ROCKPORT, Maine — Colin Morse has made a successful transition to point guard for the Camden Hills boys basketball team this winter.
But when the Windjammers needed an offensive boost Monday night, the 6-foot-3-inch senior went back to his scoring roots — amassing a game-high 34 points as Camden Hills held off rival Medomak Valley of Waldoboro 68-60 in a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B matchup.
Camden Hills, second-ranked in Eastern Maine Class B, is now 11-2 on the season, while seventh-ranked Medomak Valley is 6-5.
Morse shot 12 of 17 from the field, scoring from both in close and with perimeter jumpers. He also made his way to the free-throw line, where he made 8 of 11 attempts.
Morse’s inclination to take on more of an active scoring role against the Panthers came early — he scored his team’s first nine points and 16 of the Windjammers’ first 25 as Camden Hills capitalized on a flurry of early Medomak Valley turnovers to build a first-half lead of as many as 13 points.
“I got the first nine points and that was definitely a confidence booster, and then it carried through the rest of the game,” said Morse. “This was a game where I felt I needed to (score), because at points we weren’t running the offense the way we should and I knew I could score against the guys who were guarding me most of the time so I had to take it at them.
“That’s not what I’m supposed to be doing as the point guard this year, but it was what I had to do tonight.”
Camden Hills’ lead was 31-22 at halftime, but Medomak Valley used good ball movement against the Windjammers’ defense after intermission to create — and make — a succession of high-percentage shots.
The Panthers, being guided by assistant coach Richie Oliver as head coach Nick DePatsy was unavailable for the contest, made 16 of its 23 shots (70 percent) from the field during the final two quarters, including 9 of 12 in the third quarter as they pulled within 49-43.
Sophomore Nick DePatsy, son of the head coach, was a catalyst for Medomak Valley, scoring 12 of his team-high 19 points after intermission.
“I credit DePatsy a lot, he’s a very good player and he’s only a sophomore so he’ll be tough for us next year when we lose a lot of seniors,” said Morse. “But a lot of it was us, we weren’t getting in the passing lanes and playing the Camden Hills defense that we’re supposed to be playing. We were giving up a lot of easy layups.”
The Medomak Valley comeback continued into the fourth quarter, with the Panthers first drawing within 53-49 on a follow-up shot by Colton Spear with 5:00 left and then within 57-54 on a step-back 3-pointer by Zach Starr with 3:33 remaining.
But Morse answered the Spear basket with a driving layup, and Merrill Hall countered Starr’s shot with a 3-pointer from the corner to give Camden Hills a 60-54 lead with 3:17 left.
DePatsy then drove the lane for a basket, and after teammate Michael Wadsworth blocked a Morse shot at the other end DePatsy again scored from the lane to make it a two-point seat-squirmer with 1:38 left.
Again Morse took charge, drawing a foul and hitting both ends of a 1-and-1 to give Camden Hills a two-possession lead. After a Medomak turnover — one of 21 committed by the Panthers — Connor Graffam made 1 of 2 from the line and Chandler Crans followed with two more free throws to extend the Windjammers’ lead back to 65-58 with 23.5 seconds left.
“Our problem tonight was defensively, no doubt,” said Camden Hills coach Jeff Hart, whose team had a similar close call in its early meeting with Medomak Valley before earning a 62-60 victory on Jan. 3. “Medomak does a good job of hanging around, they did it down there when we had a huge lead but couldn’t put them away.”
Crans added 16 points for Camden Hills, while Micah Williamson chipped in 11 points for Medomak Valley.