Mt. Ararat’s Jace Hollenbach (2) guards Brunswick’s Noah Goddard during Saturday night’s KVAC boys basketball game at Topsham. In the final regular season game inside “The Hangar,” the visiting Dragons defeated the Eagles, 52-42. (Bob Conn / The Times Record)

TOPSHAM — Saturday night’s latest chapter of the “Battle of the Bridge” rivalry between Brunswick and Mt. Ararat might not have featured classic contests.

However, in the final regular-season games inside Mt. Ararat’s gymnasium called “The Hangar,” the pre-game ceremonies showed off the history of Eagles basketball, with former coaches adding to the fans enjoyment in between the girls and boys varsity contests.

Brunswick took care of business, with the girls battling back from a slow start for a 55-37 Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference victory over the improving Eagles, while the Dragon boys rallied from a seven-point first-quarter deficit for a 52-42 KVAC win.

There were really no losers on this night, as the packed Hangar was loud from the opening tip of the girls game and stayed strong through four hours of often intense basketball, where nearly every inch of the court was contested.

“It was really cool to see all the people come back to Mt. Ararat. I have a lot of good memories. All those coaches, starting with Warren Cossette, six or seven of them along with many of the great players who played here. It was really well done,” said longtime Brunswick coach Todd Hanson, who as a visiting coach has likely coached the most games at the “The Hangar.”

“Being an alumni of this school, I take a lot of pride in being here,” added Mt. Ararat coach Dave Dubreuil, who showed a bit of emotion as he looked out onto the court where he played his share of basketball games.

Girls game

The festivities began with the Mt. Ararat senior girls being honored on Senior Night. Five Eagles played their final Mt. Ararat regular season basketball game.

Mt. Ararat’s Jaden Lohr (25) reaches high for the ball in front of Brunswick’s Lexi Guptill in Saturday’;s KVAC girls basketball game at Topsham. The Dragons earned a 52-37 win. Both teams will play in the MPA Class A South postseason, with the Eagles hosting Fryeburg Academy in a preliminary contest on Wednesday at 6 p.m. Brunswick, seeded fifth, heads to the Portland Expo to face No. 4 Gray-New Gloucester in the quarterfinals on Feb. 17 at 7 p.m. (Bob Conn / The Times Record)

The game started well for Mt. Ararat, which used a 7-0 run for a 7-3 lead with 4:15 remaining in the frame. The Eagles answered the Dragons throughout that opening frame, claiming a 12-10 edge behind three points each from Alexa Eaton and Lauren Magno.

A concern for Mt. Ararat (8-10) coach Julie Petrie was Brunswick’s ability to grab loose balls in the paint. The Dragons had 10 offensive boards in the first eight minutes, but made just 3-of-22 shots from the field.

Brunswick found its game in the second quarter. Sophomore guard Logan Brown missed her first five shots from long distance, but managed to get inside for a hoop-and-harm near the end of the first quarter. She made her first two 3-pointers in the second as Brunswick outscored Mt. Ararat, 23-6, for a 33-18 halftime lead.

“Though nothing went in during the first quarter, I felt that we made all the hustle plays,” said Brunswick coach Sam Farrell. ” Kendahl (Dow) came in off the bench and got to several loose balls, along with Lanye (Brewer), Lexi (Guptill), Logan (Brown), Morgan (Foster). You need to do that when you are not shooting well. Every kid off the bench, whether it was Kendahl, Kelsey Sullivan, Mackenzie Dorr came in and made a play, and those starters that were on the bench were cheering along.”

“We had a horrible second quarter, and we were not blocking out. It was frantic after that first quarter.

Brunswick’s Kendahl Dow (42) makes a pass against Mt. Ararat on Saturday at Topsham. (Bob Conn / The Times Record)

You can’t give a team two or three chances. It is frustrating,” said Petrie.

Brown nailed back-to-back treys early in the third quarter, stretching the Dragon (15-3) lead to 39-20. Magno tried to keep her team in it with four third-quarter points.

“Logan is the type of player that can’t have a conscious. Her teammates keep looking for her. She just needs to keep shooting.”

“Offensive rebounds opens up everything for us,” said Brown, who led the Dragons with 22 points. “Making the first shot gave me some confidence after missing my first few. We work together as a team and we have all bounded. We have confidence in everyone who is on the court. It was really loud. It felt good to win against our rival, and the atmosphere was great here.”

“We were feeling good early, but I felt that we got too overconfident,” said Magno, who paced the Eagles with 12 points and five rebounds.

Mt. Ararat, which finished as the No. 8 seed in Class A South, hosts No. 9 Fryeburg Academy, which finished 3-15 out of the Western Maine Conference.

“We will need to play better defense on Wednesday to beat Fryeburg,” said Magno.

“We need to do the fundamentals on Wednesday. After today, they don’t get another chance if we don’t do the fundamentals,” said Petrie.

Foster had 11 points for Brunswick.

Boys game

The Brunswick boys had a similar start as the girls, dropping into an early hole after a 3-of-11 shooting performance in the opening frame. Caleb Manuel’s four points, along with a 3-pointer from Jace Hollenbach, had Mt. Ararat ahead 15-8 after a quarter.

Brunswick’s defense stood tall in the second as the Eagles made just one field goal and committed four turnovers. The defensive pressure allowed the Dragons to cut into the Mt. Ararat advantage as the Eagles carried a 23-19 lead to the break.

“We hang our hats on our defensive ability, and we were sure that was going to win the game,” said Hanson.

Behind Evan Kilfoil’s 10 third-quarter points,. Brunswick rallied in the third quarter. Kilfoil completed a three-point play, then softly lofted a left-handed floater into the net for a 28-27 Dragon lead. James Belanger scored from the outside, and Kilfoil answered a James Singleton bucket for a 32-29 Brunswick edge.

Mt. Ararat refused to go away, with Jared Withers scoring while being fouled to tie it, then making a free throw for a 34-33 Mt. Ararat lead heading to the fourth.

“We’ve always wanted to be known as the team that may not have the wins but is a tough team to play,” said Dubreuil after his Eagles finished 3-15. “Some of the these games were meaningless, but these guys played hard all the way through. You can’t teach heart.”

Goddard took over in the fourth for Brunswick. He drilled a long 3-pointer that rolled around the rim twice before falling in for a 38-34 advantage, then swished a fade-away trey with 5:35 remaining for a five-point lead, 41-36. His final field goal made for a 49-39 contest as the Dragons pulled away.

“I am really proud of Noah. He was a true leader tonight and played well on both ends of the floor,” said Hanson. “We held them without a field goal in the fourth quarter, so defense was the key. Once we made them uncomfortable things started going our way.”

“We wanted to end it well,” said Goddard, who had 16 points, five rebounds and four steals for the Dragons, including 11 points in the fourth quarter. “I love this sport. It was a fun season and we won the rivalry games, which is big for us.”

Both the Dragons and Eagles failed to advance to the postseason in the tough Class A South region. Brunswick finished 9-9.

“We are disappointed that we are not moving on to the postseason, but we are happy to have ended the season with a win. Not many teams can say that,” Hanson said.

Singleton led Mt. Ararat with eight points, while JD Dionne finished with seven points, eight rebounds, two assists and two steals. Lukas Holman picked up six points and 11 rebounds.

 

 

 

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