Winthrop’s Ian Steele, left, dives on the ball with North Yarmouth Academy’s Jacquim Bila during a Class C South semifinal game Thursday night at the Augusta Civic Center. Kennebec Journal photo by Andy Molloy Buy this Photo

AUGUSTA — Winthrop’s defense is well known across Class C, but the Ramblers may have outdone themselves in Thursday night’s Class C South semifinal. 

Top-seeded Winthrop limited North Yarmouth Academy’s Mr. Maine Basketball semifinalist, Te’Andre King, to one point and never trailed in a 40-25 win at the Augusta Civic Center. 

Winthrop junior Gavin Perkins looks to pass as North Yarmouth Academy junior Sam Sinibaldi defends. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

“We probably put basketball back about 45 years with our offensive play,” said Winthrop coach Todd MacArthur, whose team had its own struggles, shooting 7-for-38 through the first three quarters. “But, hey, like I’ve said before, you always have one ugly game in the tournament, and it’s always better to have that ugly game and to keep going than to say goodbye to your kids, and I don’t want to say goodbye to these kids. Not yet.” 

The Ramblers (19-1), the defending Class C state champions, advance to the regional final for the fifth consecutive year to face No. 2 Waynflete at 7:45 p.m. on Saturday. 

Ryan Baird led Winthrop with 21 points, 15 rebounds and five steals. Chris Hamblett led the Panthers (15-5) with 11 points. 

NYA missed its first 13 shots of the game and 22 of its first 23. Winthrop didn’t fare much better from the floor in the first half (5-for-29), but offset its poor marksmanship at the free-throw line (9-for-11) to lead 21-7 at halftime. 

The Panthers, who committed 15 turnovers in the first half, didn’t score until Bryce Bernier’s put-back with 1:10 left in the first quarter while the Ramblers went out in front, 11-2. NYA didn’t score again until Hamblett’s 3-pointer with 2:21 left in the second quarter made it 20-5 Winthrop. 

North Yarmouth Academy senior Te’Andre King absorbs a charge from Winthrop junior Noah Grube during the Ramblers’ 40-25 victory Thursday night. And Molloy/Kennebec Journal photos Buy this Photo

“We had good looks,” NYA coach Jason Knight said. “I thought (Te’Andre) had a couple of good looks that Tuesday night, he was hitting those all night long and they just wouldn’t fall.” 

Baird accounted for six of his nine points in the half from the free-throw line and grabbed five of his 11 rebounds at the offensive end, while King was held scoreless and drew his third foul late in the second quarter. 

“We played our system,” MacArthur said. “We wanted to make sure that any time a shot went up that Jevin Smith boxed (King) out. It just came down to fundamentals. Sometimes you over-complicate things and you say, well, what do we have to do defensively to stop this kid, and I felt like we were the better team. We didn’t want to change too much of what we were doing. We just wanted to make sure we kept him off the glass because that’s his greatest attribute, and Jevin did a good job of limiting his strengths.” 

King, who had 34 points and 13 rebounds in the Panthers’ quarterfinal win over Richmond, finished with 13 rebounds Thursday, but only two from the offensive glass. 

Playing with four fouls to start the fourth, King found Sinibaldi for a layup that made it an eight-point Rambler lead. But NYA didn’t score again until King scored his first and only point of the game on a free throw with 3:12 left, long after Cam Hachey and Baird sank back-to-back 3-pointers as part of 12-0 Rambler run that put the game out of reach. 

“If somebody had told me before the game that you’d give up 40 points and we’d lose, I’d say you’re nuts,” Knight said. “I mean, defensively, that’s a great effort… But that’s only one-half the game. You’ve got to put the ball in the hole.” 


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