TOPSHAM — Shyheim Ulrickson took charge down the stretch to help Mt. Ararat close out a 48-44 win against Westbrook in a Class A South boys’ basketball game Thursday night.

“He showed why he’s such a good player,” Westbrook Coach Dan LeGage said. “For the most part for three quarters, we did a nice job on him. We battled him and we disrupted him, but good players can take over at the end. That’s what they do.”

Ulrickson, who became the fourth Mt. Ararat player to score more than 1,000 career points midway through last season, scored 12 of his game-high 21 points in the fourth quarter. He sank 8 of 10 free throws in the final six minutes.

“We’ve been trying to finish games strong and not lose the close ones, and that’s what we did tonight,” Ulrickson said.

“Last year we lost six games on our last possession,” Mt. Ararat Coach Steve Cox said. “We felt we got shorted a lot by ourselves. It was our own doing.”

The score was 31-31 at the end the third quarter, but the Eagles (2-1) started the fourth quarter with a 10-2 run to move into a 41-33 lead with 4:25 left to play.

Zac Manoogian and Curtis Knapton each sank 3-pointers in the final 45 seconds, but Ulrickson made six free throws in the final minute.

Ulrickson, a senior point guard who averaged more than 22 points per game last season, was limited to nine points over the first three quarters but still found ways to help his team with six assists, mostly on pinpoint passes from the perimeter.

“They were double-teaming me and trapping me everywhere,” he said, “but we’re used to it now and we’re trying to work our offense through it.”

It was the third loss for the winless Blazes, who committed 20 turnovers. “We need to continue to work on our execution,” LeGage said. “We’ve got a lot of players new to varsity. When it comes down to games like this, it comes down to execution. Execution on one or two possessions can make the difference.”

Bailey Ryan, who covered Ulrickson for all 32 minutes, led the Blazes with 11 points. Knapton added 10. “I like the way our guys battled,” LeGage said.

“We’ve just got to keep working hard in practice and keep working on execution down the stretch in close games. We’re a couple of possessions away from being 2-1.”

Opponents are averaging less than 50 points per game against Mt. Ararat.

“I was a defensive player, so naturally teams take on the personality of their coach,” Cox said. “We’re going to work hard every night at the defensive end. We still have some things to clean up. It’s good to get the win but I think we’ve got more in our tank.”