May 21, 2018
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Junior center leads Bangor boys basketball team by Skowhegan

By Ernie Clark, BDN Staff

SKOWHEGAN, Maine —The youthful Bangor boys basketball team used stellar ball movement to secure an 84-51 Class A boys basketball victory over an even younger Skowhegan squad Friday night.

The win was the second straight for coach Ed Kohtala’s Rams, who had 22 assists on their 31 field goals — a statistic that produced high-percentage shots for junior center Conner Adams and open looks from long range, as evidenced by their 10 of 22 shooting performance from beyond the 3-point arc.

“We’re still a young team, we’re still a new team,” said Kohtala, whose roster includes just four seniors. “But one of the promising things that I thought was evident tonight is that you’re going to have nights when you shoot the three well and we did, but now when the defense runs at the 3-point shooter the ball goes inside and when the ball goes inside and the defense runs there, the ball comes back out to the 3-point shooter.

“It’s good, sound basketball, and it’s a fun way to play.”

Adams made 10 of 12 field-goal attempts to finish with 22 points and nine rebounds for 2-1 Bangor, while junior guard Alex Campbell scored 15 points and senior guard Sean Tocci added 10 — with each making three 3-pointers.

“They moved the ball well, they’ve got some guys who can hit threes, and their big guy (Adams) killed us,” said Skowhegan coach Dave Simpson. “Bangor has always moved the ball well, they get the ball from side to side quickly and they have good spacing.”

Bangor, which trailed 11-0 in its previous game at Messalonskee of Oakland before rallying for an overtime victory, scored the final nine points of the first quarter to take early control against a Skowhegan team that started a freshman and two sophomores.

Adams scored three straight inside baskets as Bangor rallied from a 12-10 deficit, then Campbell made a long 3-pointer with less than a second left in the period to give the Rams a 19-12 lead.

Skowhegan tried to hang around behind the inside play of senior center Taylor Bacon, but Bangor went on an 11-2 run early in the second quarter to extend their advantage to 30-16, with Nick Ashey and Adams each scoring after grabbing an offensive rebound and Liam Harrigan coming off the bench to contribute a 3-pointer and a drive off a Skowhegan turnover.

By halftime the Bangor lead was 44-29 thanks to 57 percent shooting from the field (17 of 30) and 50 percent accuracy from beyond the arc (7 of 14).

Bangor then outscored Skowhegan 13-2 over the first 4½ minutes of the third quarter, with Campbell and Boyce each making a 3-pointer, Adams scoring four fast-break points and Campbell converting a three-point play off a turnover to give the Rams a 57-31 cushion.

Bacon finished with 16 points and a game-high 10 rebounds for Skowhegan (1-2), while freshman guard Isaac Witham added eight points and a steady floor game.

“It may not have been reflected in the score,” said Kohtala, “but Skowhegan executed its offense very, very well. It’s a different offense than we’ve seen, but again we’re a young team so it was probably a good experience for us.

“I told the team afterward that when we can have equally unselfish play on the defensive end where we’re as quick to help as we are to share the ball on the offensive end, we’ll have a chance to be special.”

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