Since the third second of the game, Calais held a lead and never came close to giving it up, cruising to an 80-49 victory in the Class C North boys basketball championship game over Fort Kent.
The Blue Devils will face the Class C South winner No. 1 Dirigo in the final on Saturday at 8:45 p.m.
No. 2 Fort Kent ends its season with a 16-5 record.
“It’s surreal,” Calais coach Dean Preston said. “High school basketball is the biggest show in Maine and our kids live and breathe this. To be able to have this opportunity and come together as a team, I am proud as heck of them and they are so excited and it’s great to see.”
Jace Cook recovered the opening tip, turned and shot a 3-pointer from the left wing that went in as the clock hit 7:57. Cook added four more points in the first quarter.
The 3-pointer from Calais’ 1,000-point scorer was just the start to what would turn out to be an overwhelming victory for the Blue Devils.
“It was awesome,” Cook said of his start. “It was a confidence booster that got us into the game and we never looked back from there.”
Jacob Sockabasin scored four points, blocked three shots and grabbed four rebounds in the first quarter as the Blue Devils took a 19-5 lead into the second.
Fort Kent struggled from the field again in the second quarter, scoring just seven points against a smothering Calais defense.
On Calais, Kaden Small and Cook poured in five points each in the second quarter while Sockabasin and Jeremy Turner added four points each. At the half, the Blue Devils led the Warriors 39-12.
After struggling from the field in the first half, the Warriors started to find their stroke in the third. Fort Kent went on an 8-0 run midway through the third that was capped off by a layup from Lance Gagnon to make it a 50-28 ballgame.
Ethan Daigle, Ethan Raymond and Gagnon all scored four each in the third for Fort Kent, while Keegan Cyr added six in the frame.
Fort Kent scored 20 points in the third but Calais scored 22.
“We have this word, it’s called ‘Relentless,’” Preston said. “We want to be relentless on both ends and win each quarter. We don’t care if it’s by 21 or one, we want to win. The kids keep track of that and it’s a good thing because the kids don’t get complacent.”
Cyr paced the Warriors with 14, while Daigle had 10 points.
“We knew that Daigle kid, we watched him go off and we knew he was a problem,” Cook said. “We did a box-and-one with him and put our best defender on him, Jacob [Sockabasin], and also Alex [Richard], we defended him well.”
Still, Saturday was all Calais. With 1:55 left, Sockabasin blocked his fifth shot of the game and found Richard on an outlet pass, who then made a smooth slip pass to Evan Gillespie who scored and was fouled, making the free throw for the old-fashioned three-point play. Gillespie finished the game with 14 points, all coming in the second half.
“These kids fill their role,” Preston said. “They are proud to have their role. When you have a role, go out and do the best dang job you can do instead of being somebody else. They all thrive in that role and they’re proud of it and they love to see that stat sheet grow. If it’s their job to rebound they are going to be the best dang rebounders out there.”
The Blue Devils dominated all game long with Cook leading the way with 20 points and Sockabasin adding in 12 points and 13 boards.
“It’s awesome,” Cook said. “I love those guys. It feels awesome.”