ROCKPORT, Maine — The expectations are high for the Camden Hills boys basketball team, but so far no problem.
The Windjammers, facing their second test against a local rival in three nights, turned on the offensive jets before a standing-room only crowd of 1,200 Thursday evening, as sophomore center Tyler McFarland scored a career-high 28 points to lead Camden Hills to an 81-57 victory over Rockland.
The win, two days after a 57-34 victory over another Class B contender in Medomak Valley of Waldoboro, improves coach Jeff Hart’s club to 5-0 on the season.
“In that win on the road against a very good Medomak team, we played great defense,” said Hart. “Tonight’s game had a different tempo. We didn’t play our best game defensively, but offensively we played well.”
The 6-foot-5 McFarland used his strength to get superior position near the basket, and was rewarded with a 10-for-14 night from the field as he worked in concert with 6-5 senior Gordon Fischer, a former post player now spending much of his time on the perimeter.
“You have to try to guard Gordon with someone with some size, and T-Mac allows us to put Gordon on the perimeter where he’s really good and getting better,” said Hart. “I thought they ran out of big bodies tonight and T-Mac got into a good rhythm and we kept getting him the ball.”
Sophomore guard Graham Safford added 19 points for the Windjammers, who shot 64 percent (29-45). Fischer, who earlier this week gained early-decision acceptance to Colby College in Waterville, added 17 points, 13 rebounds, and fivc of his team’s 17 assists.
“With the hometown rivalry, we came out with a lot of intensity, of course,” said Fischer. “It’s probably the most pumped up we’ve been this season, but its just one more game, so we really tried to come out the way we have for all our games.”
“We were able to get a lot of assists because we move the ball around and we also rebounded well.”
Camden Hills never trailed after Taylor Gartley hit a 3-pointer to give the Windjammers a 3-0 lead.
Camden Hills mixed its man-to-man defense with fullcourt zone pressure to get Rockland into an uptempo affair, but foul trouble to point guard Chris Nolan hurt the Tigers’ ability to maintain a consistent offensive flow.
Rockland (3-2) hung within 22-11 by the end of the first quarter before Camden Hills began working the ball inside to McFarland. He scored 12 points in the second period, including four assisted baskets and an offensive putback.
“When I get the ball down low, I feel confident to make the right decisions, and I like the fact that my teammates trust me to do the right thing when I get the ball,” said McFarland.
Camden Hills held a 44-29 halftime lead and pushed that margin to as much as 61-38 midway through the third quarter on three straight inside baskets by McFarland – two assisted by senior guard Kiefer Lammi.
Rockland closed out the period with a 10-2 run including back-to-back 3-pointers by Teel Ilvonen and Lucas Morrill, to get back within 63-48.
But the Tigers could get no closer than 15 the rest of the way.
Ilvonen led Rockalnd with 13 points while Nick Baudanza and Dylan Meklin each scored nine.
“We knew they were going to be the toughest test of the season,” said Safford. “The offense was solid tonight. The defense could’ve been a little better, but we played a solid game.”