BANGOR, Maine — It’s just two games into the regular season, but no one has any answers for Zach Gilpin yet.
On Tuesday night it was Bangor that was unable to contain the 6-foot-5-inch All-Maine senior forward, who scored 30 points and grabbed 13 rebounds as defending Class A state champion Hampden Academy cruised to an 84-59 boys basketball victory over the Rams at Red Barry Gymnasium.
Gilpin had worked the perimeter for 24 points during the Broncos’ season-opening victory against Brewer last Friday night.
Against Bangor he made his way closer to the basket, shooting 13 of 21 from the field in helping coach Russ Bartlett’s club improve to 2-0 this season with its 24th consecutive victory.
“Zach got so much work done in the post for them tonight,” said Bangor coach Ed Kohtala. “A lot of times he hurts teams in transition and with his 3-point shot, but tonight really it was his work with second shots and with loose balls around the rim and on the floor. Thirty points is 30 points, but it was a workmanlike, blue-collar effort with many of those 30 points.”
Gilpin’s inside play was complemented by sophomore forward Brendan McIntyre, who added 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting for a Hampden team that shot 56 percent (34 of 61) from the field.
“As a team our defense wasn’t as great as we would have expected to,” said sophomore guard Nick Gilpin, who added a team-leading six assists. “Last year we held teams to 37 points a game and Bangor had 59. But our offense definitely carried us tonight.”
McIntyre had an assist, a 3-pointer and a tip-in just before intermission after Bangor had overcome a 17-0 Hampden run midway through the first half to pull within 32-26 on a Garrett Johnson 3-pointer with 2:30 left in the second quarter.
McIntyre’s surge gave Hampden a 39-28 lead at the break, and Bangor got within single digits just once the rest of the way, on a Connor Adams layup to open the second half.
Hampden then outscored Bangor 15-5 over the next five minutes, with senior wing Isaiah Bess contributing a three-point play and a loose-ball layup as the Broncos built their cushion to 54-35 late in the third period.
Zach Gilpin subsequently added three three-point plays during an 83-second span of the fourth quarter to highlight a run of 15 straight points that extended the Broncos’ lead to 78-51.
“We thought the matchups worked well that way tonight,” said Gilpin of his low-post presence. “Brendan McIntyre usually works in the post but he can shoot the 3, too, and he had some big 3s tonight so I thought it worked out well.”
Bess finished with 15 points, five rebounds, four assists and a thunderous, two-handed dunk after a steal early in the second quarter as Hampden scored 17 straight points after Bangor had jumped out to a 12-8 lead through five minutes of play thanks in part to early 3-pointers by Alex Campbell and Xavier Lewis.
“We’ve got to be more mature in terms of handling disappointment,” said Kohtala. “In the first half we got off to a good start and then hit a dry spell, and that’s going to happen. But I thought we carried it in our body language and we carried it on the defensive end. There’s going to be some disappointment when you miss a shot, but you have to be fully engaged on the defensive end against a team as balanced scoring-wise as they are.”
Hampden senior guard Cam Scott helped limit Lewis — coming off a 26-point effort in the Rams’ season-opening win at Lewiston — to eight points on 3-of-11 shooting.
“I’ve guarded X for a long time,” said Scott. “He’s a very good player, very athletic, and I just try to keep him in front. He’s a great shooter, but we’d rather have him shooting 3-pointers than driving to the rim where he’s most dangerous.”
Campbell led 1-1 Bangor with 19 points, while Adams added 12 points and seven rebounds.