One fingertip — well, perhaps two — was the difference in what might undoubtedly be the game of the day on Saturday, Feb. 17 at the Cross Insurance Center as the No. 5 Oceanside and No. 4 Winslow boys basketball teams battled on the court for the fourth and final time on the season.

The Black Raiders seized control in the first half, while the Mariners rallied to take the lead in the fourth quarter and clung to a one-point lead in the waning seconds.

In the end, the ball found the bottom of the net on an offensive putback — inadvertently aided by a Mariner defender — at the final horn as the Black Raiders escaped with a 39-38 Class B North high school quarterfinal playoff win.

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In the final frantic, tense moments, Winslow’s Hunter Campbell penetrated to the hoop and the ball rimmed out and into the hands of teammate Jake Lapierre.

In the ensuing tussle for the ball, a Mariner player, trying to make a game-saving play and gain control of the ball, or at least knock it away, inadvertently tipped the ball out of the hands of Lapierre — and into the hoop — to give Winslow the one-point win.

With the victory, the Black Raiders (16-3) advance to the semifinals, where they will face No. 1 Hermon (19-0), a 67-40 quarterfinal winner over No. 9 Belfast (9-11), on Wednesday, Feb. 21 at 8:35 p.m. at the same venue.

Oceanside’s season wrapped at 13-6.

“I just feel bad for the seniors” said veteran Oceanside coach Matt Breen. “They worked so hard [and] they’ve been a part of something special over the last couple years. They had a good run in them, but it just didn’t work out today.”

Winslow jumped to a 14-4 lead after the first quarter and maintained that 10-point cushion at halftime with a 26-16 edge. Oceanside battled back in the third quarter to outscore Winslow 12-2 to knot the score heading into the final period.

Mike Norton Jr. paced the Mariners with a 13-point effort, while Cooper Wirkala netted nine; Trevor Reed, six; Jack Lombardo and Amos Anderson, four; and Josh Peaco, two. Wirkala (7 rebounds, 5 assists), Norton (8 rebounds) and Reid (5 rebounds) also turned in fine statistical efforts.

Lapierre scored 11 points for the Black Raiders, while Michael Wildes added 10; Colby Pomeroy, eight; Campbell, six; and Jack Morneault, four.

The Mariners finished 11-of-13 (84 percent) from the foul line — including netting their final 11 of the contest — while the Black Raiders were 3-of-7 (43 percent).

Oceanside took an early 4-3 lead, but Winslow responded with an 11-0 run to end the stanza after a free throw from Wildes, a hoop from Lapierre in the paint, a Wildes 3-pointer and another hoop as he penetrated to the basket, a Campbell basket on the block and a fast-break layup by Wildes.

“We struggled offensively in the first half and just could not find a flow and then in the second half it wasn’t much better, but our defense improved a lot and we were able to get some easier looks,” said Breen.

That defense was on display — and then some — in the third quarter as the Black Raiders did not find a hoop until two minutes to play in the stanza. In the meantime, the Mariners went on a 9-0 run — off four straight points from Norton and five from Wirkala — and found themselves down 26-25 before Campbell ended Winslow’s scoring drought.

Norton then rattled in a 3-pointer to tie the game just prior to the third-quarter horn.

The game was back-and-forth over the final eight minutes with two ties and five lead changes. Oceanside took a 38-35 advantage off four straight Wirkala free throws late, while Winslow forced a late Mariner turnover, which resulted in a fast-break basket by Morneault to pull the Black Raiders within 38-37.

Winslow then forced another turnover with 17 seconds to play and called timeout to set up a potential game-winning play.

“We figured it was either going to 15 [Morneault] or 3 [Colby Pomeroy] and 14 [Lapierre] would be a spot-up shooter,” said Breen. “The only thing we really talked about was make sure we box out and no second-chance points. They didn’t get a clean look [because] we were playing pretty good D, and at the last second they get a tip. I guess if we did a better job boxing out it doesn’t happen, but it was pretty hectic and my kids were playing hard. It’s just unfortunate for it to end that way.”

Despite the gut-punch defeat, Breen said more than the loss, he is going to miss his five seniors — Norton, Jack Freeman, Peaco, Leo Reid and Silas Miller — and their contributions to the program over the years.

“They’ve been a big part of the program and I’m pretty close to each of them,” he said. “It’s sad for those guys, but I’m glad they came out and competed and battled and clawed their way back.”

The opponents finished the season 2-2 against one another. The Mariners and Black Raiders split in the regular season (57-49 Winslow and 59-47 Oceanside), while Oceanside defeated Winslow 65-58 in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B title game on Saturday, Feb. 10 at Cony High School in Augusta.

In those four combined games, Oceanside outscored Winslow 212-201.

The Mariners, after making it to the Class A North championship game (and winning one regional championship), are 0-3 all-time at the Cross Insurance Center.