High school boys basketball

Mariners outlast Windjammers in thrilling regular-season finale

Oceanside eyes automatic berth to Bangor, Camden Hills in playoffs too
By Mark Haskell | Feb 07, 2013
Photo by: Mark Haskell Oceanside's Tyler Gilson (15) and Camden Hills' Jayson Kuhn, left, vie for rebounding position during a Feb. 7 high school boys basketball game in Rockport. The visiting Mariners won the regular-season finale 65-59. Behind is Windjammer Connor Hart.

Rockport — While the Eastern Class B tournament does not officially begin until next week, it essentially began for many Midcoast high school boys basketball fans on Thursday night, Feb. 7 in the regular-season finale between Oceanside and host Camden Hills.

The crowd was electric and the student sections were roaring as both the Mariners and Windjammers had plenty to play for on the hardwood Thursday night — and, in the end, it was the Mariners who sailed on to the victory.

Mariner seniors Shea Davenport and Sam Meklin combined for 30 second-half points as the visitors withstood a furious Windjammer rally down the stretch and emerged victorious with a 65-59 decision.

Click for more photos from this game.

Oceanside (14-4) withstood on onslaught of 3-pointers from Camden Hills — 10 total in the game — including seven from senior Chandler Crans, who poured in a game-high 27 points in the losing effort.

Camden Hills (12-6) ran out to a 9-2 lead in the first quarter and led 14-8 after the first stanza, while the two teams were knotted 24-24 at halftime. Oceanside then went on a 27-14 run in the third quarter to take a 51-38 lead heading into the final stanza.

After the team's overtime loss to Medomak Valley Feb. 5, Oceanside coach Matt Breen was pleased to end the regular season on a positive note, including avenging a 66-63 home loss to the Windjammers early in the campaign.

"I thought we played well down the stretch [of the season]," said Breen. "Even the loss at Medomak [Valley] we didn't execute well, but we played hard and we matched their intensity. And tonight we played hard and were able to execute better and that was the difference in tonight's game."

Windjammer coach Jeff Hart said Thursday's game was "not a very good game by us at all."

"[Oceanside] had an awful lot of open looks," he said. "That's just bad defense. I mean, you've got to make them still, but when you don't have anybody within eight feet of you, you're going to make shots. We just had way too many defensive breakdowns tonight to be able to take a win home."

As of Thursday night in the Maine Principals' Association Heal Point Standings for Eastern Class B, Oceanside (14-4, 125.3086 points) was second, while Camden Hills (12-6, 93.9815 points) was eighth. Medomak Valley (16-2, 131.7901 points) was first in the 19-team region, with the top 13 teams qualifying for the playoffs.

Oceanside could fall as far as fourth and may have to play a preliminary playoff game by the time the final Heal Point Standings shake out in the next day or two, or the Mariners could earn a berth directly into the quarterfinals at the Bangor Auditorium by virtue of a top-three finish.

Oceanside also played Thursday's game without starting point guard Isaiah Stone-Patterson, sidelined with a shoulder injury, but coach Breen said Stone-Patterson will be fine for the team's upcoming playoff game, whether it be a home prelim playoff next week or an automatic quarterfinal berth the weekend of Feb. 15-16.

Davenport poured in 24 points for Oceanside, including 3-of-4 from the foul line in the final 1:06, to help the visitors pull away.

Meklin, the Mariner's 6-foot-5-inch center, netted four 3-pointers in the game and three in the third quarter to contribute 18 points in the win.

Meklin, who also has several in-game dunks to his credit this season, hit five 3-pointers in a midseason win at Waterville and since then, the Oceanside center has been getting more and more comfortable shooting from long range.

"Over the summer [coach Breen] told me if I worked on it I could shoot behind the arc," said Meklin. "I did, and then all of the sudden I hit a few in a game and started getting confidence and they started dropping."

"He's always been a pretty good shooter and in practice he knocks them down," said Breen. "You kind of want your 6-5 guy banging around in the paint, but we let him stretch it out. He's got the best percentage on the team from the 3-point line so if he gets an open look he's got the green light to take it."

Oceanside also was big on the offensive glass throughout Thursday's game, getting many second- and third-chance opportunities and keeping the ball out of Camden Hills' hands.

