BRUNSWICK FORWARD Elliot Boyd (42, top photo) goes up for two points past the outstretched arm of Hampden Academy’s Logan Poirier (32) during a high school boys KVAC basketball game in Brunswick on Friday. In the left photo, Brunswick’s Trent Anderson (14) drives around Hampden Academy’s Brian Fickett (3). The Broncos came away with a 38-37 victory over the Dragons, who dropped to 6-4.

BRUNSWICK FORWARD Elliot Boyd (42, top photo) goes up for two points past the outstretched arm of Hampden Academy’s Logan Poirier (32) during a high school boys KVAC basketball game in Brunswick on Friday. In the left photo, Brunswick’s Trent Anderson (14) drives around Hampden Academy’s Brian Fickett (3). The Broncos came away with a 38-37 victory over the Dragons, who dropped to 6-4.

BRUNSWICK — Nearly every night in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference, close games are the norm as teams battle it out in boys high school basketball action.

 

 

In these close contests, it usually comes down to which team blinks first and takes advantage of opportunities.

On Friday, Hampden Academy, the No. 1 team in Eastern Maine Class A, did just enough, coming away with a defensive-minded 38-37 victory over Brunswick (6-4).

The 9- 1 Broncos used a game-closing 8-1 run to pull this one out, and the Dragons made just six of 17 free throws, the one glaring statistic separating these two teams for one night.

“We say every possession is an important one, and I’m proud of the defensive effort in holding them under 40 points,” said Brunswick coach Todd Hanson, whose team visits Skowhegan tonight at 7 p.m. “When you miss a shot or a free throw and the other team comes down and hits a three, it takes the wind out of your sails.

“There are no nights off in the KVAC. We will see how we respond with our next two games on the road.”

A 3-pointer by Garrett Erb staked the Dragons to a 36-30 lead with 5: 45 remaining. Brunswick forced consecutive turnovers, with several golden opportunities to increase its lead. But, the Dragons missed their last four shots, and the Broncos got hot.

Hampden sandwiched a pair of 3-pointers from Christian McCue and Zach Gilpin around a free throw from Mitch Black to close to 37-36.

Cameron Scott picked up a loose ball to give the Broncos possession, and Logan Poirier’s putback of his own miss put Hampden up 38-37 with 2:16 left.

Brunswick missed on the other end, and the Broncos spread the floor, taking the clock down to 1:08 before Black intercepted a pass to give the Dragons the ball.

Black led teammate Brad Smith too far as the ball sailed out of bounds with 11.5 remaining, but gave his team another chance when he intercepted the inbounds pass.

Hanson called a timeout, and Ryan Black had an open look for a moment, but Poirier altered his shot, with the ball missing the rim as time expired.

“We were excited to be in that position to win it, and the shot Ryan had I will take every time,” said Mitch Black, who led the Dragons with 10 points, five steals and four assists. “ Both teams played great defense.”

Hampden leads

Brunswick jumped on top 11-9 after a back-and-forth opening quarter, but the Broncos made a move in the second, using an 8-2 run for a 17-13 advantage. The Dragons made just one field goal in the quarter, but held Hampden to just 19 first-half points, trailing 19-15 at the break.

“I thought we were just too tight in the first half, and we didn’t make any adjustments at halftime, but instead reiterated what we needed to do,” said Hanson.

Fred Knight’s three-point play gave Hampden a 22- 15 lead, but Brunswick dominated the boards in the third quarter to the tune of a 10-4 advantage, and used an 11-0 run to take a 26-22 lead.

Elliot Boyd hit a runner and Erb made one of two at the foul line for a 29-23 advantage, but the Broncos closed the frame on a 7-0 run, including a 3-pointer by McCue for a 30-29 lead through 24 minutes.

Brunswick again went ahead, getting four points from Ryan Black and a big trey from Erb for a six-point lead before Hampden made one last push for the win.

“We wanted to be patient, knowing that is when we are at our best,” said Hanson, whose team shot 31 percent (14 of 45) from the floor. “We battled all game. That is what I want this team to do.”

Ryan Black chipped in seven points for Brunswick, with Erb and Trent Anderson adding six points apiece. Both teams had 25 rebounds, with Erb leading with seven caroms, and Smith and Ryan Black with four each. Erb had three steals and two assists.

Gilpin paced the Broncos with 10 points, while McCue added nine and Matthew Palmer five. Poirier had five rebounds, two blocked shots and two steals, McCue three assists and Tyler Norris five caroms.

Hampden was 15 of 45 (33 percent) from the floor and made three of four free throws.

Hampden 38,  Brunswick 37

At  Brunswick High School

Hampden – 9  10  11  9 — 38
Brunswick – 11  4  14  8   — 37

Hampden — Matthew Palmer 2-0-5, Logan Poirier 2-0-4, Fred Knight 1-2-4, Zach Gilpin 4-1-10, Christian McCue 3-0-9, Brian Fickett 1-0-2, Cameron Scott 1-0-2, Tyler Norris 1-0-2.
Totals — 15-3-38.

Brunswick — Konnor Scarponi 1-0-2, Brad Smith 1-0-2, Garrett Erb 2-1-6, Trent Anderson 1-4-6, Mitch Black 4-1-10, Ryan Black 3-0-7, Elliot Boyd 1-0-2, Alex Viola 1-0-2, Jibreel Garrett 0-0-0.
Totals — 14-6-37.

3-pointers — (H) McCue 3, Palmer,
Gilpin; (B) Erb, R. Black, M. Black.

Records — Hampden 9-1, Brunswick 6-4.

Next for the Dragons — Today at Skowhegan, 7 p.m.

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