AUGUSTA — Maranacook senior Taylor Wilbur began his day by draining one 3-pointer after another in the solitude of his high school gym.
He ended it by doing the same in front of more than 1,000 spectators at the Augusta Civic Center.
Wilbur scored 34 points, including eight 3-pointers, as No. 5 Maranacook outlasted No. 4 Winthrop 68-52 in an entertaining Western Class C boys’ basketball quarterfinal.
“There is nothing like this backdrop,” Wilbur said. “I did go up to the school (Monday) morning to try and get my legs under me. We fed off the energy.”
It marked the first game at the Civic Center for Wilbur since he was a freshman, and he turned in a memorable performance.
The 6-foot guard was two 3-pointers shy of matching the Western Class C tournament record set by Hall-Dale’s Robbie Morin in 1990.
“I had no idea,” Wilbur said when asked if he was aware of the record. “I was just hoping they were going in. I wasn’t keeping track.”
Maranacook (15-5) set a tournament record with 12 3-pointers. The Black Bears advanced to the regional semifinals Thursday against top-seeded Dirigo.
“(Wilbur) did what he does all the time,” Maranacook Coach Rob Schmidt said. “He knocks them down. He’s tough when he’s on. The thing with Taylor, he can go by you, too. You have to respect his speed.
“He was in the gym this morning by himself. He started knocking down 13 3-pointers in a row. We had a good feeling after that.”
Cam Brochu scored 14 points and Caleb Jackson added eight for Maranacook.
Ben Allen led Winthrop (14-5) with 16 points, while Dakota Carter and Anthony Owens each had 13.
Maranacook led just 47-44 going into the fourth quarter, but Wilbur hit consecutive 3-pointers to stretch the lead to 53-44. He later added a layup and three free throws to all but seal the game.
“They hit their 3s,” Owens said. “That was the difference. That was what the game came down to.”
The teams played an up-tempo first half, with each team looking to play to its strengths.
For Maranacook, that meant Wilbur and the outside shooters.
And Wilbur was on early. He scored eight points in the first quarter, including two 3-pointers from well behind the arc.
His first ignited a 9-0 run that gave Maranacook an 11-4 lead. His second quelled a 6-0 Winthrop run with about two minutes left in the quarter.
Maranacook led 18-14 after the first quarter, but Owens and the Ramblers fought their way back in the second. Owens scored nine points in the second quarter as he quickly established himself in the post. He also made all five of his free-throw attempts in the quarter, including a pair with about two and a half minutes left that gave the Ramblers a 26-24 lead.
However, Wilbur silenced the energized Winthrop fans when he drained a 3-pointer at the top of the key to give Maranacook the lead again.
Bill Stewart can be contacted at 621-5640 or at: