By Nathaniel Ford
FARMINGTON – It’s not every day a Division IV team faces a team from Division I, and it’s even more rare to see the team from the top division fall, especially at a stage like The Bash.
That is exactly what happened today. The Profile Patriots took down the Windham Jaguars 59-51 to advance to the championship game.
This statement victory came just a day after the Patriots took down Coe-Brown, a tough Division II team. Profile actually played Windham prior to this matchup at the Rivier Fall League. “We beat them twice. It’s tough to beat a team three times,” said head coach Mitchell Roy. But, his Patriots did just that.
This experience coming into such a big matchup is huge. Both teams knew what to expect from the other, and they could gameplan for that.
“We just tried to slow the game down with our zone defense,” said Roy. Profile is a team that can score a lot of points. They usually play fast in transition and outscore teams, but they didn’t think they could win today playing like that.
The first quarter was a battle. From the jump, Windham was playing aggressive defense on Josh Robie. He was being denied the ball and was run off the three-point line. The 26 PPG scorer is a threat, and he was being treated as one.
Both teams hit some timely shots to prevent any big runs from happening. Windham connected on three triples from beyond the arc, but Profile hung on and battled. When the buzzer sounded, it was a 14-10 lead for the Jaguars after one.
Profile flipped a switch in the second quarter, and they started to control the game. A big factor in this was foul trouble for the Jaguars. Caden Bouchard and Jack Begley each had two fouls, and both were on the bench for the majority of the quarter.
Profile capitalized on this and went on a huge 7-0 run in the second. They had great energy from both the bench and the players on the court. Windham’s Sam Roidoulis recorded a technical foul, and shortly following, Josh Robie had an electric and-one basket in transition.
Things were falling right for Profile, and they entered halftime leading 29-24. A big contributor for them was Cayden Wakeham. He provided a spark in their offense, finishing a couple of huge baskets to give them momentum.
“Cayden Wakeham has grown a lot as a player, as a person. I couldn’t be more proud of him. He’s a third guy we can rely on to throw the ball to and get a basket,” said Roy.
It looked like Profile might blow the game open in the third quarter. They jumped to a quick 7-0, forcing a Windham timeout and extending their lead to 12 points, the largest of the game.
Windham didn’t panic, and they strung together an 8-0 run of their own behind great defense in their full court press. This cut the lead to three, and both teams traded baskets for the rest of the quarter. Profile kept their lead, and they entered the fourth up 45-41.
The crowd at Farmington was as loud as they have been the whole tournament, and Profile had won them over. The players were hustling, the bench had energy, and the crowd loved it. This was a big factor in the Patriots’ win and their ability to keep their momentum.
Windham needed to score, and that did not happen early, suffering a two minute scoring drought to open the quarter. Profile played amazing defense, and a huge Josh Robie three-pointer gave Profile a seven point lead.
The Jaguars bounced right back with two steals off their press, and cut the lead to one possession in the blink of an eye. Profile responded, knocking down a couple of free throws, getting some big baskets inside, and extending their lead back to seven points.
Windham had some looks late but could not capitalize. The Patriots stayed composed and came away with a 59-51 victory in this massive semi finals win.
Profile has had incredible success both in Division IV and in The Bash. “They expect this. They put in work year round,” said Roy.
Following the loss, Windham’s first ever appearance at The Bash comes to an end. Profile once again advances to the championship game tomorrow at 2:30 and plays the winner of Sanborn vs. Derryfield.
“Last year we lost in the finals of this tournament. It’s one of their goals: to win The Bash. To us, it means something,” said Roy. They’ve been hungry since losing in the championship last year, and they are now right back where they were last year. This time, they look to come with the victory.