AUGUSTA — It was a play that wasn’t just drawn up in practice. The Forest Hills boys’ basketball team tested it Friday and had success.

“We just did it 24 hours ago in the Jackman gym,” Forest Hills coach Anthony Amero said. “I was on the scout team and (Evan Worster) beat me. I said, ‘I’m an old man. It’s easy to beat me. We’ll see if he can do it tomorrow.’ And he did.”

This time when Worster executed the clutch shot, it was with four seconds left and the game on the line. The sophomore guard’s short jumper put the Tigers ahead for good and broke the hearts of the Rangeley Lakers in Saturday’s 54-51 victory in the Western D quarterfinal.

“Dylan (McNally) said, ‘Get it and go’ because I’d been feeling it in the second half,” said Worster. “I got it and took off, and that’s my shot.”

Rangeley had just completed a thrilling comeback to take the lead with 16 seconds left. Alex Morton took the ball to the hole, tossed up a leaner and drew the foul. He converted the three-point play and had the Lakers up 51-50. It was Rangeley’s first lead since the first quarter.

Worster quickly got the ball and moved up court. He looked for some space and let it go.

“I was feeling good about it,” Worster said. “I thought it was kind of off the side of my hand. Then I saw it go in. That was one of the best feelings in my life.”

Top-ranked Forest Hills advances to next Wednesday’s semifinal to play fifth-seeded Vinalhaven.

“It was right down to the last shot,” Rangeley coach Matt Clark said. “It was a great season for the kids. To get back into Augusta was awesome. I know how hurt the kids are. We really thought we could make some noise against Forest Hills. We did, but just not enough.”

Morton finished with 17 points. while Zeke Hall added 10. Jordan Richard (nine points), George Seaman (eight) and Regan Sargent (seven) chipped in as well.

The Tigers (14-5) got 21 each from Worster and McNally.

Rangeley, which lost 47-31 to the Tigers last month, erased a 42-31 deficit in the final quarter. The Lakers (10-9) held McNally scoreless for most of the second half, until two last-second free throws padded the lead.McNally dominated inside and scored 19 of his points in the opening half.

“We just talked at halftime about getting back down in the paint and using our size to our advantage,” said Clark.

The Lakers also started to get the offense on track. A basket by Hall and a pair of jumpers by Morton ended the third with the Tigers leading 42-37.

In the fourth, the Lakers kept charging. A 3-pointer and a rebound by Sargent cut the deficit to two. Then a pair of Morton free throws tied it with 4:46 left.

Rangeley was more aggressive and riding the momentum of its offensive surge.

“I told the kids not to settle for the outside shot,” Clark said. “We were putting up shots in the first half because we were down by 10 points.”

The Tigers got a jumper from eighth-grader Matt Turner to take the lead. Then, Hall tied it with two free throws. Turner hit again and Worster sank a pair of free throws to build a 50-46 advantage with 2:01 remaining.

The Lakers answered with a short jumper by Richard. Then, after a Forest Hills miss and Richard rebound, the Lakers had another chance. Morton took it to the basket and got the three-point play.

“I was in a state of shock,” Worster said. “Coach is always talking about not panicking and staying focused.”

After Worster’s shot put the Tigers ahead. Rangeley tried to get the ball the length of the court and threw it away. McNally was fouled and hit two free throws. The Lakers still had a crack at a tying 3, but couldn’t get one off.

“We were back and doing what we wanted to do,” Clark said of defending Worster’s shot. “We were in man. The defense wasn’t bad. The kid came down and hit a good shot in the paint.”

Rangeley started the game strong, but the Tigers were even better. Forest Hills hit all seven shots in the first and built the early lead.  Rangeley shot 8-for-12 in the first quarter but went 3-for-10 in the second. The Tigers settled for a 15-for-20 first half and dominated the inside. McNally was a bull in the paint and was unstoppable.

He had 11 points in the first quarter and eight in the second.

“I said at the beginning of the year that I felt we really had the best post player in Western D,” Amero said. “I think he came out today and showed that. A lot of times he had double coverage, but he’s worked on his game.”

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