PORTLAND – All they needed was a second chance.

Mountain Valley played stifling defense and cashed in on its second chances at the offensive end to pull away from Camden Hills in the fourth quarter and take home the Class B state championship with a 48-38 victory Saturday at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

One year after losing to Maranacook in the state final, the Falcons took home the third Gold Ball in the school’s history, the first since 1994, when they knocked off what was then known as Camden-Rockport. Mountain Valley is also became the first school to win football and basketball titles in the same school year since Dexter won the Class D football championship in 1985 and the Class B basketball crown in 1986.

“It’s amazing, first of all to win a state championship in football, and then basketball in the same season, is just an incredible feeling,” said junior forward Owen Jones, one of a dozen Falcons on the roster who won the football championship at Fitzpatrick Stadium last November.

“There’s really no words for it,” senior guard D.J. Gerrish said as he held the latest addition to the school’s trophy case. “I’m really kind of surprised that I’m holding this thing right now. I’ve been waiting for this for four years. It’s indescribable. It’s awesome.”

Andy Shorey scored a game-high 16 points and 11 rebounds, with many of those points and boards (seven) coming off the offensive glass. The Maine Mr. Basketball finalist helped the Falcons (19-3) enjoy a 20-9 advantage in that department, which made up for their off-target shooting (29 percent).

“I didn’t have a very good game shooting at all. I guess I was playing too quick for myself, but getting those easy ones got me in a groove,” Shorey said.

“They got a lot of second shots. We didn’t get any. That pretty much sums it up,” said Camden coach Jeff Hart. “There was good defense on both ends. We certainly didn’t have a very good night offensively. They’re really physical, but we’ve played against physical teams before, and we can adjust to that.”

Paul Campbell led Camden Hills with 13 points and seven rebounds. Justin Staires added 12 points for Mountain Valley and D.J. Gerrish eight. Owen Jones finished with six points, but his most important contributions came on the boards (nine rebounds, five offensive) and at the defensive end where, aided by some second-half foul trouble, he limited sophomore forward Gordon Fischer, the Windjammers’ leading scorer, to just two shots and zero points.

The Falcons also held Camden’s second-leading scorer, sixth man Paul Draper, to only three points. And the big front line of Fischer (6-foot-5), Nick Wootton (6-4) and Jared Mitchell (6-2) managed just eight points and six rebounds altogether.

“We knew Wootton could rebound well, and we wanted to keep Andy on him and keep him off the glass,” coach Dave Gerrish said. “The Fischer kid was tall and lanky, but we knew Owen’s tall and athletic, and we knew he could stay in front of him and keep him from going to the basket.”

With their inside players bottled up and the Falcons successfully defending the back-screens that are a staple of their offense, the Windjammers (17-5) had to settle for what they could get from the perimeter. They had some success in the first half (3-for-9 shooting 3-pointers), and trailed by just one at the half despite turning the ball over 19 times in the first 16 minutes. Mountain Valley, meanwhile, was searching for an offensive rhythm after shooting an anemic 21 percent.

“I knew if we kept playing defense and did the right things, we’d have a chance to win,” Dave Gerrish said. “I told the kids at halftime when I walked in, ‘Hey, we’re up by one, and that wasn’t a great half, so let’s see what we can do in the second half.'”

What they did was storm out of the locker room with a 10-2 run, sparked by Staires, who scored eight points in the third quarter as the Falcons started to get easy hoops off the fast break and by exploiting Camden’s press. The sophomore guard took a feed from Bryan Canwell in for a reverse layup, then converted a long, press-breaking pass from Shorey for another uncontested hoop that made it 32-23 with 3:27 to go in the third.

Camden Hills chipped away at the lead over the next five minutes, pulling within two on a 3-pointer by Campbell with 6:52 left. That was the only trey the Windjammers made in nine second-half attempts, though.

The Falcons, meanwhile, handled Camden’s trap with aplomb and went on a 9-0 run to pull away. Gerrish started the run by finding Shorey cutting to the hoop for two and a foul. Shorey followed that with back-to-back putbacks, and Jones added a layup off a feed from Canwell to get the lead into double digits. Camden, which shot 28 percent for the game, managed only one field goal in the final six minutes.

“You get in a game like this and you’re going to miss some shots. We just played great defense. Every time down, the kids knew it was important to make plays and stop penetration,” Dave Gerrish said.

“They’re strong-willed kids,” he added. “This was a game they wanted to win.”


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