Also scoring for Oceanside was Hunter Grindle with eight points; Keenan Hendricks, five; Nick Mazurek and Matt Zable, both four; and Tyler Gilson, two.

For Camden Hills, Connor Hart tossed in eight points, while Jayson Kuhn added seven; Joe Chamberlain and Colin Morse, both five; Connor Graffam, four; and Terron Bailey, three.

The Mariners went 9-of-12 (75 percent) from the foul line, while the 'Jammers netted 12-of-15 (80 percent).

Morse hit a pair of free throws to start the third quarter for Camden Hills before Meklin and Chandler Crans traded 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions, but Davenport converted a conventional three-point play and Meklin buried his second trey of the quarter to put the visitors up 33-29 with 5:30 left.

Graffam hit a shot on the low block to bring the 'Jammers within two points, but Meklin connected on his third trey of the quarter to start an 8-0 Oceanside run, which prompted a Windjammer timeout.

Camden Hills battled back late in the fourth quarter and cut its deficit to 60-56 with 1:10 remaining, but the hosts were forced to begin fouling and Oceanside hit its free throws to pull away.

Davenport iced 3-of-4 from the charity stripe in the final 1:10 and Grindle 2-of-2 to lift the Mariners.

"I always think the same exact thing every game [when I'm at the foul line]," said Davenport. "I picture me and Sam [Meklin] shooting foul shots together in practice. Same hoop, both of us there every practice. That's what I picture in my head.

"And it works."

"It's too bad that we're in that position trying to play catchup that way," said coach Hart. "It's tough to do. You can try to do little things to lengthen the game but it still comes down to hoping someone misses some foul shots for you."

Davenport said whether the Mariners have a prelim or a bye into the quarterfinals, their goal is the same.

"We've just got to keep playing strong," he said. "Things are going good lately. We hit a little slump, but we've definitely picked it back up and now we've just got to keep playing hard."

Oceanside is slated to face Medomak Valley in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B championship on Saturday, Feb. 9 at 5 p.m. at Cony High School, but that game could be canceled due to the impending snow set to rock the state over the weekend.

If the game is canceled, Medomak Valley would be declared the league Class B champion by virtue of its higher Heal Point standing. This season, the Mariners and Panthers split two games, with Medomak Valley winning at home 60-58 in overtime and Oceanside winning at home 71-65 in double-overtime .

Courier Publications Associate Sports Director Mark Haskell can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email at mhaskell@courierpublicationsllc.com.

Comments (4)
Posted by: Tena Wallace | Feb 08, 2013 12:57

Fair enough Jeff. I do understand that not everything that is asked and responded to is printed.  Camden is a good team and over the years I have been one of the first people to give them credit for their dedication and performance.  They may not have played to your expectations but did play well.  OHS also has a very talented group of young men working hard on that floor, they deserve credit for their talent, hard work and determination.  My apology for holding you responsible for what had been printed.

I will be at the Chills prelim game with my RED alumni shirt on cheering for our local team.  Good Luck in your prelim game.

Posted by: Jeff & Melissa Hart | Feb 08, 2013 12:02

Hey Tena - I was asked a lot of questions after the game.  I don't control what gets put into the story.  The ones that were put in were in response to the question, "how do you think you guys played tonight?"  I answered that question openly and honestly.  I didn't think we played well as a team - and I said that.  I must have answered six or seven other questions about the game, and those answers don't appear here.  I honestly don't remember what the questions were as I sit here this morning.  Oceanside played a great game - beat us fair and square.  Go ahead and look back at some old stories of games and if I'm asked about our opponent, I think I credit their play most of the time.  But, once again - what you see in the story that is printed is not the entire interview that took place after the game.  And no . . . I am not criticizing Mark Haskell, or any other writers of stories . . . that's the way it's done.  They ask questions, and then put in quotes that fit the story that they are writing.

Jeff Hart

Posted by: Tena Wallace | Feb 08, 2013 10:38

Boy it would be nice...just once....for Coach Hart to recognize the talent of another team instead of making it sound like the only reason the opponent won is because Camden "had a bad game" ugh!

Posted by: Deborah Dyer | Feb 08, 2013 08:51

Any one not at this game missed a thriller!  What a pleasure it has been to watch the two Oceanside varsity teams this year.  The maturity of the players is amazing.  On to the Mecca!!!!

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