AUGUSTA — Tim Farrar was too busy coaching to look at the scoreboard Monday afternoon at Augusta Civic Center. Without any official numbers to guide him, the Lewiston boys’ basketball coach thought things were going reasonably well for his Blue Devils.
Then the halftime horn sounded, and Farrar allowed himself another peek toward the rafters. Down by a dozen.
“I felt like it should have been six,” Farrar said.
Such is life against defending Class A champion and overwhelming Eastern favorite Hampden, which spent the second half spinning the digits in a direction they found more fitting. The No. 1 Broncos belted the No. 8 Blue Devils, 85-47, in a regional quarterfinal.
It’s the third time in four years Hampden (19-0) has eliminated Lewiston (9-11) from the playoffs. Last winter’s loss by the Devils — one that unraveled in the third quarter in similar fashion — came in the semifinals.
Zach Gilpin led four Broncos in double figures with 19 points. Younger brother Nick Gilpin put together 13 points, six assists and six steals.
This year’s addition from Class C champion Penquis Valley, Isaiah Bess, added 15 points. Sophomore Brendan McIntyre supplied 15 more, all but two in the second half.
“They’re good. You and I can come up with the greatest strategy in the world, and they’re just really good,” Farrar said. “You tell me a 30-second sequence when they made mistakes. My kids played hard. I’m real proud of the effort we gave.”
Carlos Gonzalez led Lewiston with 11 points but was one of three Devils to foul out.
Isaiah Harris and Ryan Bell later joined him. Quintarian Brown also was mired in foul trouble most of the day.
And slowing Hampden is an almost impossible task even at full strength.
The Broncos left the door slightly ajar with a 6-for-17 showing from the field in the first quarter. Lewiston hurt its chances to take advantage with nine turnovers, and Nick Gilpin’s drive to the basket beat the buzzer to give Hampden a 14-6 edge.
Lewiston’s 2-3 zone, which anchored its four-game winning streak to the program’s fourth straight appearance in Augusta, had plenty to do with Hampden’s early misfires.
“The first half we really struggled to find points against the zone. We prepared for that but we didn’t move the ball side-to-side well at all, and we needed to. We settled for shots,” Hampden coach Russ Bartlett said. “I thought our shot selection was fine, but I think we could have gotten better shots if we’d been more patient.”
Bess and Zach Gilpin punctuated the Hampden first-half offense with thunderous dunks. Bess notched his after a steal at halfcourt. Gilpin threw down a lob pass from his brother.
Nick Gilpin and McIntyre were a combined 6-for-6 from the free-throw line in the second quarter, staking Hampden to a 29-17 lead.
It was 35-21 after a turnaround bank shot by Gonzalez with 5:57 to go in the third, but Matt Martin and the Gilpins combined for 11 unanswered points to put it away.
“You’ve got to keep them off the glass, and you’ve got to get back on defense,” Bartlett said of Lewiston. “Those were the two things we wanted to work on. They had hardly any transition baskets at all today. They had second-chance opportunities right at the end.”
Gonzalez and Mohamed Mohamud are Lewiston’s only departing seniors.
“Every year they’ve been in high school, we’ve been to the tournament. I think any program in the state would be proud of that,” Farrar said. “We were 5-10 at one point. They could have packed it in and they didn’t. I think if the younger guys follow their lead, we’ve got a chance to be right back here next year.”
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