The Morse and Westbrook Unified basketball teams shake hands after Thursday’s game at Woolwich Central School. Westbrook came out on top, 73-64. Eric Maxim/The Times Record

WOOLWICH — In what has become a friendly rivalry between Morse and Westbrook in Unified basketball, Thursday’s clash between the two high schools was nothing less of a competitive game.

Morse’s CJ Kilton, left, drives to the hoop as Westbrook’s Kiana Whitmore defends during the first half of Thursday’s Unified basketball game at Woolwich Central School. Eric Maxim/The Times Record

The Blue Blazes took an early lead, Morse came charging back, but in the end Westbrook prevailed with a 73-64 victory at Woolwich Central School.

The score didn’t matter, everyone cheered and all played hard. Both teams congratulated each other on their play and Morse shared its cookies with the Blue Blazes afterwards.

“The beauty of this sport is that it doesn’t matter what you look like, who you are or where you come from, they try as hard as they can, and I think we sometimes lose that in a more competitive setting,” Morse’s Charlie Bingham, who also coaches with Becky Roak, Brandon Murray and Marc Anderson, said about the team’s season opener’s atmosphere.

Westbrook raced out to an early lead behind a pair of 3-point baskets from Kiana Whitmore and buckets from Keegan Mcloy. After Westbrook built a 10-point lead, the Shipbuilder coaches talked to their squad during a timeout.

“I think our kids were shocked when they saw the tall kids and felt a little intimidated,” Bingham said. “We tell the team they’re human beings just like us.”

Morse battled back, with cheerleader Olivia Eames cheering the team on, with first-half points from Chelsey Boucher, Isaac Smith and Zoe Walker, and the Shipbuilders trailed 36-26 at the half.

Comeback kids

Morse’s Chelsey Boucher looks up the floor during Thursday’s Unified basketball game against Westbrook at Woolwich Central School. Eric Maxim/The Times Record

Morse trailed by as many as 12, but early in the second half, the points started coming. Boucher hit a hoop and Elias Ware a pair, bringing a loud cheer from the crowd.

The teams traded baskets over the next several minutes as Anthony Pelletier and CJ Kilton joined in on the scoring. Westbrook, which beat Windham in its first game, kept pace with Matt Rix slicing through the lane and completing a three-point play after drawing a foul. Logan Douglas tossed in a couple of layups.

“They’re in class all day together so they’re used to each other,” Westbrook coach Allison Carmichael said about her team’s cohesiveness on the floor. “They are working on communication on the court and working as a team.”

Sophomore forward Mcloy echoed his coach’s words.

“We are coming together as a team,” Mcloy, who netted 10 points, said. “At first we didn’t talk a lot, but now we’re cheering each other on and supporting one another. Our communication is very good.”

Despite Morse’s attempts for a comeback, the clock was not in the team’s favor as Westbrook pulled away in the end for the victory.

Rix finished with a game-high 25 points for the Blue Blazes, including three baskets from behind the arc. Raheim Burke followed with 14 points and Douglas with 12. Whitmore finished with eight and Josia Profenno three — on a swish from behind the arc.

For Morse, it was all about never giving up and fighting until the end.

“We’re very passionate about basketball and our team and how everyone has a chance,” Walker said. “This team proves that. No matter what we won’t give up and that’s probably one of the best things, We’re very compassionate about each other.”
Morse’s Pelletier likes his team’s effort throughout.
“We push hard all the way through, even when we’re tired,” Pelletier said. “We push each other on the floor until the next group comes in.”

Late in the contest, Morse’s Logan Orcutt connected on a basket after several attempts. It was teamwork and good sportsmanship that landed the basket that brought on a lot of cheers from both teams on and off the floor.

Morse’s Logan Orcutt, right, folds his arms with a sense of accomplishment as he looks towards teammate CJ Kilton after hitting a layup during Thursday’s Unified basketball game against Westbrook. Eric Maxim/The Times Record

“I was happy to get the basket, but I was hoping to win against those guys,” Orcutt, who finished with four points, said.

“To watch the gentleman from the other team cheer after Logan made that shot, this is what it’s all about,” Bingham added.

The Morse scoring effort was evenly distributed amongst six Shipbuilders with Boucher, Smith, Walker, Ware, Pelletier and Kilton each scoring 10 points apiece.

The final basket of the game showed the true meaning of the game. With time time running out, Morse’s Walker went in for a layup, she missed it and Westbrook’s Jack Stone was there for the rebound. The opposing player gave the ball back to Walker and she successfully hit the basket as the buzzer sounded.

“At the end of the game, that gentleman giving Zoe the ball, it’s so great to watch,” Bingham said. “It doesn’t get much better in sports.”

Unified until the end.

Westbrook 73, Morse 64
At Woolwich Central School
Westbrook — Matt Rix 11-1-26, Dustin Tarbox 0-0-0, Josiah Profenno 1-0-3, Molli Cross 0-0-0, Kiana Whitmore 3-0-8, Keegan Mcloy 5-0-10, Logan Douglas 6-0-12, Raheim Burke 7-0-14, Whitney Poitras 0-0-0, Jacob Thranton 0-0-0, Chuli Bayak 0-0-0, Aaron Petry 0-0-0, Colby Haynes 0-0-0, Jack Stone 0-0-0, Carson Dow 0-0-0, Damen Chandler 0-0-0. Totals — 33-1-73.
Morse — Savannah McKenney 0-0-0, Chelsey Boucher 5-0-10, Emily Martin 0-0-0, Paige Faulkingham 0-0-0, Katelyn Anderson 0-0-0, Wren Tetreault 0-0-0, Isaac Smith 5-0-10, Corey Klein 0-0-0, Mollie Crosby 0-0-0, Zoe Walker 5-0-10, Alex Maccio 0-0-0, Elias Ware 5-0-10, Ben Doughty 0-0-0, Anthony Pelletier 5-0-10, CJ Kilton 5-0-10, Logan Orcutt 2-0-4. Totals — 32-0-64.
3-point baskets — (W) Rix 3, Profenno, Whitmore 2.
Team records — Westbrook 2-0, Morse 0-1.
Up next for the Shipbuilders — Tuesday at home against Oxford Hills, 3:30 p.m.
Up next for the Blue Blazes — Tuesday at Windham, 4 p.m.

Morse coach Charlie Bingham, left, and the bench of the Morse Unified team look on during the opening half of Thursday’s game against Westbrook at Woolwich Central School. Westbrook spoiled the season opener for the Shipbuilders with at 73-64 victory. Eric Maxim/The Times Record

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