Massabesic overcame early foul trouble to pull out a 61-54 win over Cheverus in an SMAA boys’ basketball game Wednesday night.

The Mustangs got a big assist from their bench to run their record to 6-0 and move atop the Class AA South rankings.

“At one point we had four starters on the bench and our (reserves) came in to play,” Massabesic Coach Chris Binette said. “A lot of people haven’t seen our bench because I haven’t used it as much as I should. I told the boys it’s going to take all of us to win this thing, and they needed to come in and play big.”

Massabesic broke open the close game by outscoring the Stags 11-3 during a four-minute segment of the fourth quarter to take a 56-50 lead with 1:40 left.

“We got tired, for sure,” Cheverus Coach Ryan Soucie said. “It was probably (because of) the pace of their game. The turnovers and us not being able to take care of the ball in the halfcourt really hurt us.”

The Stags (6-2) committed a season-high 27 turnovers in the 32-minute game.

“Turnovers has been our Achilles’ heel all year,” Soucie said. “We talk about it in practice. We work on it and at some point hopefully we’ll get it. One of our goals was to limit the turnovers and we didn’t accomplish that.”

Dan Amabile led Massabesic with 17 points. Weston Bergeron followed with 16 and Ryan Gullikson added 14.

The Mustangs took just two shots from beyond the foul line, mainly scoring on slashing baseline drives.

“We tried to game plan to try and keep them out of the paint,” Soucie said. “At the end of the day they willed themselves to get to the paint. We had some breakdowns defensively.”

Jack Casale scored a game-high 25 points for Cheverus. Jesse Matthews added 16.

“We had to step up and do a lot of things to make sure we could win this game,” Binette said. “Casale had a great game and we were all over him.”

Casale scored 14 points and the Stags sank 8 of 11 free throws in the first half, which ended 26-26.

The Mustangs carried a 42-41 lead into the fourth quarter.

Matthews sank two free throws and Andrew Roberts added another basket on a backdoor pass from Austin Boudreau to send Cheverus into a 45-42 lead less than two minutes into the quarter.

But the rest of the game belonged to the Mustangs, who hit 11 of 13 free throws down the stretch.

“As of yet, in their high school career, this is the biggest game our seniors have played in,” Binette said. “Gorham was earlier and now it’s Cheverus, and we’ll see who our next biggest game is.

“We flew under the radar for the first three or four games. I don’t think that’s so any more, but we’re prepared. We practice hard and our boys will be ready.”

It was the second loss in three games for the Stags, who opened with five wins.

“We’ll bounce back,” Soucie said. “We’ll learn from this and move on.”