OLD TOWN, Maine — The last 12 days had produced plenty of misery for the Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln boys basketball team.
After starting the season 7-1, the Lynx endured five straight losses — including two in double-overtime and two others by one and two points.
Mattanawcook was on the brink of heartbreak again Thursday night, but senior guard Brady Vose tied the game with six seconds left in regulation and scored the first five points of overtime to lift the Lynx past Old Town 63-50 at MacKenzie Gymnasium.
“It just feels good,” said first-year MA head coach Ryan Libby. “I don’t care how it goes down, it just goes down as a ‘W,’ and hopefully it gets us rolling because we’re a very good basketball game, we’ve just been unfortunate with some of our games lately.”
Vose, the leading scorer in the Big East Conference at 22 points per game entering the contest, finished the night with 33 points — his fourth game with at least 30 this season.
“Coach told me to get to the gym today because I had a sluggish start against Presque Isle [a 42-40 loss Monday],” said Vose. “I really didn’t get off to a good start in that game at all, so I got to the gym today and just put up a lot of shots and I felt a good rhythm going on. After I hit one shot, it just felt like the hoop was huge.”
Kane McKinnon added nine points and nine rebounds for the Lynx, while Lance Bernier had seven points and five rebounds,
Lucas Bartlett paced 2-11 Old Town with 14 points, while Josh Boucher had 12 points and five rebounds and Bronson Merry also scored 12 points.
Vose made five consecutive shots — including three 3-pointers — during a 15-2 run that gave the Lynx their largest lead at 27-13 with 2:55 left in the first half.
But Old Town limited MA to one Bernier basket during the rest of the period, and an inside basket by Merry and a 3-pointer by Zak Kochis in the final minute drew the Coyotes to within 29-20 at the break.
And Old Town kept coming, with back-to-back 3-pointers by Bartlett and Merry pulling the Coyotes within 32-30 midway through the third quarter.
Vose, meanwhile, was the focus of some aggressive man-to-man defense after intermission, particularly by sophomore forward Ryan Boyington. After taking 14 shots en route to his 17-point first half, the 5-foot-10 guard managed just six shots good for seven points in the second half.
“Coach told me just to relax and let the ball come to me, they’ll find me,” said Vose. “I just tried to post that kid up and he did an awesome job on defense.”
MA (8-6) rebuilt a seven-point lead in the fourth quarter, but Old Town rallied with nine unanswered points to take its first lead since 7-2. Boucher stole an inbounds pass and scored, then converted a fast-break layup into a three-point play.
Bartlett hit a layup with 33 seconds left to tie the game, then stole the ball at midcourt and drove for another basket to give the Coyotes a 47-45 lead with 13 seconds left.
But MA broke Old Town’s fullcourt press after a timeout, with Bernier getting the ball to Vose for a game-tying layup with six seconds left.
“We got a little lazy holding onto the ball, and when [Bartlett] laid that in I was like, ‘here we go again,’” said Libby. “I just told the kids to believe in themselves and execute an end-of-the-game play that we always do. We almost scored with a little too much time left, but I wanted to get a shot off early in case we missed.”
Vose got more open space at the outset of overtime, getting a three-point play off a post-up move and then converting a baseline drive to give the Lynx a 52-47 lead.
Bartlett made two free throws to cut Old Town’s deficit to three, but Logan Hanington scored from the lane and the Lynx made 9 of 11 free throws to pull away.
“We’ve been struggling quite a bit, but some guys stepped up and we played all right today,” said Vose. “This was a really big win for us because we’ve got a bunch of tough games coming up and we need every single one.”