2015-03-06 / Front Page

Dream comes true for Cape boys’ basketball

By Michael Kelley
Staff Writer

PORTLAND — Members of the Cape Elizabeth boys’ basketball team have spent years dreaming of bringing the Class B gold ball back to Cape Elizabeth High School to display in perpetuity. No one, however, could have imagined winning it the way the Capers did against the Medomak Valley High School Panthers last Friday at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland.

Cape Elizabeth came into the game 18-3, suffering losses to Yarmouth High School (16-4), Lake Region High School (15-6) and Falmouth High School (17-4), which lost to Portland High School in the Class A regional final. Medomak Valley only lost to Morse High School (13-6) and Winslow High School (18-3) in the regular season.

Down 42-37 with less than a minute to go, Cape Elizabeth, through heads-up play and a never-say-die attitude, was able to squeak out a 44-42 win, thanks to an end-of-the-game reverse layup from senior guard Ethan Murphy, who led Cape Elizabeth in scoring with 13 points,

Cape Elizabeth led 34-29 going into the fourth quarter, but Medomak Valley was able to go on a 10-point run, bringing the score to 39-34 with three minutes to go. Cape Elizabeth fought back over the next two minutes and trailed 42 to 37 with 52 seconds to go in the game when freshman guard Finn Bowe hit a three-point shot.

Junior guard Jack O’Rourke tied the game 42-42 with a field goal jumper with less than half a minute to go. After a missed basket by Medomak Valley with only seconds on the clock, senior forward Eddie Galvin hit Murphy, his fellow cocaptain, with a perfect pass. Murphy broke for the basket with less than three seconds in the game and secured a victory Cape Elizabeth players will remember for a long time.

“You couldn’t have scripted it any better,”

“Eddie Galvin to Ethan Murphy to win the state championship.”

The game was Cape Elizabeth’s sixth appearance in the Class B final, but the first time since 1988 that the team was victorious. Cape Elizabeth lost in the finals in 1967, 2008, 2009 and 2011. It was Medomak Valley’s fifth appearance in the Class B championship. The team won in 1977, but lost in 1975, 1979 and 2013.

“I don’t think there is a better way to win,” said junior forward Justin Guerette. “It was an incredible game. It was the first time we won in 27 years. I am glad we were able to get coach (James) Ray his first championship.”

Ray, a 2013 inductee in the New England Basketball Hall of Fame, has been leading the Cape Elizabeth boys’ basketball team for more than 20 years.

“It’s the happiest moment of my life,” said O’Rourke, who scored 11 points, including three 3-point shots. “I love my team and I love the captains. They led us to victory. It was a great experience.”

The victory, Guerette said, was a total team effort and a hard-fought battle.

“We can’t knock Medomak. They played hard the whole way,” Guerette added.

With Cape Elizabeth in the western conference and Medomak Valley in the eastern conference, the two teams never faced each other this season and only have scouting reports and some video to rely on.

“We came out not worrying about what they were going to do. We wanted to play our game. It could have gone either way and whoever played better is going to come out with a win,” Guerette said.

Although his team did not play its best brand of basketball, Ray was impressed with his players’ determination for victory.

“It’s been a constant work in progress for us. I don’t think we played our best basketball, but for us to find a way to win says something about our character,” Ray said.

The boys’ basketball title is the fourth championship Cape Elizabeth has won this school year. Earlier this month, the boys’ swim team and girls’ alpine skiing teams won Class B titles and in November, the volleyball team won the Class A state championship over Falmouth High School.

Return to top