While the Maine Principals’ Association Heal Point Standings for Eastern Class B held true to form in having both No. 1 Camden Hills and No. 2 Ellsworth square off for the regional championship Saturday afternoon at the Bangor Auditorium, the game was anything but close between the Windjammers and Eagles as the two squads vied for the crown.

The Windjammers (20-2 overall) used a smothering defense and held Ellsworth’s top player to only nine points as Camden Hills won its third regional title in four years with a dominating and impressive 82-49 victory over the Eagles at the Bangor Auditorium.

Eastern Class B titlist Camden Hills will face Western Class B champion Falmouth, the No. 2 seed who defeated No. 1 Cape Elizabeth (19-2) 53-40 in the other regional final Saturday, in next week’s state Class B championship game.

Tipoff for the state game between the Windjammers and Yachtsmen (20-1) will be on Friday, Feb. 25 at 9 p.m. at the Bangor Auditorium.

On Saturday against Ellsworth (17-4), the Windjammers led 27-6, 44-19 and 62-36 at the quarter breaks.

Tyler McFarland dropped in 18 points to lead the reigning regional champs, while Joel Gabriele added 14; Keegan Pieri, eight; Nick White and Casey Scott, both seven; Will Vlautin and Adam Carlsen, each six; Cam Gartley, four; Evan Drinkwater and Zach Wincklhofer, both three; and Adam Landwehr, Taylor Hall, Jimmy Weferling and Casey Wilson, all two.

Ryan Petros keyed Ellsworth with nine points, while Andrew Austin added eight; Tyler Palmer, seven; Brad Folmer, five; Kyle Haslam and Cote Card, both four; Thomas Sawyer, three; Zach Emeigh and Ross Saunders, both two; and Nick Ritchie, one.

Ellsworth made 17-of-26 free throws (65 percent), while Camden Hills netted 11-of-16 (69 percent).

Saturday’s outcome marked the ninth regional championship for the Windjammers under the guidance of 28th-year coach Jeff Hart, which came just two weeks after the team secured its 12th Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B championship in his tenure.

On Friday, Feb. 26 in Bangor, the Windjammers will attempt to win their sixth state title under Hart’s leadership and seventh overall in school history.

On Saturday, the Windjammers combined their fullcourt pressure defense, which led to many fastbreak hoops, along with terrific shooting from both inside the paint and beyond the 3-point arc to help them sail to the convincing win over the Eagles.

Camden Hills netted 32 field goals, a whopping 11 of which were 3-pointers. The single-game record for 3-pointers in an Eastern Class B tournament game is held by Maranacook of Readfield with 12 in 2008.

“It was early and often,” said Ellsworth coach Peter Austin of the Camden Hills offensive attack. “When they did miss, which wasn’t very often, they got their own rebound. One of the keys to the game for us today was boxing out and rebounding, and we didn’t do that. But that’s a credit to them. They play hard, they play in your face defense and it makes it hard for the opposing team to get anything done offensively.”

“[It feels] awesome,” said Camden Hills coach Jeff Hart of the Windjammers winning the regional crown. “I know people like to think we just roll it out and we just [win regional championships], but this took a lot of work and these guys deserve a lot of the credit.”

Hart said that this regional title really signifies all the hard work within the program, given the fact that the varsity team lost a multitude of seniors and four starters, including one they hadn’t planned on losing when starting guard Graham Safford transferred to Hampden Academy. Those were significant losses to a team that finished as unbeaten league, regional and state champion in 2008-09.

“We had a lot of changes,” Hart said. “We had people playing different roles, we lost a point guard we didn’t expect to lose, losing five quality seniors, we had to go through that whole process again. But this is awesome. This is as good as we’ve played all season.”

Petros, who is the sparkplug in Ellsworth’s offense and scored a combined 60 points in two playoff games against Rockland and Mount View of Thorndike earlier in the regional tourney, was held to only nine against the Windjammers in the regional final Saturday. Hart stuck the 6-foot-6-inch McFarland on the 6-1 Petros for most of the game, making it difficult for the sharpshooter to find many opportunities.

