BANGOR, Maine — Xavier Lewis made the most of Senior Night at Red Barry Gymnasium on Tuesday evening, scoring 32 points to lead the Bangor boys basketball team to its eighth consecutive victory, an 82-51 decision over Lawrence of Fairfield.
“I came in pretty confident for this game,” said Lewis, who had transferred to Lawrence as a junior and helped the Bulldogs reach the 2013 Eastern Maine final before returning to Bangor last summer for his senior year. “I wanted to make sure I remembered my last game here for the rest of my life.”
The 6-foot guard made 11 of 13 field-goal attempts overall — 5 of 6 from beyond the 3-point arc — and contributed five steals and four assists in helping the 13-4 Rams avenge a last-second 55-54 loss at Lawrence on Jan. 4.
Bangor also dropped its Jan. 7 game at Hampden but hasn’t lost since while rising to a top-three position in the Eastern Maine Class A Heal point rankings.
“Some people had asked after the first time we played them if we looked past them because it was right around the Hampden game,” said Bangor coach Ed Kohtala. “But I don’t think so because of the tradition of Lawrence and the way they play and the way they compete. Even tonight, they kept coming at us.
“The difference tonight was we had a couple of runs and got a cushion so some of the things they were able to do down there they weren’t able to do tonight,” he added.
Another Bangor senior, Alex Campbell, added 15 points while Trey Kenny contributed eight points — including two more of the Rams’ 13 3-pointers for the game.
Bangor played most of the night without starting center Connor Adams, who injured his right knee when he landed awkwardly during a rebounding sequence late in the first quarter.
Adams, the Rams’ third-leading scorer this season, did not return to the contest, but his replacement, senior Nick Ashey, came in to contribute nine rebounds despite having to leave the game himself briefly during the third quarter with a bloody nose.
“Nick is a tremendous competitor,” said Kohtala. “He had a great football season, and the concern I shared with him a few weeks ago was that I knew that with the type of year Connor would potentially have there might not be a lot of minutes for him and could a competitor like him sit?
“He has sat for long stretches, but when we needed him, he stepped up. It’s a tradition in this program that there are good players who don’t get to play a lot but are ready when their name is called, and that was a great job by Nick.”
Lawrence, which entered the night battling Cony of Augusta and Lewiston for the eighth seed in Eastern A — nine teams qualify for postseason play, with the No. 8 seed hosting a preliminary-round game next week — falls to 8-9 on the season.
Reserve Walker Thomas led the Bulldogs with eight points, all during the fourth quarter. Kyle Robinson scored seven points, and J.T. Nutting and Brad King added six points each.
Bangor scored the game’s first six points and built a 16-2 lead midway through the opening period.
After Lawrence’s Dustin-Simpson Bragg made a 3-pointer, Kenny countered from long range and Lewis followed with a layup and a 3-pointer — both after Achey offensive rebounds — to extend the Rams’ cushion to 24-5 by the end of the quarter.
Lawrence got back-to-back 3-pointers from Robinson and Mason Cooper to draw within 24-11 early in the second quarter, but the Bulldogs got no closer. Three-pointers by Kenny and Andrew Hillier sent Bangor on a 10-2 run good for a 34-13 lead, and a buzzer-beating 30-foot 3-pointer by Lewis enabled the Rams to take a 40-19 advantage into intermission.
“Honestly I just felt my rhythm coming into the game, and I guess it didn’t matter how far out I was,” said Lewis, who scored 19 first-half points on 7-of-8 shooting.