January 12, 2013

Boys' basketball: Blazes regroup, edge Spartans

Westbrook blows a big lead, then recovers for a 58-53 win over Sanford.

By MARK JEANNERET Special to the Press Herald

WESTBROOK - Keenan Lowe scored 19 points to lead Westbrook to a 58-53 win over Sanford in an SMAA boys' basketball game Friday night.

The victory continued a successful stretch for the Blue Blazes (8-2), who have won four straight. Westbrook recorded a mild upset over Bonny Eagle to start the week and overcame adversity to get past the Spartans (5-5).

"That's a real big week for us, to be able to beat Bonny Eagle (53-50 on Tuesday) and Sanford in the same week," said Westbrook Coach Mark Karter.

"You know, I think we're getting a little battle-tested, which is only going to help us down the stretch. It was nice to see us be able to compete in games like that."

The Blue Blazes got off to a tremendous start, leaving the Spartans in a deep early hole.

Evyn Nolette opened the game with a 3-pointer for Sanford, one of four he drained in the first half, but the lead was short-lived.

Westbrook answered with a 15-0 run, featuring six points from Lowe and five from Zack Bean. Bean then added his second 3-pointer for the final points of the opening quarter as Westbrook surged to an 18-5 advantage.

Westbrook held a 13-point lead until midway through the second quarter before the Spartans make a big surge to tie the game.

Ryan Camire, who finished with 22 points, started the fireworks with the first of what turned out to be five straight 3-pointers -- the final three drained by Nolette -- in a 15-2 run that evened the game at 28-28.

The Blue Blazes scored the final three points of the half to carry a 31-28 lead into the break.

"Our past few games we've gotten off to a good start," said Lowe. "But that second and third quarter, we have let them creep back in. I think we come out well, which helps us later in the game."

Sanford scored six of the first eight points in the second half to grab a 34-33 lead, and moments later put together an 8-0 run to move ahead 42-36.

Lowe scored the final five points of the quarter to cut the visitor's lead to 42-41 heading into the final eight minutes.

"We were down early and this place was rocking," said Sanford Coach Paul Nolette.

"We had a chance to just roll over, but we asked the boys to come out and compete and take a little pride in who they are. We knew that if we played solid defense that we could get back into things, and we did."

David Breunig's basket three minutes into the fourth, followed by a Lowe basket, gave Westbrook a 45-42 lead. The Blue Blazes went 10 for 13 from the foul line down the stretch to secure the victory.

"We've done a nice job the last few games doing our stuff early, and we got off to a real good start tonight," said Karter. "That went a long way in helping us."

Nolette finished with 16 points. Bean scored 15 and Alec Hazlewood had 13 for Westbrook.


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