Morse’s Gabe Aucoin drives to the hoops as Mt. Ararat’s Austin Damon looks on in Saturday’s boys high school basketball game in Bath. (Eric Maxim / The Times Record)

BATH — Mt. Ararat was seeking a second consecutive Kennebec Valley Conference win against Morse and a chance to get over the .500 mark on the season.

A three-win Morse Shipbuilders team made it difficult for the Eagles, who snuck out of the Bath Middle School gym Saturday with a 56-55 win over the ’Builders.

The second quarter was ultimately the difference in a game that went down to the final two foul shots.

“We’re not a typical team that presses,” said Mt. Ararat coach David Dubreuil. “I dug into my bench a little and got some guys who were a little quicker. They did a very good job on frustrating Jared (Balser) and almost shutting him down to a point, but our other guys came through, which was huge for us.”

The two conference rivals traded buckets in the opening quarter. The 6-foot-8 Balser used his size advantage to get an easy opening layup. Eagle Austin Damon followed that up with a trey in the opening quarter. For the Shipbuilders, it was Josh ter Mors leading the scoring with at three-point play before knocking down a trey.

Morse’s leading scorer on the season Tom Warren struck for seven points in the quarter, including a three before the frame ended to push the Morse lead to 16-12.

The Eagles bounced back in the second quarter. Damon drove to the hoop for two to get the scoring started, followed by a Nathan Taylor trey from the top of the arc. Morse went 2-for-14 from the field in a second quarter that saw the Eagles regain a lead, 29-20, at the half.

“You’ve got  to play with some intensity and heart,” said Morse coach Tom Maines. “I didn’t think we did in the second quarter. I think the other three quarters we outplayed them, but one bad quarter sometimes does you in.”

Warren rallies ’Builders

Morse climbed right back into the game thanks to a 13-5 run led by Warren. The senior forward started the half with a three-point play, working his way to the hoop for a basket and foul. He followed that up with a pair of treys midway through the quarter.

Mt. Ararat’s Austin Damon, right, dribbles up the court with Morse’s Kaleb Jackson close by. (Eric Maxim / The Times Record)

Max Spelke responded with a 3-pointer for Mt. Ararat, but the ’Builder defense kept the ball away from Balser and Damon inside. Morse outscored the Eagles, 16-14, in the quarter to climb within seven points.

“I think they did a great job of creating turnovers on us in the third trying to get back in the game.” said Dubreuil.

Morse evened the game after ter Mors and Gabe Aucoin hit 3-pointers midway through the quarter. The Eagles were forced to take a timeout with under four minutes remaining.

Aucoin put the Shipbuilders ahead with under two minutes remaining, sinking 1-of-2 at the foul line.

Balser worked inside and was fouled with time expiring. The Mt. Ararat forward made both shots to give the Eagles a 56-55 lead. Arius Eich’s half-court attempt fell just short as the Eagles held on for the road win.

“We had the game,” said Maines. “We gave it back, defensive mistakes and not hitting foul shots, and we forced a shot that should not have been taken.”

Warren finished with 28 points for the ’Builders, who fell to 3-10, while ter Mors chipped in 13 points.

The Eagles improved to 7-6. The Eagles were led by Damon with 16 points and J.D. Dionne chipped in 11 off the bench.

Morse’s Tom Warren (13) dribbles around Mt. Ararat’s James Singleton (11) during Saturday’s boys high school basketball game at Bath Middle School. (Eric Maxim /The Times Record)

 

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