BANGOR, Maine — Senior guards Nick Curtis and Mike Gilman have been foundational pieces of the Windham High School boys basketball program for the past two years, and fans in the Bangor area got to see why Friday night.
Curtis scored 30 points and Gilman added 25, and the duo combined to make 11 of their 18 3-point attempts as the Eagles held off Bangor 73-63 in a Class AA North battle at Red Barry Gymnasium.
“We had a poor shooting night the other night against Portland [a 61-44 loss Wednesday] and I thought we responded well tonight,” said Windham coach Chad Pulkkinen, whose team is now 2-1 on the young season. “We moved the ball better tonight and allowed the offense to come to us instead of forcing it.”
Gilman shot a blistering 6-of-10 from long range, including several from beyond NBA 3-point distance.
“Mike’s been doing that for two years and it’s unbelievable for me to keep watching him shoot with that type of confidence,” said Pulkkinen. “When a shooter has that type of confidence they become deadly, and tonight he was deadly.”
Curtis connected on five of his eight 3-point tries and also made nine of 10 from the free-throw line as Windham took the lead for good at the end of the first quarter and held Bangor at bay despite a 29-point, 15-rebound performance by Rams’ junior forward Matt Fleming.
“They shot the ball better than I would have anticipated,” said Bangor coach Carl Parker, whose team was seeing its first action since a season-opening 82-47 win over Lewiston last Friday.
“You take three threes away and it’s a one-point game. We did not shoot the ball particularly well even though we took a lot of the same shots we took against Lewiston against the same kind of defense, but [Curtis and Gilman] played together for a long time and they were a little more crisp offensively.”
Curtis (13 points) and Gilman (12) combined for 25 first-half to counter a 19-point start by Fleming that kept Bangor within 33-29 at the break.
The Eagles gradually extended that lead to double digits in the third quarter, with Curtis hitting back-to-back 3-pointers to give Windham a 47-35 advantage late in the period.
A steal and layup by point guard Damien Vance pulled Bangor within 47-37 by the end of the quarter, but Windham’s offense kept humming.
Curtis and Gilman accounted for 18 of the Eagles’ 26 points in the fourth quarter — with Curtis making all eight of his free-throw tries during the late going — and Bangor’s defense couldn’t get enough stops to pull any closer than nine the rest of the way.
“We played all right,” said Curtis. “We swung the ball a lot and got each other shots and the shots were falling. That’s the first night we’ve been all clicking. We had a rough night against Portland shooting.”
Junior forward Dierhow Bol added 13 rebounds and three blocked shots for the Eagles.
Fleming finished the night shooting seven of 15 from the field and a perfect 13-of-13 from the free-throw line to help keep Bangor in contention, while Vance and sophomore wing Henry Westrich each scored 12 points for the Rams.
“Fleming is an incredible player,” said Pulkkinen. “He’s almost impossible to guard because of his size and shooting ability, and he’s worked a lot on his penetration game and getting to the rim.
“I think the biggest thing with him is how great he is on defense. I don’t know how many charges he took tonight, but his ability to take charges just makes them that much better on defense. He kind of does it all for them.”