Sunday, May 19, 2013
Mike McGee coached basketball for 31 years at Lawrence High School, the last 28 as boys varsity head coach. He retired with 350 wins, five Eastern Class A titles and two state championships, in 1990 and 1994.
CHEERING THE BULLDOGS: Lawrence coach Mike McGee celebrates as time runs out at the end of game against Edward Little in the Eastern Class A semifinals last month at the Augusta Civic Center. Lawrence beat Edward Little and moved onto the regional final against Hampden, which the Broncos won on a last-second 30-foot shot.
Staff file photo by Joe Phelan
WINNING WAYS: Lawrence boys basketball coach Mike McGee retired with 350 wins, five Eastern Maine Class A titles and two state championships.
Staff photo by David Leaming
Early in the 2012-13 season, McGee announced this season would be his last. His Bulldogs reached the Eastern Class A championship game, where they lost to Hampden Academy, 50-49, on a buzzer-beating shot by Nick Gilpin.
Recently, McGee sat down with me and talked about his career. We began the discussion by talking about the closing seconds of the Eastern Maine final.
Travis Lazarczyk: Have you watched the end of the (Eastern A final) game yet?
Mike McGee: Yeah, when I got home. After every game, I have to analyze anyway, no matter what the loss is. So I went home and watched it until about 2:30 in the morning. Then I watched the Maine Public Broadcasting Network (broadcast) a couple days later, and it made me feel a little bit better.
You look at it, and, do you take the timeout? I tapped the ref on the shoulder and said 'Timeout on a make.' because we were going to decide whether to foul them or not. So you ask yourself that, and you look to see where all the pieces fell in.
(Note: Lawrence's Xavier Lewis was the free throw line with a chance to give the Bulldogs a three-point lead with four seconds left. Lewis missed the free throw, and Hampden won on a 30-foot buzzer beating shot by Gilpin.)
I think it was just fate. If you were to take the timeout, which many people said you shouldn't because you're giving them a chance to set up a play. I think if you were to take the timeout, you run the risk of them taking a play, plus you hope they're taking a shot like that, anyway, only contested. That was the only difference.
TL: Take me through the last 10 seconds of that game. Zack Gilpin makes his free throws. Xavier (Lewis) comes down and makes what would have been one of the historical shots, and then, of course, Nick Gilpin.
MM: We iced Zack on the second shot, and he made it. The reason was, we said if he misses get the rebound and hold it. They're going to foul you. We had our two best foul shooters, Xavier and Spencer (Carey) in there. If he makes it, we went to a set play where Spencer takes the ball to the rim. It's like dribble drive. He likes to go to the left, so we put Xavier on the left and Nick (Noiles) on the right, and we put the (other) two guys on the baseline. That went perfect, we just left too much time. If you look at it, if (Lewis) doesn't get fouled, the game's over because Hampden has no timeouts. Once he made it, it was mayhem.
So now it comes, do we take the timeout now? Do we wait? Certainly, there was no way we were going to take our timeout then and ice him. I'm not even sure you take the timeout. I've talked to probably 50, 55 coaches since then, and almost all of them, to a tee, said you don't take a timeout at all, because they're so good, in four seconds, they're going to get a set play or a good shot off, as opposed to, they're all hanging their heads right now. They're not sure what the heck's going on. It's going to be a heave. I think, to be honest, if he would've made that shot, if I called a timeout, it would've been harder if they got something out of it as opposed to just letting them run rampant like they really did.
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