May 26, 2018
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Tigers rain 3s for win


THORNDIKE — It may not have been Rockland’s best performance to date of the schoolboy basketball season.

But a few too many turnovers and some foul trouble weren’t anything 60 percent shooting from beyond the 3-point arc couldn’t overcome.

Senior forward Anderson Murphy scored 22 points and grabbed seven rebounds and the Tigers made 12 of their 20 attempts from long distance to outlast stubborn Mount View 83-68 in a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B battle Tuesday night.

Murphy made 4-of-6 3-point tries, three after intermission after Mount View had rallied from an early 12-point deficit to within 37-35 at the end of a free-flowing first half.

“We’ve got some good 3-point shooters,” said fifth-year Rockland coach Matt Breen. “We don’t like to rely on that so much, but our big men got in foul trouble and Anderson Murphy plays a big man, so we were setting screens and getting switches for him and they weren’t following him to the top. We rode that as long as we could.”

Junior point guard Chris Nolan added 16 points for Rockland, while senior guard Teel Ilvonen scored 13 and senior guard Nick Baudanza had 12 points and nine assists for the 5-2 Tigers. Ilvonen and Baudanza each made three 3-pointers, while Nolan connected on both of his attempts from beyond the arc.

Ilvonen played a personal game of 3-point H-O-R-S-E at the outset of play, making 3-pointers from the right corner, the top of the key and the left corner in the game’s first 2 minutes, 4 seconds to stake Rockland to an instant 9-0 lead.

The Tigers then went inside with senior center Tyler Patterson scoring on a low-post move and Murphy adding a followup basket as the margin grew to 14-2.

But things came almost too easy for Rockland, which began committing both fouls and turnovers to stem its own momentum and give a Mount View team with no seniors on its roster reason to hope.

“This team has a knack for that,” said Breen. “We come out intense and start to get a good lead and then let our guard down. That’s where we’re trying to learn to be a good team, because a good team will come out and shut the door once you build that kind of a lead.”

And coach Steve Caron’s Mustangs — who made just one 3-pointer in their 13 attempts — took full advantage, particularly at the free-throw line.

Mount View made 11 of 14 free throws in the first half, and junior forwards Zach Babin and Michael Cochrane combined for 22 points and 10 rebounds before intermission.

A jumper by Babin with 1:45 left in the second quarter drew the Mustangs as close as they would get at 35-34.

Rockland got off to another fast start after the break, with Nolan making a 3-pointer 11 seconds into the third quarter and Baudanza converting a fast-break layup after a steal by Dylan Meklin to extend the Tigers’ lead to 42-35.

Mount View hung around for the next few minutes until Rockland unleashed one more barrage of 3-point possessions, starting with long-range shots by Baudanza and Murphy and a three-point play by reserve guard Lincoln Dresser, who was fouled while making a fast-break layup.

Murphy followed with another 3-point goal with 2 seconds left in the period to cap off a 13-2 run that gave Rockland a 64-50 lead.

Cochrane, who was sidelined briefly after being hit from behind while taking a breakaway layup, finished the night with 23 points and nine rebounds, while Babin scored 21 points — making 11 of 14 free throws — and grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds.

Junior forward Jimmy Durand added 12 points for the 2-5 Mustangs, while junior point guard Dylan Keller dished out seven assists.

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