2018-03-12 / Sports

Morse Unified falls short, 47-46

Westbrook holds off ’Builders in quarterfinals
BY ERIC MAXIM
The Times Record


THE MORSE HIGH SCHOOL Unified team gathers before a quarterfinal game against Westbrook on Friday afternoon. 
ERIC MAXIM /. THE TIMES RECORD THE MORSE HIGH SCHOOL Unified team gathers before a quarterfinal game against Westbrook on Friday afternoon. ERIC MAXIM /. THE TIMES RECORD WESTBROOK

Floric Missamou hit a basket and the ensuing free throw with 7.7-seconds remaining to lift Westbrook over Morse in high school Unified basketball quarterfinal action on Friday.

Westbrook led only one other time in the contest before the eventual game-winning points from Missamou.

“To be in a competitive game and feel that competition, it’s a feel good sport, and the kids rose to the occasion,” said Morse coach Becky Roak. “I’m very proud of them.”

Morse, the 10th seed, defeated No. 7 Deering, 43-36 on Tuesday before finishing the season on Friday with a record of 6-4.

No. 2 Westbrook (8-0) will host to Lewiston to play the No. 3 Blue Devils (7-2) in a South regional semifinal match.

The Shipbuilders started the game with a loose energy that began on the bus ride from Bath.


MORSE HIGH SCHOOL’S Zoe Walker (14, top photo) goes up for a shot against Westbrook on Friday. Above, Shipbuilder Brandon Barone, who had 20 points, looks to the basket. 
ERIC MAXIM / THE TIMES RECORD MORSE HIGH SCHOOL’S Zoe Walker (14, top photo) goes up for a shot against Westbrook on Friday. Above, Shipbuilder Brandon Barone, who had 20 points, looks to the basket. ERIC MAXIM / THE TIMES RECORD “Today’s bus ride was different than the others,” said Roak. “They had music playing, getting pumped up for the game and the atmosphere. They were all huddled in a group to see what they were playing next. They were pretty loose and having fun.”

That “looseness” translated into early success. Brandon Barone got the Shipbuilders off on the right foot, leading Morse on an 8-2 run to begin the game. Barone scored the visitor’s first 10 points, while Westbrook’s Mark Preston netted the Blazes’ first seven as Morse held a 10- 7 lead eight minutes into the contest.

“ It’s not about all the shots, it’s about the team effort,” said Barone, complimenting his teammates getting him the ball. “ Whether it’s scoring a basket or getting someone the ball, we do it all as a team.”

Morse kept Westbrook at arm’s length throughout the half, maintaining its lead, as many as nine late in the half before heading into the halftime break with a 24- 19 lead. Barone led all scorers with 12 first-half points, including a basket from behind the 3- point arc. The senior also had three steals in the opening frame. Teammate Ben Hinds chipped in with six points, three rebounds and three blocks in the first 20 minutes.

Westbrook was led by Preston’s 11 points, followed by Matthew Fecteau’s four.

Second half

An 8- 2 run, all by Morse’s Keegan Companion, extended the Shipbuilder lead to 32-21 minutes into the second half.

Westbrook chipped away at the lead to cut the deficit to 32-31 and threatened to take its first lead, but a hook shot from Hinds with 12 minutes remaining pushed the lead back out to three.

Matthew Ricks scored all 10 of his points in the second half, including back- to- back hoops with nine minutes remaining to give the Blue Blazes their first lead of the afternoon, 37-36.

The lead did not last long, as a putback from Companion gave the Shipbuilders the lead again. Barone netted a pair of baskets while Companion grabbed another offensive rebound and tapped in a layup for Morse as the Shipbuilders took a seemingly comfortable five-point lead, 44-39 with four minutes remaining.

“ They were phenomenal all game, they didn’t give up,” said Roak of her team’s effort. “ Our five-man rotations kept them (Westbrook) on their toes. They played their hearts out and did everything we asked.”

Each team traded baskets before Westbrook’s Kevin Trynor sank a 3- pointer in front of his team’s bench to pull the Blazes within two, 46- 44 with a minute remaining.

After the Shipbuilders successfully took some time off the clock, Westbrook forced a turnover with 18 seconds left. Moments later, Missamou completed a three- point play for a one-point lead.

Morse was unable to either tie or win the game in the final seconds, thus ending its season.

“ We did play our best today. This is relatively a new sport to all of us and we love it,” said Barone, who finished with a game-high 20 points. “We have a great time, I just love seeing these kids happy. The Shipbuilder pride never dies with us. We all had the best time no matter what, Westbrook is a great team and I’m glad we got to play here today.”

Companion registered 14 points, followed by Hinds’ eight, while Courtney Boucher and Isaac Smith each had a basket in the loss.

“ I told everyone we tried our best and did what we could,” said Companion. “I told my teammates its been an honor playing with all of them and I hope to play with some of them again next year.”

In its first year of Unified basketball for Morse, the season was something to build upon as the kids had fun regardless of the outcome.

“Absolutely, i t ’ s so much fun,” said Roak when asked about the team afterwards and if they had fun. “These kids have had an opportunity they have never had and its something they will always have.

“It’s been fabulous as a coach to see the growth in the kids and see that confidence, confidence that has built throughout the season. It’s just been amazing, I’m so proud of them,” added a smiling Roak.

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