AUGUSTA — Forest Hills completed one of the greatest championship game comebacks in Western Maine tournament history Saturday, rallying from a 19-point deficit in the third quarter to stun Hyde, 61-60, in the Class D regional final.
Junior center Evan Worster scored 14 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter, including eight free throws to help complete the rally for the Tigers (18-3).
Worster gave the Tigers the lead for the last time on a layup with 32 seconds remaining. He added two from the line to put it out of reach before Hyde’s Tyquan Ekejiuba hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
The late free throws allowed Worster to tie the Western D tournament record with 106 points, tying Tyler Smith of North Yarmouth Academy.
Smith needed four games to set the record. Worster required only three, jumpstarted by a single-game record 51 in the quarterfinals.
Freshman Matt Turner scored 10 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter for Forest Hills, which will make its first-ever appearance in the state final Saturday, March 3 here against Jonesport-Beals.
Forest Hills trailed 43-24 with 2:28 remaining in the third quarter before the improbable comeback, one that was fueled by Hyde foul trouble and turnovers.
Ekejiuba led Hyde (17-2) with 15 points. Jonah Alexander added 12 points and Evander Lenardson 10 for the Phoenix.
The Tigers pulled within nine points at 45-36 at the end of third quarter.
Brandon Ouellette hit a key 3-pointer and assisted the winning basket for Forest Hills. Ouellette, Turner and Ryan Petrin are freshman starters for the Tigers, who have eight players and no seniors on their team.
Forest Hills, a school of 54 serving the Canadian border communities of Jackman and Moose River, is the smallest school to win the title since Glen Cove Christian in 1977.
Hall-Dale 43, Waynflete 36
AUGUSTA — Hall-Dale repeated as Western C girls’ champions with a 43-36 win over Waynflete at the Augusta Civic Center Saturday.
The defending Class C state champs rallied from an early deficit to take the lead by halftime. The Bulldogs opened a lead in the third only to watch the Flyers pull within one in the fourth. Hall-Dale held off the Flyers and opened the lead in the final minutes.
Hall-Dale (18-3) will play Central for the Class C state championship next Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center.
Carylanne Wolfington provided 16 points and a superb defensive effort on Waynflete sharpshooter Martha Veroneau, who finished with 16. Veroneau was named the Western C’s most outstanding player. She was the first player from a non-championship-winning team to win the award since Sara Beane won for Carrabec in 1997. The Cobras lost to Dirigo that year.
“I was ready when Coach (Brandon Terrill) told me I had to guard her,” said Wolfington, a senior guard. “I was a little nervous but you have to do what you have to do.”
The Bulldogs also got 11 points from sophomore forward Allison Crockett.
Waynflete got nine each from Leigh Fernandez and Helen Gray-Bauer.
“It was an outstanding defensive effort by Wolfington but it was really the whole team,” said Terrill. “You can’t do it by yourself. We only had one day to put the game plan in. They came out and executed as well as you could have expected.”
Seventh-ranked Waynflete (14-8) opened up a nine-point lead in the first quarter, but the top-seeded Bulldogs rallied to cut the deficit to 15-10 after one. Hall-Dale took the lead in the second, holding the Flyers to just three points.
Hall-Dale was up 32-27 after three quarters. A Crockett basket in the post put the Bulldogs up 37-33 with 4:04 left, but the Flyers cut the lead to 37-36 with a Veroneau 3 with 3:47 left.
Waynflete had four separate possessions with a chance to take the lead but couldn’t score. Wolfington made it 39-36 with 40 seconds left when she grabbed the rebound of a Kristina Buck free throw and put it back in.
The Flyers missed a couple bids for a 3. Then Wolfington sank two free throws with 16 seconds left to make it 41-36. Crockett added a basket on a rebound in the closing seconds.