OLD ORCHARD BEACH — If you matched up the five best players from both Old

Orchard Beach and Sacopee Valley, the Seagulls would clearly have the advantage.

Unfortunately for OOB, Sacopee Valley figured out a way to overcome the Seagulls’ superior starting five as the visiting Hawks used 10 players to wear down OOB and pick up a 50-41 win in a WMC boys basketball game on Friday night.

“It’s our first year running it. It’s a system that emphasizes depth and we don’t have a lot of superstars, but we got about 10 to 14 guys that really work hard,” said Sacopee Valley coach Ben Murphy, who rotated five fresh players into the game every minute.

That strategy seemed to work right from the start, as OOB struggled to get into a rhythm and Sacopee was able to take a 6-5 lead after the opening quarter.

OOB seemed to figure out the Hawks’ strategy in the second, as Eric Hogan scored five points in the frame to help the Seagulls take a 21-16 lead at the half.

The Seagulls took control early in the third quarter, as they scored the first seven points ”“ including a 3-pointer from Evan Christensen ”“ to take their largest lead of the game at 28-16.

OOB’s momentum didn’t last, however. Sacopee outscored the Seagulls 12-4 in the final 5:07 of the third to cut the lead to 32-28 heading into the fourth.

“I looked up one time and it was like 32-22 and I thought we had a nice little surge, and then they hit a three and cut it to 25 and from there they chipped away,” said OOB coach John Regan.

The Hawks kept their hot streak going in the fourth as they got 3-pointers from Blake Trueworthy, Mike Pingree and Will Goforth. The long-range shots

helped Sacopee go from down four to up five at 45-40 with just 2:24 left.

OOB was forced to foul late and Sacopee hit six shots from the charity stripe to secure the road win.

For Murphy, it was nice to get a win using this new system.

“We struggled our first two games with it, getting used to it and I know there were a lot of questions with it,” said Murphy. “It’s nice to come out here and execute it at a very high level. I thought our kids played excellent, they made smart decisions all night long and when things got tough, they held their composure.”

Regan was surprised by the Hawks’ strategy, but knows that his team just didn’t play up to their ability.

“I have not seen that many substitutions like that. That’s new to me,” said Regan, who watched his team commit 23 turnovers. “The (problem) for us was we didn’t do a good job of executing, no matter what five guys they had out there tonight.”

Sacopee Valley had six of 10 players put points on the board, with Goforth

leading the way with 11 and Dominic Locke and Trueworthy chipping in with nine each.

OOB was led by Christensen with 15 points, while Zach Hirst added eight and Hogan finished with seven.

Regan will now try to rally his team for a home game against North Yarmouth Academy on Monday.

“You emphasize to them that you can’t hang your heads very long because you have to get ready for a game Monday night,” said Regan.

— Sports Editor Pat McDonald can be reached at 282-1535, ext. 323 or [email protected]

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