There is nothing like a back-and-forth, down-to-the-wire championship game — that is decided by a buzzer-beating 3-pointer, no less — to get the competitive and emotional juices flowing for players, coaches and fans.

No. 1 Medomak Middle School and No. 3 Troy Howard Middle School of Belfast certainly provided that in spades in the Busline League large school division boys eighth-grade basketball title clash on Saturday, Jan. 26 at Medomak Middle School.

In the end, the Riverhawks (11-1) outdueled the Lions (7-4) in delicious midday smorgasbord of frenzied fun, up-and-down the court middle school basketball.

Medomak pulled out the heart-pumping 40-37 victory when, with the game knotted 37-37, Kevin Sincyr, a left-hander, drilled a 3-pointer at the final buzzer to lift the Riverhawks to the exciting victory.

The Riverhawks led 11-9 at the end of the first quarter before the Lions grabbed a 20-19 halftime edge. Medomak pulled back in front 33-27 after three stanzas.

It was the second of four title games at the venue on Saturday.

Watch video and see more photos below from the championship game.

Click to see many other photos and results.

Click to see many other photos and results.

Click to see many other photos and results.

Medomak, coached by Micah Williamson, includes Kevin Sincyr, Tucker Holgerson, Hayden Staples, Gaitlin Bedenik, Noah Lawrence, Blake Morrison, Will Cheesman, Wyatt Simmons, Gavin Clark, Isaac Simmons, Finn Parmley, Jaiden Starr, Matthew Holbrook, Devon Secotte and Ivan Murphy.

Troy Howard, coached by Matt McConnell, includes Jerry Porter, Holden Nichols, Bobby Banks, Patrick McConnell, Zeke Slaughter, Eli Slaughter, James Ritter, K.J. Payson, Hagen Chase, Zack Sanderson, Liam McConnell and Casey Balicki.

It essentially was, at times, a two-player show for the Riverhawks as Morrison tallied 15 points and Sincyr 13. Cheesman added six and Holbrook and Parmley four. The 'Hawks netted 2-of-10 free throws (20 percent) and two 3-pointers, from Morrison and, of course, Sincyr.

For the Lions, Patrick McConnell was a snarling court beast as he finished with 20 points. Liam McConnell added 11 points, while Payson, Porter and Slaughter added two. The Lions netted 5-of-9 foul shots (56 percent) and two treys, one from each McConnell.

The 32-minute contest was highly-competitive from the opening tip to final buzzer. In the first quarter, Sincyr tallied eight points and Morrison hit a 3-pointer to give the Riverhawks an 11-9 edge. Patrick McConnell paced the Lions with six points in the stanza.

In the second stanza, the Lions outscored the Riverhawks 11-8, as Patrick McConnell scored five points and Liam McConnell four. For Medomak, Morrison tallied four points to lead the way in the frame.

The Riverhawks used an 8-2 run early in the quarter to build a solid 19-11 lead, but Troy Howard battled back with a 9-0 burst. With 4.3 seconds left, Patrick McConnell converted a conventional three-point play to give the Lions a one-point edge at the break.

The Riverhawks scored the first four points of the third quarter and gained a little separation with 14 in stanza, as Morrison had six points and Holbrook four. Liam McConnell had five points for the Lions.

In the thrilling final eight minutes, the Lions clawed back but, ultimately, fell three points short. Patrick McConnell tallied seven points to key Troy Howard, while Sincyr had five points, including his clutch, game-winning trey, for Medomak.

In the fourth, Patrick McConnell hit a shot in the lane with 1:24 left to cut the Riverhawk advantage to 37-36. Payson made 1-of-2 free throws to tie the game 37-37 and then a turnover by the Lions gave the Riverhawks a chance for late-game heroics. Sincyr drilled his top-of-the-key, buzzer-beating 3-pointer to seal the victory for Medomak.

"Honestly, I thought it was going to be all backboard, it felt like a super hard shot," Sincyr said of his game-deciding attempt. "And, I don't know, it is just crazy. I was shocked, I don't even know. It was crazy."

The youngster said it feels "amazing" to hit the game-winning shot to help his team win the league championship.

Coach Williamson said the plan at the end of the game was to run the clock down to about 10 seconds and pass inside to Morrison, who had a strong all-around game. Morrison got the ball, but missed his shot and the Riverhawks grabbed the crucial rebound. Holbrook secured the ball, passed to Cheesman who, after feeling pressure from the Lion defense, passed to an open Sincyr who "had ice in his veins, I guess," the coach said, and hit the shot. "It was wild."

The coach said the shot initially looked too strong and perhaps long. "I felt like it had potential to go in and when it went through the hoop I was just so happy for [the players]. That is just unreal. They will never forget that. That was amazing. I will never forget that."

The final regular-season boys eighth-grade standings were: Medomak 9-1, Oceanside 9-1, Troy Howard 5-3, Camden-Rockport 3-6, Boothbay 2-8 and Great Salt Bay 1-9. Medomak and Oceanside receive byes.

In the single-elimination playoffs, No. 3 Troy Howard defeated No. 6 Great Salt Bay 79-40, No. 5 Boothbay beat No. 4 Camden-Rockport, No. 3 Troy Howard defeated No. 2 Oceanside and No. 1 Medomak bested No. 5 Boothbay.

The large school division, which includes seventh- and eighth-grade boys and girls teams, includes Oceanside of Thomaston, Camden-Rockport, Medomak of Waldoboro, Troy Howard of Belfast, Boothbay Region and Great Salt Bay of Damariscotta.

Courier Publications' sports staff can be reached by email at sports@villagesoup.com or by phone at 594-4401.