STANDISH — Bonny Eagle is known as a strong 3-point shooting team, and its last three games have certainly validated that belief.
But even the Scots are a little amazed at their current streak.
Bonny Eagle (14-1) canned 16 3-pointers, eight in each half, to overwhelm Thornton Academy 88-52 in an SMAA boys’ basketball game Friday night.
The game featured the third- and fifth-ranked teams in Western Class A. A couple early steals at midcourt got the Scots rolling, and then their 3-point shooting took over.
The Scots have made 51 shots from beyond the arc in their last three games, including a school-record 18 last week against Scarborough.
Bonny Eagle’s 3-point prowess was never more evident than in the third quarter. Reserve Connor Gibson entered the game and hit a 3 from the corner, and then Nate Schopen came off the bench and sank another 3-pointer.
The Bonny Eagle starters were already bombing away in their customary style. Ben Malloy finished with five 3-pointers. Nate Alexander had three, and Dustin Cole and Nick Dubay had two apiece.
Cole led all scorers with 22 points.
Thornton Academy (7-6) scored the game’s first basket on a drive by Quinn Richardson-Newton, but it was all Bonny Eagle after that as the Scots quickly got into their shooting form.
Bonny Eagle led 23-11 after one quarter and 46-23 at halftime. Cole had 16 points in the first half, highlighted by stretch where he scored eight straight points.
Even by Bonny Eagle shooting standards, this recent run has been pretty spectacular. No doubt a motivating factor for the Scots was their 69-60 loss to Portland on Jan. 14.
“When they’re shooting this way, it’s fun to watch,” said Coach Phil Bourassa.
“We’ve done a better job of moving the ball around in the last three games. The kids have confidence in what they’re trying to do. When that happens, you want them to shoot it. Fifty-one 3-pointers in the last three games is pretty remarkable.”
Bourassa called the loss to Portland “a reality check.”
“Losing to Portland sparked us,” he said.
“We’ve been putting up 90 points since, and our defense has been great. In football, we lost to Thornton Academy and then went on a roll. It would be great if the same thing could happen in basketball. No one likes to lose.”
Malloy, who played a key as a wide receiver for Bonny Eagle’s Class A football state championship team, has been on target with his shooting.
“I got hot at the stat of the season, then I had a cold streak, but now I’ve started to heat up again,” he said. “I’ve been getting in the gym more to take extra shots. We’ve just had excellent ball movement in the last three games. It helps when you are wide open. If the shot isn’t there right away, usually one more swing of the ball does it.”
Malloy led the Scots with eight points in the opening quarter. He finished with 18.
“Ben has been doing so much more,” said Bourassa. “Defensively, he always guards the biggest and best player. He’s great on the glass.
“I think it took him a little bit to get into basketball after football. He’s really playing well for us.”
Malloy would agree. Besides Malloy, there are five other team members who played football.
“We had one day between the state championship in football and basketball tryouts,” he said.
Quinn Richardson-Newton led Thornton with 15 points. The Golden Trojans are in a logjam in the middle of the Western Class A Heal point standings but are expected to make the tournament. A year ago, Thornton lost in the regionals semifinals after knocking off Deering in the quarterfinals.
NOTE: In a pregame ceremony, Cole was recognized for being nominated for the 37th annual McDonald’s All-America game, which will be played April 2 in Chicago. Cole, who will finish his career as Class A’s second all-time leading scorer, is one of 984 players nationwide to be nominated. A total of 24 players will be selected. The McDonald’s All-American team will be announced at 6 p.m. Jan. 29 on ESPNU.
McDonald’s owners from Westbrook and Windham presented Cole with a plaque signifying his achievement.
Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at: