AUGUSTA — There was no wild last-minute drama this time. The Monmouth boys basketball team got a lead, and this time, it snuffed its opponent out.

Manny Calder scored 17 points, Hunter Frost added 12 and the fifth-seeded Mustangs defeated No. 8 Waynflete 44-27 in the Class C South semifinals Thursday night.

Monmouth (13-4) will play Dirigo in the final Saturday morning. Waynflete, led by Ed Cox’s 10 points, is done at 10-10.

The Mustangs earned their spot in the semifinal with a nail-biting 50-47 victory over St. Dominic, but advanced by taking the lead early in the second quarter and never letting the Flyers work their way back.

“That’s something that we’ve really had to work on,” Monmouth coach Wade Morrill said. “We’ve traditionally been a ride-the-wave kind of team. When we’re going and firing on all cylinders, we’re going. And then when it’s not going well for us, we tend to plummet a little and let the other team go on big runs. We’ve really worked hard this year on consistency.”

Waynflete seemed to get its opening at the start of the fourth quarter down 27-20 when Henry Hart got a steal and was fouled hard by Hayden Fletcher while going in for the transition basket. The official ruled an intentional foul, and the Flyers were awarded two free throws and possession. Hart made both free throws but Sammy Calder stole the ball on the possession, and Manny Calder was fouled on a 3-point try on the other end of the floor and converted two of the free throws to push the lead back to seven.


Waynflete didn’t get closer than six points the rest of the way. The Flyers missed seven of their first eight attempts from the field in the fourth quarter, and made just three of their first 16 shots of the second half.

“We talked about it before the game, really before we came here, it’s all about the first eight (minutes) and how you come out and establish yourself,” Manny Calder said. “We made it a point to come out, play our best, play our hardest and never give up.”

The Mustangs also came in with a plan formulated after watching Waynflete shut down top-seeded Winthrop 44-26 in the quarterfinals.

Monmouth’s Hayden Fletcher (22) takes the ball to the hoop as Waynflete’s Nico Kirby (2) and Henry Hart (4) defend during a Class C South boys basketball semifinal Thursday at the Augusta Civic Center. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

“We talked about not giving up anything over our heads,” Morrill said. “We really felt in the quarterfinal that Winthrop got beat deep a lot and Waynflete got a lot of easy baskets. I thought if we could negate that and make them have to score with us in front of them, that it might be a little more challenging for them.”

Monmouth also put in the work on the boards. Frost proved to be a difference-maker with 11 rebounds, many of which denied the Flyers valuable second-chance opportunities with the game within reach.

“We just work hard (on) rebounding,” Frost said. “Coach keeps repeating over and over about it, how we have to crash the boards every time.”

“We’re an undersized team, so we kind of stress that quite a bit,” Morrill said. “We’re just an undersized team that has to fight and scrap.”

Sammy Calder added nine points for Monmouth, while Fletcher, the lone senior in the starting lineup, scored six.

“It feels great,” Manny Calder said. “They had a great game against Winthrop, they played tough against us tonight, and we just took it right to them. It was a really satisfying win.”

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