MORSE’S PARKER ONORATO, left, brings the ball up the court with Mt. Ararat’s Max Spelke (5) guarding him during a KVAC clash at Topsham on Tuesday. The host Eagles rolled to an 85-65 win.

MORSE’S PARKER ONORATO, left, brings the ball up the court with Mt. Ararat’s Max Spelke (5) guarding him during a KVAC clash at Topsham on Tuesday. The host Eagles rolled to an 85-65 win.


There have been ups and downs so far this year with the boys high school basketball team from Mt. Ararat. Learning a new style of play from first year coach Jeff Hogan has had its challenges.

Tuesday night, the Eagles put together a full four quarters, both offensively and defensively, to pull away with an 85-65 win over Morse in Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference play.

“I think we’re starting to run a little bit now,” said Hogan. “They are starting to commit more to the defense. I’ve been telling them since day one, ‘if you don’t commit to the defense, the offense won’t work.’”

Parker Onorato got things started quickly for Morse. The senior drained a 3-point basket to open the game.

After trailing 7-2, the Eagles bounced right back, using their considerable size advantage in crashing the boards and out-rebounding the visitors, 8-2 in the opening quarter, finishing on an 18-3 run and a 20-10 lead after eight minutes.

Mt. Ararat’s Jared Balser led the attack, hauling down four rebounds, including a pair of offensive boards. The junior also had a block and two assists in the opening quarter. The Eagles also hoisted 11 shots from behind the arc in the opening frame, something Hogan expects to see from his team.

“Go out and shoot, between 30 and 40 3-pointers a game is what we try to do,” said the coach. “We came out a little timid early on, but we warmed up.”

The rebounding woes continued for the Shipbuilders (1-6) in the second quarter, as Mt. Ararat continued its advantage with seven to Morse’s three. A few more 3- point shots fell in the second frame as well. Will Kavanaugh hit a pair, while senior Greg Malin sank one from behind the arc.

Morse attempted to keep up, cutting the lead down to nine behind Onorato and one of three first half Tyriek Foster 3-point baskets. It wasn’t enough as the Eagles built a 37-21 lead at the half. Foster had 11 first-half points.

“It was hard tonight, we were a little shorthanded tonight (senior Tom Warren did not play), but we played our hardest,” said Foster. “We could have played better on defense tonight and box out better.”

More Eagles

Ryan Mello took charge early in the third, driving to the hoop and drawing a pair of fouls underneath. A quick six points from the senior, including a put back with 5:24 remaining, helped build a 48-25 lead.

“This was the kind of game we wanted to play,” said Mello. “Coach always talks about Novocain, this system is new to us this year and it’s now finally sinking in, we just had to give it some time.”

Despite evening out the rebound deficit and getting a pair of Kaleb Jackson treys, Morse found itself trailing 59-37 through three quarters.

With the game nearly out of reach, things picked up offensively as the teams combined for 54 points in the final quarter. Two more 3- pointers from Malin and points throughout the bench sealed the victory for Mt. Ararat.

Morse battled until the end, getting eight fourth-quarter points from Jackson and seven more from Foster.

Onorato and Foster each finished with 18 points, while Jackson chipped in with 12 second-half points to register 17. Lucas Osterhout pulled down seven rebounds in the loss.

“ Their size killed us tonight. We shot poorly and when they needed to kick it out for three, they made those too,” said Morse assistant coach Randy Chaput. “ Kaleb had a great game for us tonight with his strong second half.”

The Eagles spread the scoring throughout the whole team, with all 12 players that suited up registering points. Mello scored a team- high 15 points. The guard/forward had six rebounds, three assists and two blocks. The 6- 8 Balser hauled in 10 boards and had a pair of blocks to go with his 14 points. Malin tallied 12 points, while Kavanaugh tossed in 10 in the win.

“ We are working our way to being better,” added Hogan. “ These kids just have buy in.”

Morse will host Edward Little at Bath Middle School on Thursday at 6:30 p. m. The Eagles meanwhile travel to Camden Hills on Thursday to take on the Windjammers at 6:30 p.m.

Mt. Ararat 85, Morse 65

At Topsham

Morse 10 11 16 28 65
Mt. Ararat — 20 17 22 26 85

Morse — Parker Onorato 8-0-18,
Josh Doughty 0-0-0, Jack Harrington
1-2-4, Lucas Osterhout 2-0-4, Tyriek
Foster 6-2-18, Kaleb Jackson 6-0-17,
Dom Green 0-0-0, D’Anthony Echols
2-0-4, Gavin Hanna 0-0-0, Darius
Hargett 0-0-0, Austin Magliozzi 0-0-0.
Totals — 25-4-65.
Mt. Ararat — Will Kavanaugh 4-0-10,
Max Spelke 2-0-5, Kyle Brennan 2-0-
4, Ryan Mello 5-5-15, Greg Malin 4-
0-12, Jared Balser 6-2-14, Nick Merrill 2-0-5, Peter Lavan 1-2-4, Michael
Rogers 3-0-6, Jessie Mujambere 1-0-
2, James Singleton 2-0-5, Nathan
Taylor 1-0-3. Totals — 33-9-85.
3-point goals — (Mo) Onorato 2,
Jackson 4, Foster 5; (MtA)
Kavanaugh 2, Spelke, Malin 4, Merrill,
Singleton, Taylor.
Records — Mt. Ararat 3-6, Morse 1-
Up next for the Shipbuilders
Thursday at home against Edward
Little, 6:30 p.m.
Up next for the Eagles — Thursday
at Camden Hills, 6:30 p.m.

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