By MARK JENNERET/Special to the Press Herald
STANDISH — Dustin Cole scored 36 points to lead Bonny Eagle to a 61-50 victory over visiting Westbrook in an SMAA boys' basketball game Tuesday night.
The fifth-ranked Scots (14-3), who entered the game behind Westbrook (12-5) in the Heal point standings, used sharp-shooting and a commitment to defense to set the tone for the game.
"Defense was a big area of focus tonight," said Ben Malloy, who added 20 for the Scots.
"Last time (a 53-50 Westbrook home victory in early January) they killed us with the high-low play so we just focused on that. We had front and backside help and we just worked."
While team defense was keeping Westbrook off stride at one end of the court, Cole and Malloy were lighting it up at the other.
They combined for all of the Scots' points in the opening quarter as they built an 18-7 lead.
After surrendering an opening 3-pointer to Aaron Duncanson, the Scots took over and outscored the Blue Blazes 18-4 in the period.
Cole provided an early boost with back-to-back steals that led to four of his nine first-quarter points while Malloy went 3 for 4 from 3-point range to stake Bonny Eagle to the first-quarter lead.
"I think the first quarter dictated the whole game," said Westbrook Coach Mark Karter.
"I thought we really didn't come out ready to play the game. I thought we were a step slow and we missed quite a few shots.
"We have to keep it close for us to be effective and they really jumped on us quick."
The Blazes cut slightly into the deficit in the second quarter as Zach Bean scored the final four points of the period to leave Westbrook down 24-15 at halftime.
The Blazes could have put themselves in better position had they been able to capitalize on three possessions in the final minutes of the half.
The opportunities resulted in two missed free throws, a turnover and a 3-point attempt that rang off the rim at the buzzer.
Westbrook scored the first six points of the third quarter to close to within 24-21, but Cole and Malloy responded.
Cole scored a basket to break the Blue Blazes' short run and Malloy, who missed five straight 3-point attempts (part of an 0-for-12 run from beyond the arc for the Scots), got back on track with a 3-pointer to restore a measure of distance and make it 29-21.
"They have confidence in themselves to continue shooting," said Bonny Eagle Coach Phil Bourassa.
"As coaches we tell them to keep shooting because that's what we do. We're a shooting team and you keep thinking eventually the next one is going to go and it will."
Bonny Eagle led 34-26 after three quarters.
Bean paced the Blue Blazes with 17 points and Keenan Lowe, who looked uncomfortable playing with a plastic mask to protect a broken nose suffered Friday against Windham, netted 11.Tweet