YARMOUTH — Playing to its strengths, Yarmouth used its speed and intensity to run away with a 68-48 win against Poland in a Western Maine Conference boys’ basketball game Friday night.

“We tried to pick up the pace so that they would turn the ball over, and I think towards the end of the game we started doing that better and better,” said Adam LaBrie, a senior swing man who scored 12 points. “Defense is what starts our offense, definitely.”

For most of the game, the Knights – the defending Class B state champions – simply couldn’t handle the Clippers’ full-court defensive pressure.

“Most of the game we were back on our heels,” Poland Coach Tyler Tracy said. “We were too scared about the trap coming or the pressure coming that we didn’t always see what was right there in front of us.”

The Clippers, who held a 34-31 edge in rebounds, forced 31 turnovers, turning many of them into fast-break points.

“They live and die by their defense, and offensive rebounding as well, and we gave them a lot of extra possessions tonight,” Tracy said. “I thought we did a great job defensively on their first possession, but when they get two or three shots every time down that doesn’t help.”

The Clippers set a frenetic pace for the entire 32 minutes.

“You can can’t slow it down and pretend your something you’re not,” Yarmouth Coach Adam Smith said. “We’re going to have moments that are just not good, and then we’re going to have just great moments. Hopefully, the great moments happen more than the bad moments.”

Some of those great moments came Friday night, when Cody Cook, a junior guard, scored seven of his game-high 23 points during the final two minutes of the second quarter to propel Yarmouth to a 27-17 lead at halftime.

The Clippers seemed to be in full control when they opened the second half with a 12-4 run to move into a 39-21 lead midway through the third quarter, but Poland rallied.

John Fawcett scored 12 of his team-high 19 points as the Knights finished the quarter with a 19-4 run to cut Yarmouth’s lead to 43-40.

“Good teams make runs and Poland is a good team,” Smith said. “I could have called a time-out there but I wanted to put (my players) under pressure. I wanted to have our guys under pressure and see what it was like to have a team claw back on them, and I thought our guys answered it really well at the start of the fourth quarter.”

The Clippers (2-0) opened the final quarter with a 15-2 run for a 58-42 lead with less than three minutes remaining.

Jordan Brown, a senior forward, scored 18 points for the Clippers. Alan Young scored a 17 for Poland.

It was the second consecutive loss for the Knights, who started the season with a 60-43 win over Freeport.

“This conference is tough, so every single night everybody is going to be challenged,” Tracy said. “I don’t know how that affects the mindset of everybody else, but we have to battle.”