RYAN MELLO dribbles the ball with Oceanside’s Mike Norton Jr. (10) defending at Mt. Ararat High School on Tuesday. The Eagles lost the KVAC boys basketball game, 65-55.

RYAN MELLO dribbles the ball with Oceanside’s Mike Norton Jr. (10) defending at Mt. Ararat High School on Tuesday. The Eagles lost the KVAC boys basketball game, 65-55.

TOPSHAM

Shyheim Ulrickson can only do so much.

The Mt. Ararat front man carried the Eagles with 28 points during a boys high school basketball game against Oceanside on Tuesday, and for the first three quarters, it was enough. Ulrickson and company took a six-point lead into the final frame. Then suddenly, the shots stopped falling.

The Mariners took advantage, closing the game with 12 consecutive free throws and going on to capture the Kennebec Valley Conference game, 65-55.

Oceanside (10-5) hit three treys as part of a 13-6 run to begin the fourth quarter, capturing its first lead since the end of the first quarter (12-8).

On the other side of the floor, Mt. Ararat (10-4) struggled to find any offensive rhythm, and it cost the Eagles. According to head coach Steve Cox, his team missed 17 shots inside of three feet.

“You can’t expect to beat too many teams we play when you do that,” Cox said. “We did have a couple little stretches of poor shot selection, but more than anything, we’ve got to finish them. We took quality shots today that didn’t go in.”

In the last three minutes of the game, those misses turned into Oceanside rebounds, which then turned into fouls. Once at the charity stripe, the Mariners hit all but one free throw to close the game, converting 80 percent on the night.

“We just weren’t in sync in the fourth quarter,” said Ulrickson. “We didn’t have our confidence because we were missing shots. When we’re making shots, we’re feeling good. Our bench gets into it, our crowd gets into it. I think that was the difference, really.”

Mt. Ararat shot just 35 percent from the floor and made less than half of its free-throw attempts. After a slow first quarter of just eight total points, Ulrickson scored 12 points and sparked a high-flying run in the second frame for the hosts. Alex LaFountain controlled the middle, scoring eight of his 15 points in the quarter while hauling in eight boards and reaching the free-throw line three times. The Eagles took an eightpoint advantage into the break.

Oceanside started its comeback in the third period, converting two hoop-andharm plays and cutting the lead to two by the opening minutes of the fourth. Leading the way were forwards Cooper Wirkala and Nate Raye, who split 32 points and combined for seven rebounds. Senior Keenan Hendricks, who hit 5-of-6 free throws in the Mariners’ game-sealing run at the line, finished with 14 points on seven boards. Raye and Hendricks hit back-to-back 3- pointers before the stretch that gave the visitors the lead for good.

“Their shot making is really what turned it on,” Ulrickson said of Oceanside. “They can be a team that gets hot at any time. They’re putting up like 90 points in their own gym, so we knew they were a dangerous team. They didn’t shoot well to start the game, but they finished it off strong.”

The Mariners shot only a slightly better 38 percent from the field, but hit seven treys and double the free throws the Eagles secured. Cox was expecting the long ball from the start, and knew his team needed to keep up.

“We knew what they play,” Cox said. “They shoot threes and they come down and we miss lay-ups. We presented more of the challenges than they did. We knew what they were going to do. They did primarily all of their scoring on the foul line after they got a one-point lead.”

Ryan Mello chipped in with four points for the Eagles. Mike Norton Jr., who grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds, tallied nine points for Oceanside, with Andrew King scoring five.

For the Eagles, it’s their first loss since Dec. 22, when they fell to Falmouth on the road. Cox isn’t overly concerned, and is already thinking about a rematch with Lewiston on Thursday.

“It’s just one game,” Cox said. “We go over to Lewiston, we lace them up, we play hard, get back to doing some of things we know we can do well.”

“Everybody’s bound to have an off night,” Ulrickson said. “But tomorrow we’re going to get in the gym, get some shots up and get ready for Lewiston Thursday.”

Oceanside 65, Mt. Ararat 55

Tuesday, at Mt. Ararat High School

Oceanside 12 10 17 26 65
Mt. Ararat 8 22 15 10 55

Oceanside — Keenan Hendricks 4-5- 14, Josh Lurtell 0-1-1, Nate Raye 4-6- 16, Mike Norton Jr. 3-3-9, Sam Atwood 2-0-4, Cooper Wirkala 6-1- 16, Andrew King 2-0-5, Nicolas Tinker 0-0-0, Coby Dorr 0-0-0, Jake Bartlett 0-0-0. Totals — 21-16-65. Mt. Ararat — Cam Cox 1-0-2, Garret Bolduc 0-0-0, Alex LaFountain 5-5- 15, Shyheim Ulrickson 11-2-28, Harper Moutal 0-0-0, Zach Garvey 1- 0-2, Cole Guerin 0-1-1, Eric Segars 1- 0-3, Ryan Mello 2-0-4. Totals — 21- 8-55. 3-point field goals — (O) Keenan Hendricks, Nate Raye 2, Cooper Wirkala 3, Andrew King; (MtA) Shyheim Ulrickson 4, Eric Segars. Records — Oceanside 10-5, Mt. Ararat 10-4. Up next for the Eagles — Thursday at Lewiston, 7 p.m.


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