BREWER, Maine — Neither the Brewer nor Bangor boys basketball teams has been an offensive juggernaut this winter.
But Brewer’s defense showed up in a major way when the rivals met for the second time this season on Saturday afternoon.
The Witches limited Bangor to eight field goals over the full 32 minutes of play and used a pair of 13-point runs to pull away for a 48-27 victory.
“The big thing is playing as a team, getting different things from everybody and the kids believing in each other,” said Brewer coach Ben Goodwin. “The kids came out and competed today, and it wasn’t one or two guys but everybody together.”
Brewer’s defense frustrated the taller Rams’ inside game, relegating Bangor to the perimeter where it converted just 3 of 22 3-point attempts. Overall Bangor shot 19 percent (8 of 42) from the field and 50 percent (8 of 16) from the free-throw line.
“Especially after halftime the kids came out and played,” said Goodwin. “They played some hard defense and didn’t give them many easy shots.”
The win was the third straight for Brewer, now 6-7 and ranked sixth in Class A North.
Class AA Bangor fell to 2-10 after suffering its fifth straight loss since a 55-44 home-court victory over Brewer on Jan. 5.
Brewer was led offensively by 6-foot-4 senior Jared Austin, who made all seven of his field-goal tries for 14 points to go with five rebounds in just his second varsity start.
“My role is mainly on the defensive end and then just doing anything I can on offense,” he said. “My teammates did a really good job passing me the ball today.”
Senior point guard Cam Wood and junior swingman Kobe Rogerson each added 11 points, with Rogerson’s back-to-back 3-pointers early in the fourth quarter part of Brewer’s second 13-0 run that sealed the victory with six minutes left.
Rogerson also totaled five rebounds and three assists.
The game was not a complete masterpiece for Brewer, which had to overcome 21 turnovers — seven during a rugged first quarter that ended with Bangor holding a 5-4 lead.
But sophomore guard Brandon Glidden made two 3-pointers early in the second to get the Witches going offensively, and after Bangor built a 14-10 lead on a baseline jumper by George Payne and a follow-up basket by freshman Henry Westrich (team-high nine points and five rebounds), Brewer scored 13 unanswered points to take the lead for good.
Austin started it with a layup after scooping up a loose ball in the lane, and Wood made a free throw before Rogerson scored after grabbing an inbounding pass to give the Witches a 15-14 edge.
Austin then hit a 15-footer and sophomore Isaac Cummings took a Wood feed and buried a 3-pointer before Wood made 1 of 2 from the line after being fouled on a fast-break drive.
Rogerson added two free throws to make it 23-14 before Westrich closed out the first-half scoring with two free throws after being fouled while grabbing an offensive rebound.
Bangor pulled within 25-20 on a 3-pointer by Payne with 3:06 left in the third quarter, but the Rams went scoreless for the next 5:09 as Brewer pulled away.
Wood drove for a 3-point play and made a right-side jumper before Rogerson buried a 3-pointer from each side of the court.
Austin then completed the decisive run as he converted a steal by Cummings into a layup to make it 38-20 and prompt a Bangor timeout with 5:57 left.
“It’s always a great game for these kids in an atmosphere like this against a rival from across the river to come out and take the challenge,” said Goodwin. “This is one of the first games that we’ve really put it all together and can see what happens when we do that.”