THORNDIKE, Maine — During the infrequent times the Camden Hills of Rockport boys basketball team has struggled during its last decade and a half of dominance within Eastern Maine Class B, the antidote typically has been the same — a dose of amped-up defensive pressure.
The Windjammers used that tactic again Saturday afternoon to surge past previously undefeated Mount View 56-45.
Mount View used solid defense of its own and an effective halfcourt offense to build a 26-23 halftime lead.
But Camden Hills extended its trapping man-to-man defense from halfcourt to fullcourt at the outset of the third quarter with devastating results.
The Windjammers limited the Mustangs to 1-of-16 shooting and forced eight turnovers while scoring 15 unanswered points to build a 41-28 lead by the end of the period.
“We turned our pressure up a little bit and maybe got them playing a game they didn’t want to play,” said Camden Hills coach Jeff Hart. “They were pretty comfortable running their halfcourt offense in the first half, so we wanted to try to take them out of that and I think they took some shots that maybe coach [Chad] Larrabee didn’t want them to take.”
Mount View got no closer than 11 points the rest of the way.
“We came out of the locker room at halftime really determined to pull away, and we made a good run starting with our defense,” said Camden Hills senior forward Chandler Crans. “Our fullcourt defense looked really good in the second half, and everything we did on offense came off that defense.”
Crans scored eight of his 11 points during the third quarter, mostly in transition after turnovers or when the taller Windjammers looked to fast break after grabbing defensive rebounds.
Jayson Kuhn, a senior guard on the comeback trail from anterior cruciate ligament surgery, added six points during the period.
Much of that decisive run was orchestrated by 6-foot-3-inch senior Colin Morse, who had four assists and four rebounds in the quarter from his new position with the Windjammers, point guard.
“I’m one of the guys who can bring the ball up effectively against pressure and I’m happy to take on the role,” said Morse, who finished the game with four points, eight assists, 12 rebounds and three blocked shots. “It’s going good so far, and I think I’m getting better.”
Reserve guard Yani Stancioff added 11 points for 3-1 Camden Hills, while senior center John Hall had 10 points and eight rebounds.
Junior forward Nathan Wren led Mount View with 11 points and 11 rebounds, while junior guard Brody Gibbs also scored 11 points and junior forward Steven Davis had 10 points, eight rebounds and four steals.
Davis had seven points, three steals and two blocked shots during a first half that featured runs by both clubs.
Mount View, with a first-year head coach in Larrabee and a roster that included just three seniors, had won its first three games coming into this matchup against a Camden Hills program that has won six state titles and nine Eastern Maine crowns in the last 16 years.
The youthful Mustangs fell behind 8-3 before capitalizing on early Windjammer turnovers to score 10 unanswered points to take a 13-8 lead in the opening seconds of the second quarter.
Freshman Emmett Shell came off the Mustangs’ bench to hit a 3-pointer and a baseline runner during that run, but Camden Hills countered by outscoring Mount View 12-3 to take a 20-16 advantage on a steal and drive by Stancioff midway through the period.
But the Mustangs had the last run of the half, outscoring Camden Hills 10-2 during the next six minutes to grab a 26-22 lead when Gibbs drove for a three-point play.
A layup by Wren snapped a 26-26 tie with 5:17 left in the third quarter, but then Camden Hills’ defense kicked in and the Mustangs went the next 5:27 without scoring while the Windjammers built its double-digit advantage.