It was only one possession fairly early in a 111-92 victory by the Maine Red Claws over the Erie BayHawks Saturday night at the Portland Expo, but it encapsulated much of what Coach Scott Morrison preaches.

Point guard Corey Walden grabbed a defensive rebound, pushed the ball upcourt and drove to the basket. Instead of shooting, he hurled a pass to the left corner, where Levi Randolph had set up behind the 3-point line.

It was an open shot, but Randolph passed it up because Omari Johnson was even more wide open. Randolph skipped it to Johnson, who drained the 3-pointer from the left wing.

“When you’re playing the game of basketball, you want to try to get the easiest shot possible, “Randolph said. “I probably could have shot it, but Omari had a better look, I feel. So I kicked it to him and he knocked it down.”

The play had everything: good defensive positioning to collect the rebound, aggressive offensive penetration to collapse the defense, kicking the ball back outside for a higher-value opportunity, and precise passing leading to an uncontested shot.

“That paint touch plus an extra pass would be, in my opinion, probably the best possible shot you could get,” Morrison said. “That was kind of symbolic of how the guys played in the first half, where they were really aggressive and unselfish.”

The Red Claws (4-4) came out blazing Saturday night before a crowd of 2,009 with their best offensive first quarter of the season. Andre Stringer, making his first start, sank a 3-pointer from the top of the key on the game’s first shot and the Red Claws never trailed again, snapping a three-game losing streak that started here two weeks ago when they blew an 11-point fourth-quarter lead against Raptors 905, Toronto’s affiliate.

It was the third of three straight games against Toronto, and Maine had won each of the first two and seemed poised to complete the sweep before going scoreless for the final three minutes while the Raptors closed with a 15-0 run.

“The last Toronto game was definitely disappointing because we had the game in control and kind of (kicked) it away at the end,” Morrison said. “I thought that got us down a little bit. Our energy was poor. (Last) weekend in Sioux Falls it carried over to the games.”

The Claws dropped two in a row in South Dakota before returning home and righting the ship. Saturday night’s first quarter included four dunks (two from Malcolm Miller and one each from Johnson and Randolph), four 3-pointers (two from Johnson) and an 18-0 run.

“Our main focus was just to come out hard, be more aggressive and not be the team that takes the punches, but delivers the blows,” said Walden, who finished with 13 points and eight assists. “We got off to a great start and we just kept it rolling.”

Randolph came off the bench to finish with 24 points and Johnson added 23 as the Claws saw seven players reach double figures.

Celtics rookie Jordan Mickey had 18 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks. Stringer, Miller and Coty Clarke each chipped in with 10 points.

Keith Appling scored 24 points and Jordan Sibert had 19 for Erie (2-4). The BayHawks made a run in the third quarter but came no closer than 10.

“They came out and beat us up a little in the third quarter, kind of outplayed us,” Morrison said. “We were just lucky we had that cushion from the first quarter to make up for it and hang on.”

Starting Stringer, one of three holdovers from last season along with Johnson and Ralph Sampson III, was an effort to inject scoring and experience, Morrison said. Sure enough, shortly after hitting the opening 3, Stringer intercepted a pass and took it the other way for a layup.

“I got a chance to be in the position to make hustle plays early in the game,” Stringer said. “That’s something I pride myself on. I was able to get in the passing lane and get a few steals and poke-aways and hit a few shots.”

Erie made one final push in the fourth quarter, but Miller and Randolph hit 3-pointers and Johnson tipped in a Miller miss to salt away the victory.

Both teams meet again Sunday afternoon at the Expo, with tip-off scheduled for 5 p.m.

“This week we really focused on being competitive and having good energy on the floor and on the bench,” Morrison said. “And with the possible exception of a small stint in the third quarter, I thought we succeeded in doing that.”

NOTES: Arenas throughout the D-League will have more stringent security checks on entering spectators, so late-arriving fans could experience longer lines. … Stringer (shoulder) and Walden (ankle) both went down hard after colliding with an opposing player. Each was able to walk off the court under his own power and expressed optimism about playing Sunday. … The Red Claws shot 50 percent from the field (40 of 80) and 43 percent on 3-pointers (13 of 30).