POLAND — Their records indicate they are headed in opposite directions, but York and Poland aren’t as far apart as the first two weeks of the season have hinted.

York played shutdown defense late and dominated the boards throughout to pull away from Poland in the final five minutes of a 64-53 victory Saturday.

The Wildcats (4-0) out-rebounded the Knights, 35-17, including 13-4 on the offensive glass. York also held the Poland (0-4) to one field goal in the final 5:35, and that came with three seconds left and the game well in hand.

Aaron Todd was the most lethal Wildcat in the paint and on the boards, tallying game highs with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Liam Langaas killed the Knights just about everywhere else with 14 points, eight rebounds, four assists, four steals and two blocked shots.

Michael King pitched in with 12 points and six rebounds, but his most important contribution came on the defensive end, where he was charged with sticking to Poland senior marksman Jonah Farrington. King held him to eight points, all in the second half.

“We challenged Michael and he did a phenomenal job,” York coach Randy Small said. “We wanted him to stay with him the whole game and have some help side on the other kids and it worked out tonight. We could play tomorrow and get beat by 50. Who knows?”

“I just didn’t want to give him any easy shots. He’s a good  shooter,” King said. “I stuck with him and shut him down, pretty much.”

Jacob Littlefield led the Knights with 16 points, five rebounds and three blocks, while Logan Nichols added 11 points.

York led by as much as 12 in the third quarter before Farrington briefly got going with a steal and layup and a 3-pointer that pulled the Knights to within three. Chase drilled a 3 to tie the game at 42-42 with 2:32 remaining, but a putback by Todd, one of his seven offensive rebounds, put the Wildcats back in front with 1:17 left in the third quarter.

“We tell them in high school basketball, even pro basketball, what’s the percentage on your first shot? Not very good. It’s always your second and third,” Small said.

“We were boxing out and going after it,” King said. “We wanted it more than Poland, so we just went out there and got it.”

Nichols’ second 3-pointer of the fourth quarter tied the game at 48 with 5:35 remaining, but that would be the Knights’ last field goal until the game was decided. York went on a 12-0 run, sparked by a nice backdoor feed from Langaas to Zachary Leal (10 points, seven rebounds, four assists) and two putbacks by Todd.

“We’re young and we just made too many mistakes,” first-year Poland coach Tyler Tracey said. “We fought hard. I’m so proud of them. We came back and got ourselves back in the game, then we had four or five possessions in a row where we took bad shots.”

“We had no pride on the offensive boards. They did,” Tracey said. “That was the difference. We didn’t give ourselves any second opportunities.”

York shot 7-for-10 in the fourth quarter and 50 percent for the game. Poland was 9-for-23 from 3-point land, including a halfcourt buzzer-beater by Littlefield to end the first quarter, but struggled inside the arc and shot 34 percent overall.

“Collectively, defensively I was very happy, because we’re so young” Small said. “Mentally, we buckled down when things got tight.”

Both teams are among the youngest in the Western Maine Conference. The Knights have two seniors, Farrington and Chase, and five juniors. The Wildcats have one senior, reserve forward Drew Sheehan, and start three juniors and two sophomores.

York’s first four games were against teams whose collective record was 1-11 going into Saturday. Poland’s first four opponents — Yarmouth, Cape Elizabeth, Greely and York —  went into the weekend with a combined 11-1 mark.

“We are right there. If we can just get a few more things, a few more bounces or be a little bit smarter with the ball, we’re going to be dangerous,” said Tracey, whose team faces Class C Old Orchard Beach next Tuesday.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: