OLD ORCHARD BEACH — It’s not uncommon on a winter afternoon when boys are crashing around inside, that someone tells them to take it outside, go for a run.
That’s exactly what Waynflete did.
The Flyers hit four 3-pointers in the third quarter to pull away for a 72-43 win over a physical Old Orchard Beach team in a Western Maine Conference basketball game Saturday.
Old Orchard (10-4) put together its first sustained run in the third quarter, making an 11-4 spurt to cut the Flyers’ lead to 47-36 with about four minutes left in the period.
The Flyers (12-2) countered with their up-tempo game, breaking out on transition and hitting three straight 3-pointers, the first by Milo Belleau (12 points) and two straight from Harry Baker-Connick (12 points, three steals, four assists), and two free throws from Serge Nyirikamba (19 points, 14 rebounds, four blocks) to close the period on an 11-2 run.
That opened a 58-38 lead, effectively ending the game.
“That was the turning point,” Old Orchard Coach John Regan said. “We cut it to 11, they hit those 3s and we got a little deflated. They shot extremely well from the outside. They can hurt you in so many ways.”
And with different styles. In the first half the Seagulls did a good job of slowing the game. Joey Gildard (22 points, 8 of 8 from the line) scored eight of Old Orchard’s 10 points in the first quarter, which ended with the Flyers up 13-10.
“I thought the first quarter went real well,” Regan said. “The pace was more conducive for us at that point. In the second quarter they got on a little bit of a roll. Serge is a tough matchup; we don’t have a guy who can cover him straight up. Our kids did as well as they could against him.”
In the second quarter, the Seagulls forced the Flyers to work the ball around for the open shot. Baker-Connick, at point, was up to the task. Waynflete outscored the Seagulls 21-11 in the quarter for a 34-21 lead.
“Harry’s the straw that stirs the drink,” Waynflete Coach Rich Henry said. “He’s graduated to the next level of play at point guard. (In the third quarter) guys started hitting shots, getting fired up and getting back into the way we play.”
That was evident.
“With this team’s athleticism,” Baker-Connick said, “the more we push, the more layups we get, the more shots we get.”
And when those 3-pointers are falling, the more energized they get.
“Oh, absolutely,” said Henry Cleaves (11 points, four rebounds.) “The crowd gets antsy, we get pumped, and that’s what it’s all about playing in a gym like this. The important thing is we’re playing our best basketball right now, and we have to keep getting better every day.”
The Flyers were playing their second game in less than 24 hours, having dispatched Traip 69-48 Friday night in Portland.
“I credit our bench,” Henry said. “They played quite a bit (Friday) and (Saturday), which allowed us to maintain our energy level. I was concerned because you can’t look past Traip and you certainly can’t look past Old Orchard.”