BOSTON, Mass. — The Midcoast Elite ninth-grade boys basketball team has realized court success at every level — including nationally.

And the team’s latest net gain came on Saturday and Sunday, June 12-13 at the Zero Gravity national championship tournament, an event in which the local squad finished runners-up among teams from 30 states.

The young athletes from the Midcoast did not disappoint as they advanced to the championship game before running of gas and losing in the second half to talented Team New England, said Brad Galley of MCE.

In the first game on Saturday morning, MCE bested SECC of Springfield, Mass. 67-41.

The game was tight much of the first half as SECC played tenacious defense and employed fullcourt pressure. However, sharp-shooting MCE caught fire late in the first half and pulled away to an easy victory. Leading MCE was Carter Galley with 20 points; Mason Desjardins and Zach McLaughlin, 14; Cohen Galley, 12; and Connor Sides, seven.

In the next game, MCE squared off against the Upstate All Stars from Syracuse, N.Y. The All Stars jumped to a 7-0 lead as their front line, which featured players 6 feet 5 inches and 6-4, crashed the boards, but once the gritty court athletes from Maine caught their breath they moved the ball around and connected on deep three-pointers, which opened the middle for easy penetration baskets, and, eventually, a 66-38 victory.

For Midcoast, Zach McLaughlin tallied 14 points; Mason Desjardins and Cohen Galley, 12; Carter Galley, eight; and Josh Vallee, Connor Sides and Wyatt Evensen, six.

The win put the scrappy team from the coast of Maine in first in their pool heading into Sunday morning’s final pool-play game against the Queens Defenders from New York City.

Despite the 8 a.m. tipoff, MCE came out as if it had several cups of espresso for breakfast and jumped to a 20-point halftime lead. The Defenders failed to wake up in the second half and MCE cruised to a 71-47 win. Leading the locals were Zach McLaughlin with 18 points; Mason Desjardins, 16; Connor Sides, 14; and Wyatt Evensen, 10.

The win assured Midcoast Elite advanced to the playoffs, where it faced tall-and-talented Bakers Hoops from Philadelphia, Pa. later Sunday afternoon.

The game again got off to a fast start for Maine as Evensen connected on three quick layups coming out of the team’s patented and effective 1-3-1 pressure defense. The team from Philadelphia seemed shocked that a much smaller team was so aggressive and before it knew it Bakershoop faced a 20-point deficit. To the surprise of everyone in the gym not from Maine, Brad Galley said, MCE held on for the win 58-33.

Carter Galley tallied 18 points, with four three-pointers; Zach McLaughlin, added 14 points; Mason Desjardins, 12 points; Cohen Galley, eight points and seven assists; Connor Sides, eight points; and Ben Tripp, six rebounds

The win catapulted MCE to the national final four where it faced tough New Hampshire Longhorns, which featured a 6-9 center. Midcoast trailed early, but battled back to take the advantage at halftime and pulled away for the 63-46 win.

Mason Desjardins led with 14 points, followed by Cohen Galley and Zach McLaughlin with 12; Carter Galley, 10; Connor Sides, eight; and Zeb Foster, four. Josh Vallee also grabbed seven rebounds despite giving up six inches to the Longhorns’ center.

In the championship game, MCE fourth contest of the day, the local youth battled hard against Team New England, but fell behind 18-4 out of the gate. MCE came back to take a one-point edge, but trailed by three at halftime.

The back-to-back games caught up with MCE and it ran out of steam losing a “winnable” game 82-51, Brad Galley said. MCE scored 12 points in the second half, their lowest output in a half this season.

Scoring for Elite were Zach McLaughlin with 14 points; Connor Sides 12; and Mason Desjardins and Wyatt Evensen, eight.

“The deep run was very impressive for a small program that has only been in existence for two years,” said Brad Galley. “They beat other programs that were much larger and from much bigger cities all over the East Coast on the way to the runner-up status. This group has gotten better every year and big things are expected from them over the next few years.”

MaineStay Media/VillageSoup sports staff can be reached by email at