EAST SULLIVAN, Maine — The high-powered offense is almost taken for granted these days with the Jonesport-Beals boys basketball team.
With All-Maine senior Garet Beal leading the way, the defending Class D state champions are averaging an old-school 77.5 points per outing through their 9-0 start after Saturday night’s 82-53 victory over Sumner at Ritchie Gymnasium.
The University of Maine-bound Beal amassed 41 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists as coach Gordon Faulkingham’s Royals started fast and never allowed a Class C Sumner team riding a three-game winning streak of its own to develop any realistic comeback hopes.
That’s because Jonesport-Beals also came up big defensively, with juniors Cole Beal and Leon Smith combining for 16 steals and helping to force 26 Sumner turnovers.
“We’re just trying to stop the ball from getting past halfcourt and to get the game to our pace,” said Smith. We’re trying to pick up the tempo of the game.”
Much of that defensive havoc came via a halfcourt trap that produced its most devastating results in the second quarter, when Jonesport-Beals outscored Sumner 25-10 to build a 46-21 halftime lead.
The 6-foot-5-inch Garet Beal capitalized as a finisher in the transition game fueled by Jonesport-Beals’ defense, scoring 14 points in the period on 5-of-7 shooting from the field.
But Smith and Cole Beal also combined for 11 points in the quarter, many coming directly off steals.
“We’ve been going over a lot of off-the-ball defense, being one pass away and getting into the passing lanes, and they’re finally buying into it and understanding it,” said Faulkingham. “I told Lee and Cole they should be scoring 10 or 12 points apiece just on steals and now they’re doing it.”
Jonesport-Beals had been susceptible to some second-half letdowns earlier this season, but not on this night.
Sumner did close to within 50-29 on a drive by Lucas Potter-Harmon and a 3-pointer by Tylor Martin with 5:37 left in the third quarter, but a quick timeout by Faulkingham ended that.
The Royals came out of the 30-second break with five unanswered points as Garet Beal made a free throw, a layup after a Cole Beal steal and another layup after a Smith rebound to restore his team to a 55-29 cushion barely a minute later.
Beal finished with 15 points in the third period en route to his fourth game of 40 or more points so far this season.
“We’ve had a couple of games where we’ve had really good first halves but just haven’t been able to close it out,” said Garet Beal, who is averaging 35.3 points per game after an evening when he shot 15 for 25 from the field, including 5 of 11 from beyond the 3-point arc.
“I think tonight is the best we’ve done with that. We built a lead early, and even though we evened out a little in the third quarter we opened it back up. This is probably one of our better team wins so far.”
Smith finished with 12 points, eight steals, seven rebounds and three blocked shots while Cole Beal had five points, eight steals and six assists for the Royals.
“I think this is one of the best games we’ve played so far,” said Smith. “We didn’t come out for the second half real flat, we kept pushing and grinding the whole game.”
Sophomore forward Sam Smith paced 4-5 Sumner with 18 points, while Martin added 13 points and Justin Chipman had eight points, nine rebounds and three blocks.