George Stevens stuns Winthrop on late 3-pointer

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BANGOR, Maine — 03/04/2017 — Winthrop sits defeated after George Stevens Academy beat them during their Class C boys basketball state championship at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor Saturday. Ashley L. Conti | BDN

BANGOR —As talented a shooter as he is, Jarrod Chase admits he is more likely to pass to a teammate than take an open 3-pointer. But with the Class C state title on the line he wasn’t going to let this moment pass, even with two Winthrop defenders in his face.

Chase, a senior forward, stepped back to find the room he needed and made the game-winning 3-pointer with three seconds left as George Stevens Academy stunned Winthrop, 47-44 at Cross Insurance Center Saturday night.

“I have this problem where I don’t go game-speed and I want to get my teammates involved and I over-pass sometimes. But in the state championship, you just can’t afford that,” Chase said.

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Chase finished with 16 points to give GSA its second gold ball in a row. Taylor Schildroth finished with a game-high 23 points for the Tigers (22-0)

“I knew that they thought Taylor Schildroth would take the ball, and so we set it up for Jarrod to set a screen for him and for him to come off and just give it back to Jarrod,” GSA coach Dwayne Carter said. “He had two guys on him. He did a reverse dribble back and he made it. It was unbelievable.”

Winthrop called a time out with 1.2 seconds left to draw up a miracle to tie it going the length of the floor. GSA overplayed the backcourt on the inbounds and the Ramblers could only muster an off-balance three-quarter court heave from Jacob Hickey, which fell well short.

Hickey, who turned his ankle early in the game, finished with 13 points, while Cam Wood and Garret Tsouprake added 11 apiece for the Ramblers (21-1).

“From day one my team has heard me yell about no excuses. That’s not who we are,” Winthrop coach Todd MacArthur said. “We can still play ‘D,’ Our offense lacked tonight, but that’s not what we are. We got beat by a pretty damned good team.”

Winthrop played ‘D’ as well as anyone has on the Eagles all year, limiting a team that had scored 101, 97 and 96 in separate games during the regular season to a dozen less points than its previous low.

“Really what caused it was Winthrop was playing great defense,” Chase said. “They were taking us out of our game. They were forcing us to speed it up. We couldn’t run any plays. They were forcing us to not play our game. We were turning it over (22 for the game). We weren’t getting the shots we wanted.”

“We do what we do.” MacArthur said. “When we came to practice up here, most teams come up here and shoot, shoot, shoot, we came up here and we started doing our 45 minutes of defense, and I’m like, ‘Okay, we do have to shoot a little bit.’ It’s who we are.”

Schildroth, a junior guard who scored 61 points in a game this season, had the game’s first buzzer-beater, a running 3-pointer to give the Eagles a 14-13 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Perhaps more important for the Ramblers, Hickey, a Mr. Basketball semifinalist, turned his ankle after scoring 11 points in the quarter. Clearly hobbled, and subjected to a match-up zone the Eagles switched to for the rest of the game, he added only two free throws in the third quarter.

Trailing 23-21 at halftime and with their top scorer limited, the Ramblers pounded the ball inside to Wood and Tsouprake, who combined to score their final eight points of the third quarter to send them into the fourth clinging to a 31-30 lead.

“We wanted to get the ball more inside. We preached that before the game. We preached that at halftime,” MacArthur said. “We should have done it more.”

Back-to-back 3-pointers by Chase, who had five of them on the night, put the Eagles back in front, 36-34.

Nate Leblanc set up Tsouprake for a layup to tie it, and Bennett Brooks, who had the unenviable task of guarding Schildroth for much of the game, attacked the hoop for back-to-back layups that gave the Ramblers a 42-36 lead with a little over two minutes remaining.

Schildroth quickly tied it with consecutive 3-pointers before Wood scored on a putback to get Winthrop back in front, 44-42, with 1:06 to go.

A persistent Percy Zentz tied it again for GSA with 47.4 seconds left, missing two free throws but chasing down the second miss and putting it in.

Winthrop called a time out with 19.2 seconds left to set up the final shot. Schildroth made a great play while guarding the inbounds pass on the sideline to give the Eagles that option instead, by tipping the pass and deflecting it off of the Winthrop inbounder out of bounds.

After a GSA time out, Schildroth drove into the lane to draw a crowd, then tossed it out to Chase, who took one dribble back and to his left to get the game-winner off over two defenders.

“What (Schildroth) did in the last two minutes of that game, that’s why he’s the type of player that he is. He’s a special player,” MacArthur said. “We knew going into it that they had good players, they had great players and they had special players. He’s a special player.”

“I think everybody in the stadium thought he was taking that (last shot),” he added. “Obviously, any time he penetrates, he’s going to collapse the defense. He made the right play. He kicked out and Chase just buried it. I can’t ask for more out of my kids than that. We contest. We made things difficult. It’s just one of those things. I just told those kids, sometimes life isn’t fair.”

BANGOR, Maine — 03/04/2017 — George Stevens Academy’s Taylor Schildroth (left) flies up for two past Winthrop’s Jared Mclaughlin during their Class C boys basketball state championship at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor Saturday. Ashley L. Conti | BDN

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