Kennebunk’s Max Murray goes up for two of his career-high 27 points during the Rams win over Mt. Ararat on Friday night. PAT MCDONALD/Journal Tribune

Kennebunk’s Max Murray goes up for two of his career-high 27 points during the Rams win over Mt. Ararat on Friday night. PAT MCDONALD/Journal Tribune

KENNEBUNK — The Kennebunk boys basketball team had high expectations entering the 2017-18 season as the Rams returned a ton of talent and despite still being young have a lot of experience on the roster.

Unfortunately for the Rams, the first two games of the season resulted in a pair of disappointing losses — including a lopsided loss to rival Biddeford in the season opener.

The losing streak would end on Friday night as the Rams broke open a close game in the second half on their way to an 84-60 victory over visiting Mt. Ararat.

“We scouted (Mt. Ararat) quite a bit so we tried in practice to emulate playing fast, playing in traps, so we put them through a lot of work … (Thursday) was a tough practice and they came out and they executed really well,” said Kennebunk coach Barrett Belanger.

Sophomore forward Max Murray led the way for Kennebunk as he put up a career-high 27 points and grabbed seven rebounds in the win.

“Tonight was good. We were able to move the ball and get open shots,” said Murray.

Belanger has been impressed with Murray, who missed most of last season with an injury.

“He has turned into one of our go-to guys,” said Belanger. “He’s tough down low. He can shoot. We try to include him in our offense as much as possible. He’s playing with confidence right now.”

The Rams held a slim 38-32 lead at halftime, but Murray would score 12 of his 27 in the third quarter as Kennebunk outscored the visiting Eagles 22-12 in the third quarter to take control.

Kennebunk, which closed the game on a 24-16 run, would also get 18 points from sophomore Kyle Pasieniuk. Junior Cam Lovejoy added 16 points and classmate Zack Sullivan chipped in 12 points in the win.

The Rams were clearly not happy with how their season started, but Belanger made sure his team moved on and focused on the games in front of them.

“We broke down each game. We felt like we were nervous game one. We felt like we played well game two, but we just had too many fouls,” said Belanger. “I told them just to play loose, you know, we’re not going 18-0 now, but we can still win a lot of basketball games.”

Despite the solid victory on Friday night, Belanger made sure to tell his team they still have plenty of work to do.

“With all the good we did tonight, we still have a long way to go so we need to keep getting better,” said Belanger. “Monday is a big practice for us to get ready for Marshwood (on Tuesday). We don’t stop because we can always improve.”

Mt. Ararat was led by Tanner Greenleaf and Nick Merrill with 10 points each.

Sports Editor Pat McDonald can be reached at [email protected] or at 282-1535 ext. 322. Follow the Journal Tribune Sports Department on Twitter @JournalTsports.


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