AUGUSTA — In a game that it never quite turned into a full-blown rout, the Carrabec boys basketball team was often in need of scores to stay in front.

Luke Carey delivered those shots for the Cobras — and with it, he delivered his team to a place it’s never gone before.

Carey scored 33 points Monday as Carrabec defeated Richmond 55-42 in the Class C South quarterfinals at the Augusta Civic Center. The result marked the first-ever tournament victory on the Civic Center floor for the Cobras, who will face either Monmouth Academy or Traip Academy in the semifinals Thursday (weather-pending).

“My teammates set me up with some great spacing and some great screens, and I just had to do my job and make shots,” Carey said. “There’s been a big culture change in this program, for sure. We were bad for a lot of years, and now we’re here winning games, and it feels great.”

Led by Carey and Bobby Lindblom, sixth-ranked Carrabec (13-7) got off to a monster start. With Carey hitting three early baskets, Lindblom hitting two 3-pointers and Richmond starting out cold from the field, the Cobras found themselves up 14-0 with just under three minutes left in the first quarter.

“You always want to create space for yourself to give an opportunity to shoot the ball, and that’s what we were doing,” Lindblom said of his team’s hot start. “We really set some good screens; at one point, Joel Gehrke had a really good pin on a kid so I could get wide open.”


No. 3 Richmond, though, would soon find a rhythm through Hunter Mason, who scored six points late in the opening period as Carrabec took an 18-8 lead after one. He added seven points in the second quarter for the Bobcats (15-3), who pulled within five at 24-19 before a Carey layup in the half’s dying seconds put the Cobras up seven.

On three occasions in the third quarter, Carey hit buckets that turned single-digit leads for Carrabec into double-digit advantages. He then made two shots to turn seven-point leads into nine-point ones in the fourth before going 7 of 8 from the free-throw line down the stretch to help the Cobras pull away.

“He just got that big basket for us whenever we needed it,” said Carrabec head coach Erik Carey. “Whenever they made their runs to cut it to seven, he hit one to bring it back to nine, and then he had those big free throws for us. It wasn’t just the points; it was him getting them at key moments.”

In addition to the 33 points, Carey also added six rebounds and four assists for Carrabec in the win. The Cobras also got nine points and three rebounds from Lindblom and eight points and three boards from Gehrke. Richmond got 16 points and six rebounds from Mason and 12 points and 10 rebounds from Connor Vashon.

Before the game, Erik Carey said, a feeling set in that whichever team got off to the better start would be the one to pull out the victory. With the hot shooting and a frantic defensive pace that forced Richmond into seven turnovers during the opening 14-0 run, Carrabec was the team to do that.

“We knew we had to get out there and run,” said Luke Carey, Erik’s son. “It’s a tough atmosphere if you get down early, so we knew that was the key to a good start. … We had some foul trouble, and they made some plays to get back in it, but I’m glad we were able to close it out down the stretch.”


Although the Cobras defended well as a team throughout, the performance of one player in particular stood out to their head coach: Kolby Carpenter. Carpenter limited Richmond standout Cassidy scored just three points for the Bobcats, who had few offensive answers with his limited production and Mason facing foul trouble in the second half.

“Whenever you have a kid who can play defense like that in your pocket, you’re going to feel about your chances in a lot of games,” Erik Carey said. “That’s their leading scorer, and we held him to three points, and you can thank that guy for that. He did an amazing job for us.”

Going into last year, Carrabec hadn’t even played a tournament game on the Civic Center floor since 1998. The Cobras underwent major struggles in the 20-plus years that followed, never winning more than six games in a single season.

They’ll get a chance for a second tournament win in Augusta later this week, whether that be Thursday as scheduled or Friday if inclement weather forces a postponement. After 50 years, it might take all the way until then — perhaps even longer — for this one to feel real.

“It will set in eventually, but right now, it just feels good that we get to keep playing,” Erik Carey said. “No other team we’ve ever had has ever made it past this round, so these kids are playing with house money. They have a lot to be proud of.”

Related Headlines

Comments are no longer available on this story