PORTLAND — Tucker Stiles was at the free throw line for a pair of key foul shots late in a recent scrimmage.

He missed both.

The Lincoln Academy junior found himself in a similar situation with one-tenth of a second left and Lincoln Academy trailing Spruce Mountain by two points in a Class B South boys basketball quarterfinal Friday at the Portland Expo.

“My teammates — against Greely we had a scrimmage, the same thing happened, but I missed both of them — so they were all on their seat, all nervous,” Stiles said. “I knew they were going in.”

This time, in a real game, with the Eagles’ season on the line, Stiles made both foul shots to tie the game and send it to overtime.

The sixth-seeded Eagles controlled the extra period, and pulled off a 65-55 win over the third-seeded Phoenix.


“I think we rallied as a team really well, we played together really well, and we just started working together on all cylinders,” Eagles junior Gabe Hagar said. “Put it all together, and it just turned out to be a W.”

Lincoln (14-5) advances to face No. 2 Yarmouth (15-4), which defeated No. 7 Maranacook 68-59 later Friday, in the B South semifinals at the Expo on Tuesday at 6 p.m.

Hagar and Spruce Mountain’s Jace Bessey each hit five 3-pointers and tied for the game-high with 23 points apiece.

Three-pointers were tide turners throughout Friday’s game. Hagar made the final trey early in overtime to break the 49-49 regulation tie.

“I have a lot of confidence, but I get it all from my teammates and my coaches,” Hagar said. “They tell me to keep shooting, no matter the cause, they’re always telling me to shoot, so whenever opportunities like come, I let it fly.”

Lincoln’s EJ Hunt stole the ball and dribbled down the court for a layup that made it 55-49. Spruce Mountain (14-5) freshman Austin Armandi scored a couple of baskets to get the Phoenix within three points both times, but then the Eagles pulled away by scoring nine of the final 11 points.



Spruce Mountain seemed in control with three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Though its lead was only six points, 46-40, everything seemed to be going for the Phoenix and against the Eagles. Foul calls kept going against Lincoln, and two starters had already fouled out.

However, the Eagles’ pressure defense began disrupting Spruce Mountain’s offense and causing turnovers.

“We run that 2-2-1 all year, just about, and that 1-3-1, and it just forces turnovers, and we’re a turnover team, and we capitalized on those turnovers,” Stiles said.

A three-point play by Lucas Houghton started a 7-0 Eagles run capped by Casey Duncan’s go-ahead layup that made it 47-46 for the Eagles with about a minute and a half left in the game.

Neither team scored again until Lucas Towers hit a pair of free throws to give the lead back to Spruce Mountain, 48-47, with 21.4 seconds left.


Towers added another free throw with 8.4 seconds remaining to put the Phoenix up two points.

The Eagles advanced the ball up to their 3-point line, where Houghton passed to a curling Stiles. Stiles drove the lane and was fouled at the hoop with only one-tenth of a second.

“I was standing at half-court, and I was just praying they were going to go in,” Hagar said. “I had all the confidence in the world in him. He’s money from the line.”

The Phoenix were one-tenth of a second from reaching the semifinals.

“Yeah, defend that a little better, we probably move on,” Spruce Mountain coach Scott Bessey said. “But, a million plays in a game, and I’m not going to say that it came down to that one.



The Phoenix had a sophomore and one or two freshmen on the floor for most of the game. Scott Bessey said Friday was a great learning experience for them, but that Spruce Mountain’s overall basketball inexperience — not just the underclassmen — was evident, particularly against the Eagle’s pressure defense.

“We need our pups to make a lot of plays,” Scott Bessey said. “And a lot of them are very new to this experience, and we hope they learn from it, we hope they get better from it and do better next year.”

Spruce’s freshmen, Armandi and Cai Dougher, scored all six of the Phoenix’s overtime points.

“For a freshman to come into this atmosphere, it’s a pretty big deal,” Scott Bessey said. “I thought they made a lot of plays.”

Dougher, who has been a starter all season, finished with seven points. Armandi scored four points, all in overtime. Ian York contributed nine points and Elie Timler also had seven for Spruce Mountain.

Houghton was the Eagles’ second-best scorer Friday with 14 points. Duncan scored 10 and Stiles finished with eight.


Lincoln Academy controlled the first quarter and built a 14-4 lead. Five players pitched in on the offensive end, including Hagar and Stiles, who each made a 3-pointer.

Jace Bessey’s 3-pointer late in the quarter cut Spruce Mountain’s deficit to 14-7 heading into the second.

Treys turned the tide back and forth in the second quarter. Bessey made a couple more 3s to lead the Phoenix on a 15-0 run, giving them a 19-14 advantage.

Hagar ended Spruce’s run with a 3. He hit one more, along with a couple of baskets to give the lead back to the Eagles. After Hagar’s second 3 of the quarter, Bessey answered at the other end of the court to cut Lincoln’s lead to 25-23. The Eagles led 27-23 at halftime.

Gabriel scored 10 of his 13 first-half points in the second quarter. He made three treys.

Bessey finished the first half with four 3-pointers and 16 points — 11 of those coming in the second quarter.

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