PORTLAND – Cape Elizabeth coach Jim Ray’s voice could be heard throughout the four corners of the Cumberland County Civic Center as he delivered a late wake-up call to his team.

“These guys are not going to go away,” Ray bellowed from the middle of the Capers’ huddle during a fourth-quarter time out.

Second-seeded Cape heeded the coach’s warning just in time to hold off a determined 10th seed in Poland with a 57-51 win in the Saturday’s Western Class B quarterfinal. The Capers (17-2) will meet No. 3 Falmouth in the semifinals Wednesday. The Knights finished the season 10-10.

“Poland’s trying to make their mark and we knew they wouldn’t go away,” Ray said. “The kids didn’t take them lightly at all. They just kept playing tough.”

Forward Liam O’Shea proved to be too tough for the Knights. The senior made them pay for doubling down on center Joe Geoghegan with five 3-pointers en route to a game-high 22 points.

“Austin (Brown) was doing a good of penetrating and kicking it out,” O’Shea said. “We ran some of my entries early and they were setting good screens to give me some open looks. They were concentrating a lot on Joe early and that opened up the outside for us.”

O’Shea drained the last of his treys to put the Capers up 50-44 with 1:46 left. Brown (11 points, five assists) made a pair of free throws to extend the lead to eight, but the Knights, who split two regular season games with Cape, weren’t conquered yet. Keegan Fennessy hit a jumper and Joe Douglass (11 points) drove to the basket and completed a three-point play to pull back within three with 50 seconds left.

“I’m very proud of the guys,” Poland coach Chris Willer said. “For a first-year coach I don’t know that I could have asked for much more, especially from the seniors. They definitely earned a spot here and they proved that they belonged here.”

Shaine Burks’ lay-up with 45 seconds to go put Cape back up by five. Douglass responded with a jumper 20 seconds later to move Poland back within three, but those were the last points the Knights would get.

Chad Westleigh led the Knights with 15 points, while Fennessy and Jon Lecznar (13 rebounds) added seven points apiece.

The Knights trailed the whole way, and early on it looked like they would never be in the game. O’Shea came out red hot, sinking his first three 3-pointers to give Cape a quick 9-0 lead.

“You have to take your hat off to O’Shea. He played a heck of a game,” Willer said. “At times I thought he was getting a little tired and he just hung in there and kept hitting that shot. I thought Tyler (Merchant) did a pretty good job of denying him the ball and he’d catch it and let it go and it was going in.”

All of the Capers’ field goals in the first quarter were 3-pointers and that may have actually been to Poland’s benefit because it forced the Knights to get aggressive early on the offensive end. The result was 6-of-9 shooting from the floor in the first period. Westleigh got the Knights back in the game with seven points and Cape led by just three after one.

Both teams cooled off in the second quarter, but Cape ended up taking more than twice as many shots and widened the lead to 11 by halftime. They kept the lead at or close to double digits until Douglass got Westleigh and Lecznar a couple of easy hoops off penetration to lift the Knights within three midway through the fourth quarter.


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