BANGOR — Tuesday night’s boys basketball tilt between historic rivals Bangor and Brewer at Red Barry Gymnasium was a tight one… For a quarter.
But Bangor’s Rams proved to be too tall an order — both defensively and offensively — for the undersized Witches as Bangor settled down, concentrated on ball movement and deliberate offensive execution over quick shots and used their size to frustrate Brewer’s passing game.
The short-term result was a 20-2 scoring run that started with seven seconds left in the first quarter and lasted into the first two minutes of the third. The long-term result was a 60-32 victory over the Witches.
“Basically, in the first quarter we were just chucking up 3’s and not getting very many inside touches,” Rams senior guard Tristan Thomas said of Bangor’s early offensive execution. “We were too excited and anxious to score. What really did it for us was ball movement. We had to settle it down and go inside-out.”
Thomas turned in the game’s best all-around effort with 11 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals for the 2-1 Rams.
“Some of our kids are quite young and obviously we had a size advantage, so we went inside early,” said Bangor coach Roger Reed. “Defensively we got after it and got a lot of touches on balls and hits on shots. There were a lot of shots they were tentative on because we were challenging their shots. I thought our defense allowed us to get the ball and have more possessions.”
Each team had seven turnovers in the first half, but Brewer committed 14 to Bangor’s seven in the second as Bangor used another scoring run (12-0) to put the game away early in the fourth quarter.
Both teams shot poorly from the foul line (Bangor went 7-for-15 and Brewer 1-for-8), but Bangor shot 45.8 percent from the field overall to Brewer’s 27.9.
“It was tough. They do a very good job of taking the paint away, getting their arms up and making themselves big. We couldn’t get inside the paint and score on them,” said Brewer coach Ben Goodwin, whose young Witches are now 2-2.
“Our defensive intensity could have been a little better, but a couple of us stepped it up, especially in the second half, and a couple of their guards were getting frustrated,” said Thomas.
One of those guards was Ray Bessette, one of just three senior players. Bangor — particularly Thomas — draped him defensively and held him to 4-for-13 shooting and nine points total to go along with five rebounds.
“He doesn’t have the complement around him that can score yet and it’s hard when your best scorer is also your best ballhandler,” said Reed.
Junior guard Nick Sherwood scored nine points off the bench for the Rams. Senior forward Zach Blodgett had seven points, four rebounds, three assists and two blocks.
No Brewer player other than Bessette scored more than six points.
“We have to learn from it with some younger guys on this team if we’re going to get better,” Goodwin said. “We hope to take advantage of our speed once we learn how to use it. It’s still a work in progress.”