Rangers race past Old Orchard By Dan Doyon
KITTERY, Maine — Jeremy Paul feels that his Traip Academy boys basketball team has the potential and the pieces to win games in a variety of ways.
After a disappointing 4-13 campaign last year, the Rangers gave their coach a promising start to the season.
Traip never trailed in its Western Maine Class C season opener against Old Orchard Beach High School on Friday night, but the Rangers held off a fourth-quarter rally by the Seagulls for a 74-62 victory. Joe Cavanaugh came off the bench to lead the Rangers with 14 points, as six different Rangers scored in double figures.
“We made it way more exciting than it had to be, but I expect nothing less when we play these guys; we always get good games out of each other,” Paul said. “I just told then when we play with composure and we use our heads, it’s fun to watch.”
Traip (1-0) led 58-42 before Old Orchard Beach guard Eric Hogan (game-high 25 points) scored the final seven points of the third quarter to close the gap to 58-49. Rangers’ center Daniel Tokarz gave the Rangers a 12-point cushion with five minutes left in the fourth, when hoops by Andrew Graves and Zach Hirst were sandwiched around an Evan Christiansen 3-pointer to trim Traip’s lead to 63-58.
With the momentum shifted to the Seagulls (0-1), the Rangers needed to a lift. Alex Foye provided it by draining his third 3-pointer of the game to give Traip a 66-58 lead with 2:49 left in the fourth.
“It’s just good to get into a rhythm and when it starts going in, it feels good,” Foye said. “Through tryouts and practice I couldn’t really get into a rhythm, but in Wednesday’s scrimmage it started to click.”
Foye added a putback to give Traip a 68-60 lead with 1:40 left in the game and finished with 11 points off the bench.
“That’s what he does,” Paul said. “From the middle of the summer and on, he struggled with his shot. He hit a big 3-pointer in one of our preseason games and it has got him going. When he’s shooting with confidence we want him on the court.”
Traip forced seven turnovers in the first quarter and jumped out to a 13-4 lead after Angelo Succi (12 points) found Colin Macomber. Josh Schneier scored eight of his 12 points in the quarter to give the Rangers a 24-11 lead.
The Rangers continued to use their transition game in the second, and back-to-back 3-pointers from Cavanaugh and Foye gave the Rangers a 34-18 lead; Old Orchard Beach cut its deficit to 40-33 at halftime.
“They got out of the gate fast, they ran floor well and they converted. They had 40 points at halftime and that’s way too much for us to give up defensively,” Old Orchard Beach coach John Regan said. “I thought we used a lot of energy getting back into it and we just weren’t able to get over that seven-, eight-, nine-point margin.”
Traip was able to run the floor and connected on eight 3-pointers, but Tokarz gave the Rangers plenty of chances by grabbing 14 rebounds. The 6-foot-5 Tokarz added 11 points and he’ll be looked upon to continue his progression.
“Being the only big man, I’m going to have to put in a lot more work and it’s paid off so far,” Tokarz said. “I think we’ve got a lot of potential this year. I think we can make some noise.”
The Rangers will travel to Class D North Yarmouth on Tuesday.
“We moved the ball and the shots we wanted to,” Paul said. “Tonight being our first game experience, it was a good steppingstone for us.”
OLD ORCHARD BEACH (62)
Custeau 2-1-5, Christensen 7-0-15, Anderson 1-0-2, Hogan 8-6-25, Hirst 4-1-9, Graves 2-0-4. Totals: 24-8-62.
Schneier 4-1-12, Macomber 5-0-10, Tokarz 5-1-11, Succi 5-2-12, Pelkey 2-0-4, Cavanaugh 5-2-14, Foye 4-0-11. Totals: 30-6-73.
Old Orchard Beach 11 22 16 13—62
Traip 24 16 18 16—74
3-point goals: Old Orchard Beach 6: Hogan 3, Hirst 2, Christiansen; Traip 8: Schneir 3, Foye 3, Cavanaugh 2. Fouled out—none.