LEWISTON — Maine’s first officially sanctioned season of unified basketball was an unqualified slam dunk.

Perhaps fitting, then, that it ended with the next-best thing — a buzzer-beating hook shot in overtime.

Hampden Academy senior David Manzo’s flick of the wrist found nothing but net as the horn sounded, hoisting the Broncos to a thrilling, 32-30 victory over the Lisbon Greyhounds for the inaugural state championship.

“It’s kind of still setting in,” Manzo said. “I used to play basketball back in the day. I haven’t recently, but that was kind of my trademark, so it’s great to come back and hit a big shot like that.”

The extra session flaunted all the drama of the schoolboy and schoolgirl finals played earlier this month.

Ted Harris of Hampden and Brandon Bartlett of Lisbon each hit one of two free throws, keeping it tied at 30 with 1:26 to play in OT.


Both teams had go-ahead chances rattle off the rim. Brock Vachon’s defensive rebound gave the Greyhounds a chance to call timeout and set up a potential final shot with 12.1 seconds.

Lisbon isolated sophomore Tyler Halls for a drive to the basket. The bid fell off the mark and into the hands of Harris, giving the Broncos a chance to push it across the time line and call a halt with 3.6 seconds to go.

“We set it up so that we could have a screen and have a shot available,” Lisbon coach Terri Tlumac said. “We tried to utilize that. They got a rebound and did their job.”

Senior Will Huston lobbed the ball from behind the baseline to the tall, burly Manzo, who drew blanket coverage from Robert Wood and other Lisbon defenders in the paint.

Manzo dribbled away and drilled the history-making shot, perhaps with a tip of the cap to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

“We’ve been doing that play since 10 years old in travel basketball when our dads coached us,” Huston said. “It’s great to have that for the win.”


Hampden, which also won the Class A schoolboy state title, rallied from a 12-point deficit in regulation.

Freshman Kenneth Brewer-Frazee led the Broncos with 15 points and eight steals. Harris had seven points and seven rebounds.

Vachon scored 11 points for Lisbon. Wood and Jake Patenaude scored six apiece in the first quarter alone, staking the Greyhounds to an 18-6 lead with 3:15 remaining in the first half.

Unified basketball, which featured 17 participating teams in its rookie campaign, is affiliated with Special Olympics. Teams are coed and include both special education students and “partner” players, with rules limiting the number of points partners are allowed to score.

Halls, a receiver and quarterback in football and a pitcher on Lisbon’s baseball team, pulled 11 rebounds and amassed four steals and three assists to go along with his two points.

“I like helping the kids. It’s all about them,” Halls said. “I wish we could have won, but it happens, right? I want to do it again.”


Halls detected his team’s nervous energy before the game, but it dissipated quickly.

After Brewer-Frazee banked one in to start the game, Lisbon capped the opening quarter with a dozen consecutive points. All the points came in the point, all from Wood and Patenaude, and six via the offensive glass.

“When we got into a deficit, it was, ‘We’ve got to pick up this person, guard that person, box out.’ It was just recognizing our strengths and catering to our strengths,” Hampden coach Andrea Lee said.

Brewer-Frazee collected eight unanswered points on a 3-point play, a steal and a 3-pointer, and a fast break feed by Dakota Clement, all in a 45-second span, to bolster the Broncos.

Vachon answered the run with a 3-pointer to make it a 21-16 Lisbon lead at the half.

“That was a very evenly matched game,” Tlumac said. “We’re proud of our kids and what they’ve accomplished this season. The time they’ve all spent on the court, the development that they’ve had within the program. Everyone is part of the team. I think they all felt that way at the end of the season.”


Hampden scored the first seven points of the half — a Harris 3-pointer, Robert Martin’s putback and a Clement layup — to reclaim the lead.

Then came the nail-biting that wouldn’t end. Vachon sank two free throws for a 27-26 Lisbon edge with 4:36 left. Brewer-Frazee knocked down his third 3-pointer in response.

Single free throws by Ryley Austin and Wood sent it to overtime.

Harris’ potential 3-pointer to win it at the end of regulation for Hampden was just off the mark.

At the end of the game, Huston, one of Hampden’s helpers, cut the symbolic final strand of one net and waited until Zachary Ewing carefully clipped the other one before the two waved them in triumphant unison.

“This experience has been life-changing. When I walk down the halls, I won’t say I judged kids before, but it makes me more aware of everything that’s going on,” Huston said. “Seeing and meeting some of the kids on the team that I never thought I’d be friends with or have things in common with, we just click.”


Huston had six rebounds, and Manzo four. The closing basket was only Manzo’s second of the game.

“It could be a movie. It really could. I’m so excited for the team. It’s just a great way to end the season,” Manzo said. “It’s something not just unified sports can do but sports in general. It’s something magical.”

Tlumac agreed. The 750-or-so fans who packed Lewiston High School would not have fit into Lisbon’s venerable Manchester Gym.

“The kids who want to see all our students succeed are amazing,” she said. “It’s been awesome. It’s been an emotional roller-coaster, not only for us as coaches, but for the players. They were invested. The partners were invested at times more than the athletes, picking them up and encouraging them when they were down, really putting in their best effort at all times.”

Slam dunk, indeed.

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