AUGUSTA — During Forest Hills’ Western D regional final against Hyde, Tigers coach Anthony Amero told his team that as long as they were within 10 points heading into the fourth quarter, they were going to be regional champions. 

It was an odd thing for Amero to say, considering the top-seeded Tigers streamrolled through their regular-season schedule and posted 31- and 37-point victories in their first two tournament games. 

But he wasn’t wrong. Forest Hills led by one after three quarters and pulled away in the fourth, defeating third-seeded Hyde, 64-50, in the regional final Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center. The Tigers will play Fort Fairfield for the Class D state title. It’s their second trip to the state championship in the last three years. 

“Our coach told us that if we were within 10 within the first quarter that we were all set and that was the game plan the whole game and we made it happen,” Forest Hills’ Ryan Petrin said. 

Petrin scored a game-high 32 points and pulled down 18 rebounds — 11 on the offensive glass. 

The Tigers (21-0) continued their season-long streak of double digit victories, but Hyde proved to be their toughest task this year. The Phoenix (16-5) held a 13-4 advantage in the first quarter, with Antoine Montgomery scoring nine quick points, part of a 9-0 run. 


Petrin’s third basket of the first quarter halted Hyde’s run and kickstarted a 9-0 run for Forest Hills to pull even at 13 with 4:44 left in the first half. Neither team led by more than five until the fourth quarter. 

“I started planting that seed at the beginning of the tournament,” Amero said. “I said, ‘Somebody’s going to challenge you guys and you just got to know you can come back.'”

The Tigers opened the fourth quarter on a 7-0 run to grab a 41-33 lead.

Montgomery scored six of the next eight points to pull the Phoenix within four with 4:10 left. Montgomery finished with 24 points before fouling out. Amero said he knew Montgomery would get his points, but the goal was to keep him from dishing to an open man while penetrating to the basket. Brandon Ouellette, who hit eights 3-pointers in the regional semifinals, drew that assignment. 

“We were going to make him get those tough layups,” Amero said. “We knew he was going to get some points, but we weren’t going to let the other guys get free layups. We’re not going to lose on layups.” 

With Ouellette concentrating his energy on the defensive end, Petrin picked up the slack on offense. He scored 15 points in the fourth quarter, his final basket pushing Forest Hills’ advantage to 60-48 with 53 seconds left. 

“Pretty much all I’m there for is to get rebounds and I go back up,” Petrin said. “When they need points I can get it for them and usually they get me the ball.” 

Tanner Daigle and Matt Turner joined Petrin in double figures with 13 and 10 points, respectively. 

The Tigers closed the game on an 11-2 run. They were 16-for-24 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter and 28-for-45 for the game. The Phoenix went to the line six times, going 5-for-6. 

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