BANGOR, Maine — The Bangor boys needed an “inside man” if they were going to notch their first victory of the season Friday night and they found one in Clark Noonan.
The senior forward had a double-double to lead the Rams to a 39-27 basketball victory over Lawrence of Fairfield at Red Barry Gymnasium.
The Rams scored nine of the first 11 points in the game and beat back a couple of comeback attempts by Lawrence in the first and second half to even their record at 1-1.
The 6-foot-6 Noonan dominated the boards and the paint with 18 points on 9-for-11 shooting and 18 rebounds — 13 coming in the second half despite playing 30 of the 32 minutes.
“We knew they’re not a very big team so we wanted to take advantage of that and pound it inside as much as possible,” said Noonan. “They did a pretty good job doubling on me and trying to keep us away, but I think we did a pretty good job.”
That they did, when they weren’t turning the ball over.
“We keep trying to correct that, but the kids are still trying to make it happen when it’s not there,” said Bangor coach Roger Reed. “We need to play with more patience on offense, take better care of the ball and have better shot selection.”
Bangor committed 20 turnovers in the game while Lawrence had 10, just three of which came in the second half.
“I think we really bothered Bangor tonight with our defensive pressure and forced them into some uncharacteristic things for a Bangor team,” said Lawrence coach Mike McGee.
Although the Bulldogs are 0-3, McGee saw reasons for optimism in his team’s play.
“We knew if they could set up their post people and get it inside, we were in trouble,” McGee said. “They hit their first four on layups and I thought it would be a long night, but we battled back.”
Bangor led 17-7 one minute into the second quarter, but the Bulldogs hit back-to-back 3-pointers to spur a 7-0 run and close within four (17-13) with five minutes left in the first half. Bangor took a 19-13 lead into halftime and expanded it to 24-14 79 second into the second half, but the Bulldogs had one more run left in them and made it 28-22 to start the fourth after Christian Powers hit two 3-pointers and scored all eight points in an 8-4 scoring flurry to close out the third.
That was as close as Lawrence would get as Bangor went back inside with Noonan and 6-4 junior forward Zach Blodgett, who teamed up to score eight of Bangor’s 11 fourth-quarter points.
“Their size bothered us, but we’re not going to see too many teams with that kind of size this season,” said McGee. “With just one guy coming back who played a lot last year, it’s taking awhile for us to get it together offensively. We just didn’t make shots, and we had some open 3’s and layups.”
Lawrence shot 18.4 percent (9-for-49) from the floor while the Rams shot 45.9 percent for the game.
“I don’t think we’re in our best shape and our offense is struggling right now, but at this stage, we’ll take anything we can get,” said Reed.
McGee said he thinks both squads have similar problems to work out.
“We’re a couple schools with football teams that go far into the season so I think what you saw tonight was a couple teams that still had some football pads on,” he explained.
Not that McGee was without any offense. Senior guard Christian Powers hit three of seven 3-point shots en route to 12 points. Bobby Belanger had five points and seven rebounds.
Blodgett finished with 13 points and four boards for the Rams.