OLD TOWN, Maine — After losing three games by a total of seven points early on this season, the Old Town boys have reversing that trend.
Wednesday night, they put a lot of things together and got rolling early to make it look easy in a 51-30 basketball victory over Bucksport at MacKenzie Gym.
Senior guard Josh Boucher scored 14 of his game-high 23 points in the first quarter, his Coyotes shot 75 percent from the field, and Old Town harassed Bucksport with sustained man-to-man defensive pressure to race out to a 20-2 lead.
“We played good, hard-nosed defense and then the offense just came,” said Boucher, who also had six rebounds. “We just played a lot of help-side defense and fronted their big guys as much as possible.
“I think that’s the hardest we’ve worked overall in a while.”
Junior guard Kyle Abbott chipped in with 12 points and four rebounds — eight and all four, respectively, in the second half.
Luke Bartlett finished up with seven points and five assists for the 4-3 Coyotes, who have now won three straight games.
“Defense was the real key for us today,” said Old Town head coach Marty Clark. “We played better man-to-man defense with our rotation and help defense than we have so far this season.”
Bucksport hit just three of 14 shots in the first half and committed 13 of its 19 total turnovers in the half.
“They did a great job of overplaying the passing lanes and getting a lot of ball pressure going,” said Bucksport coach Josh Tripp, whose Bucks are now 1-5. “We were playing at their pace instead of ours.”
The Bucks righted their ship in the middle quarters, actually outscoring Old Town 15-11 in the third, but it was the ‘bookend’ quarters that hurt most.
“We scored four in the first and four in the fourth,” Tripp said. “I told the kids they can feel good about the middle quarters, but if you want to win varsity games, you have to turn in 32 solid minutes.”
The Bucks matched up well with the Coyotes, size-wise, with 6-foot-3 forward Brandon Flegel and 6-4 sophomore Mat Swazey along with three other players 6-feet or taller, but couldn’t exploit their size advantage.
The Coyotes outrebounded the Bucks 27-19.
“We did a really good job rebounding overall,” said Boucher. “And offensively, “I think they were worried more about backdoor passes and that left the perimeter open.”
Old Town shot 30 percent from 3-point range and 51.2 percent from the field overall.
Flegel led the Bucks with 13 points, eight rebounds, and two blocked shots. Cody Farrell had eight points and four assists.
Even with a solid third quarter, Bucksport, which switched to a 2-3 zone defense to disrupt Old Town’s offensive momentum, was never able to whittle the deficit down to any more than 16 points.
“We missed too many 1-and-1’s even though our overall foul shooting was okay,” said Tripp, whose team got into the bonus early with 1:25 left in the third.
The Bucks missed their first two 1-and-1’s and eight of 10 free throws in the second half.
Old Town committed 12 total turnovers.
“We’ve averaged seven turnovers a game the last few games so we’re doing a great job taking care of the ball,” said Clark.