PORTLAND – Jack Cutler couldn’t quite put his finger on it. It might have been the silent warmup, thanks to a public-address system on the fritz, or maybe it was the frigid temperatures outside.
Either way, one thing was for sure: Cutler and his Waynflete teammates didn’t get off to the kind of start they envisioned.
But the end was what really mattered and for the Flyers, that meant a 70-52 victory against Hyde in a schoolboy basketball game Thursday night.
“We came out a little flat,” Cutler said after scoring 18 points. “Starting fast is something we have tried to do all season, so a sluggish start wasn’t what we were expecting but we handled it well.”
It wasn’t like the Flyers (12-1), ranked third in Western Class C, meandered out of the gate and dug themselves into a large hole. Waynflete actually led 13-12 after the first quarter, thanks in part to a Hyde team that failed to convert on a number of opportunities.
The Phoenix (10-1), the top-ranked team in Western Class D who saw their quest for an unbeaten season end, missed three straight layups and went 0 of 6 from the line in the opening period.
“We played them tough through the first quarter,” said Hyde Coach Peter Rowe. “I thought if we made some free throws and made some layups, we would have been up by seven or eight after the first.”
The Flyers went on a 14-2 run to open the second quarter and added an 8-2 surge to close it out to blow the game open. Waynflete outscored Hyde 24-8 in the quarter for a 37-20 halftime lead.
The dominating period displayed Waynflete’s depth — six players scored. Serge Nyirikamba and Joey Schnier keyed the offense with six points each in the quarter, and Cutler, who delivered a balanced performance with nine points in each half, added five.
“Our depth is not typical to the extent that I’ve had with teams in the past,” said Waynflete Coach Rich Henry, in his ninth season.
“This year we have eight or nine guys that can play, and some younger kids who are going to be pretty good players. So right now it’s a matter of working them into the game and into the flow.”
The Flyers received offense from a different source to open the second half and build on their lead. Max Belleau scored all eight of his points in the first three minutes of the third period as Waynflete pushed its advantage to 47-25.
Waynflete led 57-33 after three quarters.
Nyirikamba added 17 points for the Flyers, who had nine players score.
Ryan Cassidy scored 21 points and Warsame Mohammed added 14 for the Phoenix.