Friday night’s Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B regular-season showdown between Camden Hills and host Medomak Valley featured not only two of the top high school boys basketball teams in the league, but in all of Eastern Class B as the Windjammers and Panthers put on one heck of a performance for the near capacity crowd at Medomak Valley High School.

With both teams assured spots in the upcoming regional postseason tournament, Friday’s game certainly had a playoff atmosphere as both squads have aspirations to claim this year’s regional crown.

And while the hosts held a six-point halftime cushion, the defending state Class B champions roared back and outscored the Panthers 18-3 in the third quarter and held off a late rally from the hosts to secure a 57-49 victory.

Medomak Valley led 14-11 after the first quarter and extended its advantage to 30-24 at halftime. Camden Hills then went on an 18-5 run in the third quarter to take a 42-35 lead after three quarters.

Tyler McFarland netted 21 points to lead the Windjammer charge, while Keegan Pieri chipped in 13; Cam Gartley, nine; Joel Gabriele, six; Jimmy Weferling, three; Casey Wilson, two; and Will Vlautin and Casey Scott, each one.

For the Panthers, Alex MacKenzie led with 15 points, while Dustin Osier added 10; Isaac Durkee, nine; Isaac Greenrose, four; John Bartlett, three; and Dan Aubel and Jason Vinal, both two.

Camden Hills netted 15-of-25 (60 percent) from the foul line, while Medomak Valley was 19-of-26 (73 percent).

“I thought we played well,” said Medomak Valley coach Nick DePatsy. “I think mentally we lost a little bit of our poise and that mental toughness at the beginning of that third quarter and they got a little run on us.”

“I wasn’t real happy with the first half,” said Camden Hills coach Jeff Hart. “I thought we gave up way too many points. That’s a lot more points than we’re used to giving up. And they were getting to the foul line on us [9-of-12 in the second quarter] and I thought that was a problem. We just spent too much time fouling people and giving them freebies. In the second half only giving up 19 second-half points, I thought our defense did a lot better.”

Coach Hart added that his team also began taking care of the ball better and asserting themselves in the paint.

Coach DePatsy agreed with both of Hart’s assessments, particularly that the visitors turned up the intensity on defense in the second half.

“They’re so long and tall and they made us take some tough shots in the second half,” said DePatsy. “That got us a little off-balance, but that’s a credit to [Camden Hills] and the way they get after it. And they rebounded well. We didn’t get many second-, third-chance opportunities and they kept us off the boards. But I’m happy. We played well. We have a couple little things go this way or that way, who knows?”

Pieri scored from close range to start the third quarter and, after McFarland put up an offensive rebound from a Weferling attempt, the Windjammers quickly narrowed their deficit to 30-28. Osier converted a field goal to push the hosts’ lead back to four, but back-to-back hoops from Weferling and McFarland knotted the score 32-32with 5:02 left in the third stanza.

After MacKenzie and McFarland traded hoops, Pieri knocked down a pair of free throws to give Camden Hills the lead for good. Gabriele then extended the ‘Jammer advantage to 38-34 on a runner in the lane.

Durkee later converted 1-of-2 free throws on a technical foul assessed to Gabriele, but McFarland popped in an offensive rebound and a Pieri layup with seven seconds remaining in the quarter to extend the Camden Hills edge to seven points.

With the score tied 6-6 in the early stages of the first quarter, Medomak Valley went on an 8-1 run, including a close-range MacKenzie field goal, and 3-pointers from Vinal and Durkee.

Camden Hills also prevailed over Medomak Valley 54-43 at Rockport Dec. 11, which was Windjammer coach Jeff Hart’s 400th career win.

The Windjammers (15-1, 116.6667 Heal Points) remains in first place in Eastern Class B, while the Panthers (12-4, 79-9383 points) are fifth.

The jayvee contest was nearly as exciting as the varsity game, as the Panthers prevailed in a thrilling contest 62-58. Medomak Valley’s Shane Osier netted four free throws in the final minute to help secure the win.

Click for more photos from the Camden Hills at Medomak Valley varsity game.

Click for photos from the Camden Hills at Medomak Valley junior varsity game.

Village NetMedia Associate Sports Director Mark Haskell can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail at mhaskell@villagesoup.com.