YARMOUTH — Yarmouth turned up its defensive intensity in the second half and eked out a 45-43 win over Waynflete in a Western Maine Conference boys’ basketball game Thursday night.

It was benchmark game between two teams that won’t meet again this season. The Flyers (2-1) are the reigning Class C South champions, while the Clippers (3-0) are regarded as a contender in Class B South.

“Yarmouth is a program that we measure ourselves by,” Waynflete Coach Rich Henry said. “We’re proud to play them because they represent such class and success, so I’m really proud of the way the kids played against a quality, quality team.”

“They made us struggle for four quarters,” Yarmouth Coach Adam Smith said. “A Rich Henry team is going to do that to you, and they did. I thought we gutted out an important win for us.”

Waynflete, which won its first two games by an average of 27 points, got off to a fast start. The Flyers opened a 15-5 lead less than a minute into the second quarter.

The momentum seemed to swing in Yarmouth’s direction when Yai Deng left the game because of an injured right leg with 5:29 left in the first half.

While the Flyers were adjusting to the absence of their 6-foot-5 senior forward, the Clippers ran off 13 points to take their first lead. But Askar Hussein and Jack Meahl each hit a 3-pointers in the final minute and a half to give Waynflete a 21-20 lead at the break.

Meahl, who finished with 22 points, sank four of his six 3-pointers in the third quarter, and the Flyers stretched their lead to 35-26 about three minutes into the second half.

At that point, Yarmouth’s defensive pressure turned the game around, and the Clippers reeled off another 13-0 run to take the lead for good.

“We were tentative with the pressure early,” Smith said. “When we finally got after it with five guys really relying on each other, they felt they could get up and play some great defense and make some stuff happen.”

With 5:40 left in the fourth quarter, Yarmouth held a 39-34 lead. Waynflete got no closer than two points the rest of the way.

“We talked about their press,” Henry said. “We tried to prepare for it, (but) it’s a whole different thing when you’re here facing it.”

“Things weren’t going well and our shots weren’t going down,” Smith said. “We got some steals and layups and it really energized us.”

Alek Medenica, a 6-7 senior forward, scored nine of his 17 points in the fourth quarter to help the Clippers nail down the win.

Deng, who returned to play the entire second half, scored six of his eight points in the fourth quarter to keep the Flyers close.

“I’m proud of the way the kids handled (the press),” Henry said. “If you had it to do over again, you’d look for little more back-cutting, a little more crisp passing … They’ll learn from this game.”