“It was actually a fight between he and Keegan [Pieri] about who was going to get to guard him,” Hart said. “And not that that’s such an easy thing, but they love a challenge. I thought we made things pretty tough for him.”

McFarland was also Camden Hills’ leading scorer, playing in his third regional final in three years.

“Our offensive game tonight was phenomenal,” said McFarland. “We came out ready to play. We’ve been working on it all week in practice and towards the end of the season all our players have really started to step it up and take on bigger roles. Everyone’s playing well.”

One of those players was Gabriele, who did not play many minutes last season and was thrust into a much larger role after Safford’s transfer. Gabriele had his coming-put party Saturday, knocking down four 3-pointers and had a nifty runner in the lane midway through the third quarter.

“I was feeling good in warmups and feeling good in practice all week,” said Gabriele. “[We played the] inside and out [game] and we got it to T-Mac and Keegan down low and when [Ellsworth] collapsed [defensively] they just kicked it to me and I was open and ready to shoot.”

“Joel played awesome coming off the bench,” said Hart. “He played loose. And then I’ve got to say that Jimmy Weferling, he just does so many things that just don’t show up in the box [score]. His defense, setting the tone and how he attacks the basket and puts people back on their heels. He’s been pretty impressive.”

Camden Hills scored the first nine points of the contest, with Pieri converting on an offensive rebound and Gartley adding a midrange jumper. Gartley then converted 1-of-2 free throws before McFarland scored four straight points to put the Windjammers on top 9-0.

Card got Ellsworth on the board with a runner in the lane, but that would be the Eagles only field goal of the quarter as McFarland scored the next six points for the Windjammers followed by Scott and Gabriele canning 3-pointers. Pieri later put one off the window down on the block, followed by Gabriele’s second trey of the night to put the ‘Jammers up 27-6.

Camden Hills led by as much as 43-10 midway through the second quarter.

The Yachtsmen are now the only team that stands between the Windjammers and their second straight state crown. Falmouth was 17-0 heading into their final game of the regular season before Cape Elizabeth knocked the Yachtmen off. The Yachtsmen returned the favor against the Capers in the regional final. Camden Hills defeated Cape Elizabeth in the state title game last season.

Needless to say, the Yachtsmen may end up being the Windjammers’ most formidable opponent of the season.

“They’re very good,” said Hart. “They had eight [3-pointers] in the first half of their semifinal game. They like to get out and run. And they’ve got some outstanding shooters and they’ve got a big guy. That’s what you expect to see when you get to a state game. You expect to see good teams.”

“We met in the preseason a couple times in fall league,” said McFarland. “They’re a great team. Very talented, very disciplined. We’re not going to take them lightly at all. We’re going to give them our all and hope for the best. I think we’ve got a great shot.”

It was not the final seconds ticking off the clock in Saturday’s regional final that got the biggest response from the Camden Hills crowd, but rather what transpired after the game.

Senior manager and co-captain Carlos Baeza, who has battled with cerebral palsy and was recently awarded the “Spirit of the Game” award during the McDonald’s High School Senior All-Star press conference Wednesday, made the climb up the ladder to bring down the championship net.

He waved it above his head vigorously, to the delight of the Windjammer faithful. Baeza had no idea he would be asked to cut down the net.

“When Cameron [Gartley) told me I was going to go up [on the ladder], I said ‘Are you sure about this?’ ” said Baeza. “But I loved it. I saw the group last year do it and there is no better feeling.”

However, Baeza, who has been the team manager since he was a sophomore, kept the victory in perspective as did the rest of the team.

“We’ve still got one more game and we’ve got to prepare for it,” he said. “It’s not over until we’ve got that gold ball in our hands. That’s our final goal.”

Click for more photos from the Camden Hills and Ellsworth regional championship game.

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