Playing its second game in as many days, one could state the previously-unbeaten and top-ranked Troy Howard Middle School boys seventh-grade basketball team ran out of gas in its Busline League championship tilt on Saturday afternoon, Jan. 27 at Camden-Rockport Middle School.

Or, depending on one's perspective, one could say No. 2 Oceanside had payback on its mind as it looked to knock off the only team to defeat them all season — namely, the Lions.

Whichever narrative one may choose, the outcome — or in this case, the final score — remained the same as the Mariners received a complete team effort in a 43-35 victory to claim the coveted championship.

When all was said and done, the Lions ended with an 11-1 mark and the Mariners 10-2.

Click for photos from the championship game.

Watch video below from championship game.

Click for middle school boys basketball photos from this season.

Team members for Oceanside of Thomaston/Rockland, coached by Ricky Jones and assisted by Dan Jacques and Roger Porter, include Alex Bartlett, Alex Collins, Hayden Jacques, Andrew Gehouskey, Isaiah Meklin, Liam Porter, Rhys Jones, Noah Burns, Duncan Natale, Logan Brazier, Jason Leclerc, Ian Erskine, Gage McIntyre, Nate Fogarty and Noah Chapin.

Team members for Troy Howard of Belfast, coached by Matt McConnell, Mike Banks and Kyle Payson, include Bobby Banks, Jeremiah Porter, Casey Balicki, K.J. Payson, Zeke Slaughter, Eli Slaughter, Zach Sanderson, Devin Secotte, Patrick McConnell, Liam McConnell and James Ritter.

In the playoffs, No. 1 Troy Howard received a first-round bye and defeated No. 5 Boothbay 45-28 in the semifinals, while No. 2 Oceanside also received a first-round bye and defeated No. 3 Medomak 58-48 in the semifinals.

All other semifinal contests were played Thursday, Jan. 25, but due to the lack of officials, Troy Howard’s semifinal playoff game with Boothbay was moved to Friday, less than 24 hours before the championship game. The title game also Troy Howard’s second lowest scoring output of the season.

In earlier playoff action, No. 3 Medomak beat No. 6 Camden-Rockport 72-26 and No. 5 Boothbay beat No. 4 Great Salt Bay of Damariscotta (score unavailable).

In Saturday’s championship tilt, Oceanside led 10-7 after the first quarter, 19-12 at halftime and 31-21 after three quarters.

Collins placed the newly-crowned champs with 15 points, while Meklin added eight; Bartlett, seven; Burns and Hayden Jacques, four; Jones and Leclerc, two; and Gehouskey, one.

Patrick McConnell led all scorers with 23 points for Troy Howard, while Ritter added eight and Porter and Liam McConnell two.

Oceanside finished 7-of-11 (64 percent) from the foul line, while Troy Howard was 6-of-15 (40 percent).

Patrick McConnell and Meklin traded multiple early baskets as Troy Howard took a 7-4 lead, but Bartlett canned a pair of free throws and a hoop off the window by Hayden Jacques gave Oceanside an early 8-7 lead.

While the game was close into the third quarter, the Mariners did not relinquish the lead again from that early point as Bartlett added to their advantage with another basket to make the score 10-7.

Collins netted eight second-half points to help Oceanside maintain a comfortable lead, but it was not until midway through the third quarter when the Mariners began to pull away.

The Lions closed the gap to 21-15 after a foul shot by Ritter, but Oceanside rattled off eight straight points after a baseline jumper by Collins, a long two-pointer from the wing by Leclerc, a hoop on the block from Burns and another basket off a fastbreak by Collins to give the Mariners their largest lead at 29-15.

Troy Howard looked to steal the momentum back after a Patrick McConnell three-point play and a floater by Porter, but Oceanside got a fadeaway basket at the buzzer by Meklin as its lead swelled to 11 points.

The regular-season standings included: Troy Howard 10-0, Oceanside 8-2, Medomak 6-4, Great Salt Bay 3-7, Boothbay 3-7 and Camden-Rockport 0-10. Troy Howard and Oceanside receive first-round byes.

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