Free throws help Windjammers knock off previously unbeaten MarinersBoys basketball: Bryant, Hart net 10-of-12 foul shots down stretch for Camden Hills
Rockland — The Oceanside boys basketball team has been heralded, by many prognosticators, as the team to beat in Eastern Class B this season.
However, Camden Hills, perennially regional and state title contenders itself, reminded pundits Friday night, Dec. 21 what so many close to the program already knew.
Never count out the Windjammers.
The visitors nabbed their first lead since the first quarter midway through the final stanza and used supreme free-throw shooting late to keep the host Mariners (4-1) at bay, knocking Oceanside from the ranks of the unbeaten with a 66-63 high school hoop victory.
The 'Jammers (4-1) took a 58-57 lead with 2:17 left on a pair of free throws by Weston Bryant, who was 8-of-10 from the charity stripe in the game and 6-of-8 in the final stanza, to help the visitors pick up the win.
Camden Hills netted 13-of-17 foul shots (76 percent) in the fourth quarter and was 25-of-31 (81 percent) in the game. Oceanside connected on 11-of-16 (69 percent) attempts.
Connor Hart paced the Windjammer scoring attack with a 23-point effort, while Chander Crans tossed in 15; Bryant, eight; Jayson Kuhn, seven; Connor Graffam, five; Alex Crans and Terron Bailey, both three; and John Hall, two.
For Oceanside, Shea Davenport poured in a game-high 27 points, while Sam Meklin added 17; Nick Judge, eight; Isaiah Stone-Patterson, seven; and Tyler Gilson, two.
The two squads battled back and fourth through the first quarter, which saw six ties in the opening stanza, before Oceanside took an 18-15 lead. The Mariners then grabbed a 32-28 lead at halftime and extended their advantage to 44-39 after three quarters.
Chandler Crans netted a trey to start the fourth quarter to cut the 'Jammer deficit to two points, one of four 3-pointers in the stanza for the visitors, while Oceanside continued to battle and rattled off four straight points on a Judge baseline jumper and a pair of free throws from Davenport.
Oceanside later extended its lead to 55-48 on an offensive putback by Gilson, a free throw from Meklin and a baseline jumper rattled in by Davenport with 4:15 left in the game, but a trey from Hart at the top of the key later in the quarter cut Camden Hills' deficit to 57-54 with 3:08 remaining.
The wind began to catch the Windjammers' sails after that when Meklin was called for an intentional foul and Chandler Crans calmly sank two free throws before Bryant hit a pair at the line to give the visitors the advantage.
The two squads, from there, began a cat-and-mouse game, with the Mariners fouling to stop the clock, but the hosts could not take advantage as the Windjammers' sizzling free-throw shooting snuffed out any chance of an Oceanside comeback.
Judge had a look at a 3-pointer to give Oceanside the lead with 10 seconds left and Davenport a chance to tie the game at the buzzer, but both shots rimmed out.
Despite the loss, the play of the game went to the Mariners in the second quarter, when Stone-Patterson threw a perfect lob to Meklin from the elbow for an alley-oop dunk, bringing the Oceanside faithful to its feet.
In the Maine Principals' Association Heal Point Standings for Eastern Class B, Camden Hills (4-1, 10.8025 points) is second, while Oceanside (4-1, 11.8827 points) is first in the 19-team region. The top 13 teams qualify for the playoffs.
Courier Publications Associate Sports Director Mark Haskell can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.