NEWPORT, Maine — Brandon Glidden remembers fondly what it was like three years ago as a freshman on the Brewer High School boys varsity basketball team.
Now a senior guard, Glidden is off to a good start in the role of elder statesman for the Witches. He led a Brewer team that included two freshmen and a sophomore in the starting lineup past Nokomis 59-34 in a season-opening Class A clash.
“It’s awesome,” said Glidden, who made four of his team’s seven 3-pointers en route to a game-high 14 points. “My first year it was just me and Damien Vance (now a senior at Bangor High School) as freshmen on the team so I’ve always been the younger guy. It feels good to be a senior on this team. I can lead these guys to some wins this year.”
Glidden was part of a balanced Brewer attack that included 11 different rebounders and 11 different scorers, among them sophomore forward Dylan Huff (nine points) and junior forward Ethan Hayes (eight).
The Witches also moved the ball effectively against Nokomis’ defense, with freshman point guard Colby Smith dishing out a game-high four assists among Brewer’s 15 assists on its 21 field goals.
“Everyone plays as a team, everyone plays really hard,” said Glidden. “It really doesn’t matter who’s scoring.”
Nokomis, with several players still rounding into basketball shape after the football season ended just 22 days earlier with the Warriors winning the Class C state championship, made just 13 field goals while committing 23 turnovers.
“Offensively for the most part we’re going to struggle at times so we’ve got to take care of the ball and value each possession a little more,” said Nokomis coach Ryan Martin. “We have some strong, rugged kids and we have to get them in areas around the paint so they can take advantage of their skill sets.”
Brewer made just seven of 25 3-point attempts, but the Witches connected on their first three tries from beyond the arc in the second quarter to help fuel a 19-2 run that gave them a 22-6 lead when Huff cashed in from deep along the right wing midway through the period.
That followed earlier 3-pointers from Glidden and Cam Monroe while Brewer’s defense limited Nokomis to a single field goal by Andy Hopkins during a 7:53 stretch of the first half.
Glidden added his second 3-pointer later in the period as Brewer maintained a 28-14 halftime cushion.
Nokomis had its strongest stretch of the game at the outset of the second half, outscoring Brewer 8-1 to pull within 29-22 on a pullup jumper by junior Jayden Brooks.
But Brewer struck again from long range, with Glidden burying one trifecta and sophomore Kyle Goodrich adding back-to-back 3-pointers within 25 seconds of each other as the bulk of an 11-0 run that pushed the Witches back out to a 40-22 lead with 1:41 left in the third period.
“You live and die by it sometimes,” said Goodwin of the 3-pointers. “If the kids are knocking down shots it can really open up a game but if we’re not, we’ve got to be able to change and go to the basket.
“But I feel like we’ve got some very good shooters and once they start building some confidence in themselves they’ll be knocking down more of those shots.”
Brooks and Hopkins paced Nokomis with 10 points each, with Hopkins also pulling down a game-high six rebounds.