BATH — It was a comeback to remember for the Mt. Ararat boys basketball team on Monday night.

After being down by as much as 14 in the first quarter and 13 in the third, the Eagles roared back to secure a 42-37 victory at Bath Middle School.

“It was made possible by our defense in the second half,” said Mt. Ararat junior forward Brandon Emerson, who finished with eight points. “Our offense was lacking but our defense really made up for it.”

Mt. Ararat head coach Dave Dubreuil and his team made the proper adjustments in the second half, mainly on the defensive side of the ball. 

“We spaced our guys out and moved the ball quicker, our shots fell and the bench brought the energy to support the guys on the floor,” said Dubreuil, whose team outscored Morse 27-9 in the final quarter and a half of action. 

It was another back-and-forth affair between the two sides. The Eagles will end the season with a 2-0 record against the Shipbuilders, but only outscored them by a total of seven points over those two games.

“It’s always a competitive matchup with Morse no matter what these two teams look like year in and year out,” said Dubreuil. “It’s just a part of the rivalry and the spirit that comes with playing against these guys.”

Although they faltered late, Morse head coach Chris York was proud of the way his team competed during portions of Monday’s game.

“The guys have a lot to be proud of tonight,” York said. “We played about 16 minutes of some great basketball, now we have to sustain that type of play over the course of a 32 minute game.”

The Shipbuilders made some noticeable adjustments compared to the last time the two teams faced by rolling out a 1-3-1 zone on defense, and switching up the positions of the starters by moving Gabe Aucoin down into the post, who played mainly point guard when they played in Topsham.

Ty Henke of Mt. Ararat, right, shoots over Sawyer Stead and Josh Johnson of Morse during a boys basketball game on Monday in Bath. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

“I was getting double teamed a lot when we last played, so we moved me down low to get me the ball in the paint to hinder the incoming help defender,” said Aucoin, who led the Shipbuilders with 19 points, including 10 in the first quarter alone. 

It’ll be a loss that the Shipbuilders will be thinking about for quite some time, as their eight point halftime lead grew to 13 in the third quarter before letting their lead slip away in the final 12 minutes of action.

“They got to the loose balls, our shot selection wasn’t great, and they had some second chance points that hurt us late,” York said. “We had our moments and there’s a lot to be proud of, but at the same time we all have to take a look in the mirror to see where we can improve.”

The Eagles comeback became real late in the third quarter, when they went on a 19-2 run at the end of the frame that stretched into the fourth to take the lead. 

“Our guys really stepped up tonight, especially down the stretch when it was intense, we didn’t let the pressure get the best of us,” added Emerson. 

After Aucoin made a pair of free throws to make the score 34-30 Morse with just under five minutes to go, the Eagles took the lead behind a Ty Henke three, an Emerson free throw, and a Ryan Robertson jumper to take the lead. 

Robertson’s midrange jumper on the baseline with 1:59 to go made the score 37-36 and gave the Eagles the lead, ultimately for good. 

“The guys kept their composure and didn’t let the moment get the best of them, we’ve really improved in that aspect,” added Dubreuil. 

The Shipbuilders did everything they could to stay alive, but after a Jace Hollenbach layup on one end to push the Eagles’ lead to three, Morse guard Tom Guild committed an offensive foul which the Morse bench didn’t agree with, and was hit with a technical foul.

Henke hit one free throw to push the lead to four, all but sealing the comeback victory on the road for the Eagles.

Henke paced the Eagles offense with 17 points. Emerson added eight, Carson Taylor had seven, and Hollenbach chipped in with six. Aucoin led the Shipbuilders and all scorers with his 19. Elliot Dorr added six for Morse, and Josh ter Mors had four.  

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