MT. ARARAT FORWARD Zach Garvey rises up to the hoop over the reach of Morse’s Brendan Harper (24) as Alex LaFountain (13) looks on. The Eagles defeated the Shipbuilders, 55-32 in a KVAC game at Mt. Ararat High School on Tuesday night.

MT. ARARAT FORWARD Zach Garvey rises up to the hoop over the reach of Morse’s Brendan Harper (24) as Alex LaFountain (13) looks on. The Eagles defeated the Shipbuilders, 55-32 in a KVAC game at Mt. Ararat High School on Tuesday night.

TOPSHAM

When Shyheim Ulrickson stepped outside to hit back-to-back 3-pointers in Tuesday night’s Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference boys high school basketball game against Morse, the Mt. Ararat gymnasium exploded in cheers.

MORSE FORWARD Keegan McDonough drives to the basket through two Mt. Ararat defenders during a KVAC high school boys basketball game at Topsham on Tuesday. The Shipbuilders fell to the Eagles, 55-32.

MORSE FORWARD Keegan McDonough drives to the basket through two Mt. Ararat defenders during a KVAC high school boys basketball game at Topsham on Tuesday. The Shipbuilders fell to the Eagles, 55-32.

Over the past four seasons, Ulrickson has often brought the student section of the Eagles out of their seats with his dribbling proficiency and pinpoint shooting.

His 29 points staggered the Shipbuilders throughout, as Mt. Ararat pulled away for a 55-32 win, improving to 6-3 at the mid-point of the season after a third consecutive win.

As solid as Ulrickson was in the scoring department, he was equally as successful in guarding Morse standout Keegan McDonough, who had 13 points while struggling to penetrate the Eagles’ defense in the paint.

“We knew that was their game, to get in there and dish out, and they did have some chances, but we tried to frustrate them, something we were able to do,” said Ulrickson. “We held them to just 32 points, which shows good defense. We really wanted to come out with intensity and keep them on their heels so we can attack.”

“McDonough is a very talented player, but few people realize the defender (Ulrickson) that we have on this team, with a cast of characters next to him,” said Mt. Ararat coach Steve Cox. “McDonough goes in hard, but I thought we contested everything when he went in there well enough to have success.”

Mt. Ararat avenged a tough 50-49 loss to the Shipbuilders back on Dec. 15, jumping out to a 12- point first-quarter lead, playing relatively even for two quarters, before pulling in the fourth.

“We lost a couple tough ones that we shouldn’t have lost, but we plan on finishing strong and coming back on the teams we lost to the second time around like we did tonight,” said Ulrickson.

For Morse, which dipped to 2-7 with its fifth straight setback, struggled to hit shots, both from the perimeter and in the rare opportunities the Shipbuilders were able to get inside.

“We had a lot of open looks, but I thought we settled a lot for perimeter shots,” said Morse coach Brian Bennett, whose Shipbuilders visit Camden Hills on Friday (7 p.m.), their fourth of six straight games away from Bath. “In the second half, we went to the basket, penetrated, but those shots weren’t going. That is the way it goes some nights.

“Ararat has improved a lot since we last played them. They will be a tough out for anyone who plays them in the postseason.”

Eagles run away

Mt. Ararat used a 9-2 start to take control. Ulrickson had 10 points in the opening frame, including a 7-for-7 performance from the freethrow line as the Eagles carried an 18-6 to the second quarter.

Morse pushed back in the second quarter, closing to 18-12 on a long trey from McDonough. A quick 6-0 Mt. Ararat run made for a 13-point contest (25-12), and the teams went to the break with the Eagles holding a 30-18 edge.

Alex LaFountain had seven points to support Ulrickson, who led the way with 16 at the break. The Eagles had a big edge at the charity stripe, making 12-of- 18, while the Shipbuilders did not attempt a free throw.

“They were choking the middle pretty hard, and if we stay out on the perimeter then they can contest it with their size,” said Bennett. “We needed to get at the basket, something we didn’t do very well tonight. We need to show up in the first half of games. Every game we are down in the first half, come back. The grit is there.”

Morse began the second half as the aggressor, with Parker Onorato’s (five points, seven rebounds) steal and lay-in getting the Shipbuilders off to a good start. Once again Mt. Ararat had an answer, with LaFountain scoring eight points in the third quarter as the Eagles extended their advantage to 42-28 through 24 minutes.

McDonough made 3-of-4 from the line to open the fourth, Morse’s first free-throw attempts of the contest. In stepped Ulrickson, who showed drive, then stepped back for two 3-pointers and a 48-31 lead. Ulrickson added 12 points in the final eight minutes to his totals as the Eagles celebrated their sixth win.

Cox feels his team has found the trust needed to keep moving forward.

“We played a quarter against Leavitt, an excellent half against Falmouth, a couple games that weren’t 32 minutes. Today, I am not saying that we played excellent basketball for 32 minutes by any stretch, but they are gaining confidence in trusting each other,” said Cox.

Ulrickson also had seven rebounds, three assists and three steals, with LaFountain pulling down a team-high eight rebounds. Cam Cox chipped in six points and three assists.

Zidane McMurrin picked up six points and six boards for Morse, with McDonough finishing with eight rebounds, five steals and three assists.

Mt. Ararat went 18-of-27 at the foul line and hit 15-of-42 shots from the field. Morse was 13-of-48 from the floor.

Mt. Ararat 55, Morse 32

At Mt. Ararat High School

Morse 6 12 10 4 32
Mt. Ararat — 18 12 12 13 55

Morse — Parker Onorato 2-0-5, Ayden Brillard 2-0-4, Keegan McDonough 4-4-13, Dakota Freeman 0-0-0, Matt Belanger 1-0-2, Zidane McMurrin 3-0-6, Brendan Harper 1-0-2. Totals — 13-4-32.

Mt. Ararat — Cam Cox 2-0-6, Garrett Bolduc 0-0-0, Alex LaFountain 6-3-15, Shyheim Ulrickson 6-13-29, Harper Moutal 0-0-0, Cole Guerin 0-1-1, Eric Segars 1-0-3, Jacob Steinman 0-0- 0, Zach Garvey 0-1-1, Ryan Mello 0-0-0, Nick Merrill 0-0-0. Totals — 15-18-55. 3-point field goals — (Mo) Parker Onorato, Keegan McDonough; (MtA) Shyheim Ulrickson 4, Cam Cox 2, Eric Segars. Records — Mt. Ararat 6-3, Morse 2-7. Up next for the Shipbuilders — Friday at Camden Hills, 7 p.m. Up next for the Eagles — Tuesday at home against Lewiston, 7 p.m.


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