Cam Hathaway of Brunswick looks to pass while Parker Bate of Mt. Ararat defends during a basketball game Monday in Topsham. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

TOPSHAM — It was the game that both sides had been waiting for since the Brunswick schedule was released at the beginning of February. After all, it is a rivalry game.

“That always plays a role in bringing some extra motivation for the guys and the coaching staff,” said Brunswick boys basketball coach Todd Hanson, whose team took home a 46-38 victory over Mt. Ararat on Monday. “We’ve been waiting for this game since our season began.”

It looked as though the Dragons had been waiting a long time for this one, jumping out to a 13-2 lead after the first quarter and never looked back, lengthening their lead up to as many as 17 points in the middle of the third quarter. 

“I was really impressed with our defensive intensity, we really set the tone on that end of the floor which was the key in getting off to such a great start,” Hanson said. “We didn’t quite close it out how we’d like to, but it’s a learning experience and an opportunity for us to continue to get better.”

The Eagles made a run in the fourth quarter to keep it close, outscoring the Dragons 16-7 in the frame, but it was too little too late. 

“We really stepped our energy up at the end and wanted it more down the stretch,” said Mt. Ararat senior guard Jace Hollenbach. “Anytime we play those guys we want the bragging rights, so it’ll just give us some more motivation for the game later in the week.”

Jace Hollenbach of Mt. Ararat, right, drives past Cody Larson of Brunswick during a basketball game Monday in Topsham. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

It was a slow start for both sides, as the first points weren’t scored until over three minutes into the game. The Dragons jumped out to a quick 9-0 lead, prompting for Mt. Ararat head coach Dave Dubreuil to call a timeout. The Dragons continued to pour the points on, but the Eagles went on a 7-2 run at the end of the half to keep the game close.

“We were a little rusty coming out of the gate and made it harder on ourselves,” added Hollenbach. “Some shots just didn’t fall, that’s basketball”.

The Eagles chipped away in the third, but a late 8-0 Brunswick run pushed the lead back to 17 going into the fourth quarter.

After a Cody Larson layup to push the Dragons lead to 15, the Eagles went on a 9-2 run in the final minutes, but a Larson layup plus the foul with 57 seconds remaining was all but the dagger to secure a Brunswick victory.

“There’s really no better feeling to come into their place and come out with a victory,” said Dragons guard Evan Kilfoil, who struggled to find his shot but finished with 10 points. “I’ll remember this game as what not to do and build on that, I should probably be a little less aggressive when driving through the lane.”

It was senior night for Mt. Ararat. The team’s lone senior, Hollenbach, bowed out of his final career home game with 16 points. Hollenbach was honored prior to the game with a small ceremony at center court with his family. 

“It felt good to have my family there,” said an emotional Hollenbach after the game. “It’s really an honor to have worn this uniform out here with all my guys and to have played varsity basketball here at Mt. Ararat.”

Kilfoil and Thomas Harvey paced the Dragons with 10 points and Wes Cooper added eight. Ty Henke had seven points, and Carson Taylor added six points for the Eagles.

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