AUGUSTA, Maine — Nick Gilpin has been nothing if not an unselfish basketball player during his high school career at Hampden Academy — as evidenced by his 501 career assists through the end of his final regular season.

But the Broncos’ All-Maine senior guard also has an assertive side, one not only good for more than 1,000 career points but a 34-point explosion that propelled the undefeated defending state champions to a 63-47 victory over Skowhegan in their Class A North quarterfinal at the Augusta Civic Center Saturday night.

“He was real assertive offensively and we kind of needed him to be tonight,” said Hampden coach Russ Bartlett, whose four-time defending regional title holders now have 15 consecutive postseason wins at the ACC.

“No one else played great on the offensive end and I didn’t think we got [center] Ian [McIntyre] enough touches near the hoop, but at the same point I thought our shot selection was good. We just didn’t have a lot of other guys making shots tonight.”

Top-ranked Hampden (19-0) will face No. 5 Oceanside of Rockland-Thomaston in Wednesday night’s semifinals. Oceanside (14-5) defeated No. 4 Messalonskee of Oakland 64-51 in its quarterfinal.

The 6-foot-3 Gilpin made 13 of 22 attempts from the field against Skowhegan, marking only the second time in four years as a varsity starter he has taken more than 20 shots in a game.

Three of those field goals came during the game’s first 1 minute, 56 seconds as he scored a layup off the opening tip and followed with two drives good for three-point plays to give Hampden an 8-0 lead.

Gilpin also had 10 assists, six rebounds and three steals for the Broncos, who led 19-7 after the first quarter and 40-25 at halftime.

“Nick seems to have a pretty good feel for when he needs to be assertive,” Bartlett said. “It was nothing I ever said to him but I was comfortable with the shots he took tonight and we needed them all.”

McIntyre added eight points, 11 rebounds and three blocked shots for the Broncos, while his older brother Brendan McIntyre saw his first action after missing several games due to a microfracture of his ankle. The All-Maine senior forward, cleared to return to action Thursday, played briefly late in each half.

“I was hoping to see him run up and down a little bit and I got to see that,” Bartlett said. “Obviously, he’s pretty tender still, but with two more days of practice we’ll see where he’s at on Wednesday.”

Sophomore guard Cameron Barnes paced Skowhegan (9-10) with 15 points, while the Indians’ 1,000-point scorer Isaac Witham added 11.

Junior guard Brendan Curran contributed nine points, including two drives early in the third quarter that pulled coach Tom Nadeau’s club within 42-33.

Gilpin answered that threat immediately, igniting a 10-2 Hampden run by taking a pass from Jake Black and driving to the rim for a three-point play and then making a jumper from the right of the key.

Moments later, Gilpin capped off that run with a thunderous two-handed slam dunk to make it 52-35.

In the other quarterfinal, Keenan Hendricks scored 16 of his 21 points in the second half to help Oceanside pull away from Messalonskee.

Nate Raye and Sam Atwood each chipped in 11 points for Oceanside.

Nathan Violette paced Messalonskee with 17 points, and James Lathrop added 14.


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Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...