THORNDIKE, Maine — With just one practice this week for preparation’s sake, the Mount View boys basketball team wasn’t sure it was ready for its biggest challenge of the season Friday night.
But who needs practice.
Senior point guard Dylan Keller, frustrated by foul trouble throughout the evening, made his only field goal of the game with 44 seconds left to give Mustangs the lead for good as they stunned previously unbeaten Camden Hills of Rockport 49-47 in a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference showdown.
The loss ended a 35-game winning streak for the Windjammers, who went 22-0 last winter while rolling to the Class B state title and were off to a 13-0 start this season — with every victory by double digits.
“They were obviously very hungry and very determined,” said Camden Hills coach Jeff Hart of Mount View. “We’ve got a big target on our chests every night, and I’m not going to say anything that takes credit away from them.
“They worked hard and got a big win for themselves. We’ve got to go back to work.”
Keller’s lone basket, a jumper from near the free-throw line, gave Mount View a one-point lead just after Camden Hills star Tyler McFarland had stolen the ball and driven in for a three-point play to give Eastern Maine Class B’s top-ranked team a 47-46 edge.
“They hadn’t really given me anything the whole night, and I couldn’t hit a shot,” said Keller. “But that’s a shot my coach has been having me shoot and shoot in practice, because that’s the kind shot I’m going to get.
“Once I got past halfcourt I knew I was going to shoot it.”
Keller added 1 of 2 from the line to give the Mustangs a two-point edge with 23 seconds left.
Camden Hills got off three shots in the final seconds, including a desperation heave from the left corner by Cameron Gartley that went in but was ruled just after the final buzzer.
“I was so worried about that last shot going in,” said Mount View senior forward Tim Alton. “I was right by [Gartley] when he shot but I looked at the clock and it was all zeroes.”
Michael Cochrane finished with 18 points to pace Mount View’s offense, while Alton had 10 points and 11 rebounds and Zach Babin also scored 10 points.
“One of the things we do the best is attack the basket, we’ve done it well all year long, but we were also patient and we shot well tonight, said Mount View coach Steve Caron. “We attacked the basket well, we protected the basketball, we finished well and we played tenacious defense.”
The Mustangs (10-3) had to withstand a monster game from McFarland, a junior center who amassed game-high totals of 23 points, 13 rebounds and eight blocked shots.
Keegan Pieri added 14 points and 10 rebounds, but the Windjammers shot 0 of 12 from 3-point land and Mount View was able to collapse its defense inside to provide help against the two Camden Hills big men.
“It was mostly weak-side help,” said Alton. “They have a lot of big guys, but we got a lot of help defensively on the weak side against them. That was a big, big part of the game.”
Coming off a one-point loss in its last outing a week ago to a Waterville team that entered that contest with just two wins, Mount View had endured a week of frustration with little practice time to vent.
“We had Monday and Tuesday off, then Wednesday was a snow day and we finally had practice Thursday,” said Keller. “We were kind of under prepared for this game and we were a little worried, but we pulled it off.”
Indeed, Mount View withstood Camden Hills’ intense defense throughout the contest – committing just 14 turnovers — and the Mustangs scored the final six points of the third quarter to take a 38-33 advantage, its largest lead of the night.
But Camden Hills scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter to take a 40-38 lead on a followup basket by Pieri with 5:45 left.
Cochrane scored eight points over the next four minutes, the last two a jumper to give the Mustangs a 46-44 lead with 1:45 remaining.