Bangor defense shuts down Mt. Blue

Posted Feb. 08, 2011, at 11:14 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 09, 2011, at 12:07 p.m.

BANGOR — The Bangor boys basketball team used its defense to jump out to an early double-digit lead against Mt. Blue of Farmington at Red Barry Gymnasium on Tuesday night.

The Rams then relied on the offensive firepower of Zach Blodgett and Tristan Thomas to preserve their 16th consecutive victory.

Blodgett scored 26 points — 15 in the third quarter — and Thomas added 21 — 12 in the fourth quarter — as Bangor earned a 63-47 victory over the Cougars in a battle of two of Eastern Maine Class A’s top four teams.

The win leaves Bangor (16-1) comfortably atop the division heading into its regular-season finale against Brewer at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Bangor Auditorium.

Mt. Blue, which is all but certain to finish fourth in the final Eastern A Heal points, is 13-4.

“If you get way behind Bangor you’re in trouble, they’re a difficult team to play catch-up against,” said veteran Mt. Blue coach Jim Bessey. “They take very good care of the basketball, they’re very disciplined on the offensive end.”

Blodgett shot 9 of 16 from the field overall — including four 3-pointers from the left corner during a four-minute stretch of the third quarter when Bangor extended its 27-16 halftime lead to as many as 19 points.

Thomas, meanwhile, began the game by driving aggressively to the basket, and ended the evening by making eight consecutive free throws during the fourth quarter after Mt. Blue had narrowed the gap to 51-41 with 4:16 remaining.

“In the fall league for AAU with coach (Carl) Parker, my 3-point shot was on spot, but for the season with Bangor it hasn’t been quite there,” said Thomas. “I need to help my team not only defensively but on offense, too, so I’ve started to take to the basket. I realize I’m a lot quicker now after all the training in the mornings, so taking it to the basket has really enhanced my game.”

Bangor’s defense, which had yielded an average of just 35 points per contest in the first 15 games since its 65-52 opening-game loss at Hampden, focused its attention on Mt. Blue forward Cam Sennick and limited the Cougars’ big man to 5-of-15 shooting from the field, including 1 of 6 in the first quarter as the Rams built a 20-7 advantage.

“He tried to do a little too much himself early, and took some shots that weren’t on balance,” said Mt. Blue coach Jim Bessey. “He’s a very good player, but he hurried himself a little bit. I think he wanted to win so badly that he put too much on his shoulders.”

Sennick’s presence did induce Bangor into some early foul trouble to frontcourt players Blodgett, Josiah Hartley and Patrick Stewart, but the Rams got some quality contributions from Sean Mackintosh and Seth Freudenberger to fill that void.

“Our big guys got in some foul trouble and had to sit down,” said Thomas, “but our bench came in and gave us great minutes.”

Sennick finished with 14 points for Mt. Blue, while junior point guard Eric Berry added 10.

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