MORSE HIGH SCHOOL’S Kevin McKellar (32) attracts a big crowd of MCI defenders as he drives to the basket in Class B boys basketball action Monday on Bath.

MORSE HIGH SCHOOL’S Kevin McKellar (32) attracts a big crowd of MCI defenders as he drives to the basket in Class B boys basketball action Monday on Bath.

BATH

DJ Cole could feel it, the Morse defense was suffocating, and the Shipbuilders came away with a much-earned win on Martin Luther King Day.

Cole poured in a game- high 21 points, mostly from the 10-12-foot range, Morse’s defense oft times overwhelmed the MCI offense, and the hosts picked up a 59-44 Class B win at the Bath Middle School gym.

Morse improved to 3-9 and is off until Jan. 24 (home, Maranacook) while the Huskies fell to 2-9.

Morse broke open a close game with a 19-point third quarter as Cole accounted for 10 of those points. Morse lost Paul Whalen to a nose bleed, although he returned in the fourth quarter. A nice offensive rebound and putback by Matt Munster with 1.5 seconds left put Morse up 45-37 going into the fourth quarter.

The final period featured frenzied action, but a stop-and-pop by Cole 59 seconds in gave the hosts their first double-digit lead (47-37). An 8-2 run to start put Morse in the driver’s seat, 53-39.

“I took some shots I’ve probably shouldn’t have,” said a weary Cole. “But you’ve got to keep shooting to get warm.”

Of his team’s high- intensity effort, Cole added, “That’s exactly what we need to do. We need energy to bring it out. We can’t go into a game and be lazy … we needed aggressiveness, be out there wanting to win. We’ve worked a lot in practice with help-side.”

Chris Paulus chipped in with 10 points, Jordan Lister added nine and D’Vaughn Myers seven. The Shipbuilders owned a 40-28 rebounding edge, led by Cole (10), Kevin McKellar (7), Paulus (6) and Munster (6).

MCI’s burly Jerry Chen led the way with 12 points and five rebounds, while Adam Ogden had 11 points and 10 caroms.

Neither team took control in the opening minutes, but Morse lost guard Cody Snyder to a hand injury and he didn’t return. Myers hit a trey at the buzzer to put Morse up 13-12 at the break. The second quarter saw ties of 17 and 19 and a 3-pointer by Cole put the hosts up 22-19, while a nice drive by Munster helped the Shipbuilders to a 26-23 halftime advantage. They never lost that lead, despite numerous turnovers.

“That’s been a problem with us over the last couple of games, especially with the away games,” said Morse coach Todd Flaherty of his team’s inability to rise to the occasion. “I thought the energy today was pretty good up and down the line. We’re trying to swarm defensively and I thought they did a nice job with that. But, we still had too many unforced turnovers. They’ve got to learn to be patient and led the offense develop.”


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