Boys’ Basketball: Saints fall short

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AUBURN — It wasn’t the fantastic finish St. Dom’s was hoping for.

After getting a Joe Bryant 3-pointer to tie the game with eight seconds left in regulation, the Saints were looking for a similar swish in the final ticks of overtime.

Bryant got the look and the shot off, but his bid to lift St. Dom’s to a last-second victory fell short. The shot hit the front of the rim, and Wiscasset escaped with a 58-56 overtime victory.

The Saints battled back from as many as six in overtime. Wiscasset missed a few key free throws and an Andrew Gosselin basket closed the gap. When Bryant got the ball in the closing seconds, he fired a shot from the left of the arc that rimmed out at the buzzer.

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“We had great looks all night, especially when we were patient,” said St. Dom’s coach Ryan Deschenes. “Some shooters, their shots weren’t  falling. That happens. We can only worry about what we can control. At times, we could have been more patient and gone inside because Tom (Applegate) had a great game for us, but we had great looks all night and some went in and some didn’t.”

Bryant finished with a game-high 20 for the Saints (7-10) while Applegate had 18. Gosselin chipped in eight. Wiscasset (10-7) got 17 from Jordan Jones while Travis Padilla and Austin Haskell added 15 and 10 points respectively.

Wiscasset just beat St. Dom’s last week, 42-38. A win Monday would have boosted the Saints in the Western C standings. Wiscasset is ranked seventh while St. Dom’s have the last spot in 11th.

“If we won tonight, we thought we might see them in a prelim,” said Deschenes, whose team finishes the season with Mt. Abram. “Now we won’t. I think we’ll end up 11th. We’ll be in and we’ll go on the road. If we keep playing like we’re playing, we’ll have a good shot of getting to Augusta.”

The largest lead in the first half was five points. St. Dom’s changed that in the third with 10 consecutive points. Bryant and Ian McCracken each hit 3’s during that run that built a 37-29 lead early in the fourth. Wiscasset answered right back with eight straight of its own. Jones had five points during that run. He finished with 15 in the final quarter and overtime.

“They’ll never quit,” said Wiscasset coach Dana Lawrence. “I’ve been after them about how much we could live a lot easier just by executing. But it happened to us all year long. We’ve been down 24 late in the third and came back and made it a five-point game.”

Wiscasset used its press to create havoc for the Saints. St. Dom’s turned the ball over six times in the fourth quarter and were scrambling to set something up offensively.

“We struggled early (against the press),” said Deschenes. “It took some time to adjust. We adjusted later, and we got a few looks. It definitely threw us off.”

The Wolverines even opened a five-point advantage late in the fourth against the Saints. After Gosselin tied the game with a jumper with 3:00 left. Caleb Bryant hit a jumper and Padilla sank a pair of free throws with 1:43 remaining. After Zak Johnson cut the lead to two on a steal, Wiscasset caught St. Dom’s up court and cashed in with an easy basket by Bryant to make it 47-43 with 1:03 left. A free throw by Haskell upped that to 48-43 with 47 seconds remaining.

Applegate put in a rebound with 24 seconds left.  Then the Saints got the ball back off a turnover. That set up Bryant from the top of the key for the tying basket with eight seconds left.

Wiscasset had a chance for the game-winner but a block by Applegate forced overtime.

“It was tough at first,” said Jones about going to overtime. “Once we scored, I thought everybody was back into it.”

Jones  sank a pair of free throws to open overtime. Then he hit a 3 to put the Wolverines up by five and in control.

“I just kind of stay in the flow of the game and if I’m open, I’ll take the shot,” said Jones.

A free throw by Padilla made it 54-48 with 1:39 left, but the Saints kept rallying. Bryant hit a 3 with 1:13 remaining and added a short jumper off a rebound to keep it at three in the final minute.  Gosselin’s 3 with nine second left made it 57-56. The Saints fouled Haskell, who sank just one free throw. That gave Bryant one more try.

“They made runs and we made runs,” said Deschenes. “They ended up two points ahead.”

kmills@sunjournal.com

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