets. Jumpers and 3-pointers came from everywhere on the roster.

“With this team, it’s kind of like you know we’re going to come out feeling good,” senior forward and co-captain Isac Philbrook said, “just because of how we’ve played over the last couple of months.”

Worster’s hand has remained hot after a strong regular season, and has been one of the storylines of the team’s run.

“Tim’s been absolutely leading us on offense, without a question,” Philbrook said. “He’s knocking down big shots, almost putting us in a backpack, if you want to say it. He put up 20-plus points in the last two playoff games, for someone who last year wasn’t playing much in the playoffs.”

It’s all added up to Maranacook having another game to play. It’s new ground for the Black Bears, but that doesn’t mean they’re afraid of it.

“The whole tournament, each game has been more of a confidence-booster,” Boucher said. “People like to think that the southern teams (are) always going to win everything and they’re dominant. And they are very good teams. But it’s nice to also show us more northern teams can show it too.”

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