BANGOR, Maine — The Hampden Academy Broncos were determined not to let Bangor’s Matt Fleming beat them in a big inter-class boys basketball matchup at Red Barry Gymnasium on Wednesday night.
But while the 6-foot-5 junior forward was limited to 10 points — nearly 20 under his average for the Rams’ first three games this season — coach Carl Parker’s club showed that it was far more than a one-man team in knocking off previously undefeated Hampden 68-63.
“It seems like people have doubted us, saying that if I’m not on we won’t do that great,” said Fleming, “but this is proof that we can win without me scoring 30 points. I can hold my own on the defensive end and we can win with other people scoring.”
Junior guard Damien Vance picked up much of the offensive slack for Bangor, scoring 13 of his game-high 30 points in the fourth quarter. The Rams withstood a Hampden comeback that narrowed a deficit as large as 14 points early in the third quarter to two points in the game’s final 70 seconds.
Hampden scored nine unanswered points to draw within 64-62 when Kory Winch grabbed an offensive rebound and hit a 3-pointer, then stole the ball in the backcourt and converted a short runner with 1:07 remaining.
The Class A Broncos (5-1) then got the ball back, but leading scorer Ian McIntyre (21 points, 10 rebounds, four blocked shots), missed a potential game-tying shot from the lane and Vance and Fleming each made two free throws in the final 17.5 seconds to secure Class AA Bangor (3-1) a pointworthy victory.
“We dug ourselves such a large hole that we couldn’t make enough plays to get the lead,” said Hampden coach Russ Bartlett. “We got it to one possession and got an eight-footer out of Ian, and I’ll take that every time.”
Vance made 10 of 18 shots, including all three of his 3-point attempts and four drives to the basket during the fourth quarter — two on eight-foot floaters over a defender.
“I had that shot back in middle school and it kind of went away,” said Vance, who also made all seven of his free-throw tries. “But it came back tonight.”
Bangor also got a big night offensively from junior guard Noah Missbrenner, who sparked a fast start by the Rams with 11 first-quarter points.
Missbrenner made three 3-pointers during the game’s first eight minutes as Bangor shot 6-of-8 from beyond the arc collectively to take a 24-16 lead at the end of the period.
“I’m just trying to stay confident on the offensive end,” said Missbrenner, who finished with 17 points. “Teams pay a lot of attention to Matt and Damien and they really set me up so when I’m open I’m just looking to knock it down.”
Bangor made 10 of 15 3-pointers overall while maintaining a 38-27 halftime lead, then maintained a 51-40 cushion entering the final quarter.
Fleming was limited offensively by Winch’s relentless defensive work, managing only two 3-point goals and four fourth-quarter free throws. But the Bangor big man contributed in other ways, including 10 rebounds and four blocked shots.
Winch also scored 18 points, 10 during the fourth quarter, while senior guard Johnny Wolfington added 10 points for the Broncos.