Matt Cosgrove’s 3-point goal after grabbing an offensive rebound sparked a 10-0 fourth-quarter run that lifted Bangor to a 58-53 victory over Brewer on Thursday night in the final Class A basketball game to be played at the Bangor Auditorium.
The auditorium, which opened on Oct. 1, 1955, is slated to be torn down this spring and be replaced by the Cross Insurance Center, which is currently under construction just a few feet away from the current structure and is slated to open in September.
Prior to the game, two players in the first game high school game played on the auditorium floor at the start of the 1955-56 season, Wayne Lawton of Bangor and Skip Chappelle of Old Town, participated in a ceremonial jump ball in honor of that contest as well as the thousands of games played in the aging edifice since then.
Bangor and Brewer then went on to play a most competitive mutual regular-season finale, with Brewer playing for its postseason life and Bangor hungry to win the final Class A games in one of its city’s landmarks.
Bangor finished its regular season with a 13-5 record and likely is locked into a 4-5 Eastern Maine quarterfinal against Lewiston on Saturday, Feb. 16. Brewer finished 8-10, with its playoff fate in extreme jeopardy pending the outcome of several other games Thursday night. The Witches entered their game against Bangor two points behind Mount Ararat of Topsham for the ninth and final postseason berth in the division.
Bangor controlled most of the game against its cross-river rival, building a 9-2 lead three minutes into the contest thanks to five early points by senior guard Sean Tocci.
Brewer rallied within 15-12 by the end of the opening period, but he Rams pulled back out to an 11-point cushion thanks to a big effort off the bench by sophomore guard Liam Harrigan. The sophomore guard scored 11 points during a span of 3 minutes, 8 seconds of the second quarter, including a pair of 3-pointers that gave Bangor second-quarter leads of 23-12 and 26-15.
But Brewer battled back, scoring the final seven points of the first half — including a buzzer-beating 3-pointer off the glass by senior guard Jeff Weeks — to draw within 28-24 by intermission.
Bangor surged back out to a 41-32 lead by the end of the third quarter, with Harrigan hitting a 3-pointer and a reverse layup for the final five points of the period.
Brewer senior forward Ian Burgess then took the game over for several minutes, scoring his team’s first eight points of the fourth quarter as the Witches crept back within 43-40.
Junior guard Brendan Newcomb then scored from the baseline and on a fadeaway jumper from the left wing to cap off a 10-0 run that gave Brewer its first lead at 44-43, and Burgess then hit two free throws to give the Witches a three-point lead with 3:42 remaining.
Bangor then missed its next field-goal attempt, but Cosgrove hustled out toward the free-throw line to grab the offensive rebound, then nailed a game-tying 3-pointer seconds later after taking a pass from Tocci.
That marked the start of a 10-0 run by Bangor, as junior center Conner Adams scored an inside basket, Cosgrove made two free throws and junior guard Alex Campbell stole the ball and drove to the basket for a three-point play that gave the Rams a 53-46 lead with 1:51 left.
Brewer got as close as 55-53 on a free throw by Weeks with 28.6 seconds left, but Adams then hit one from the line and when the Witches came up empty on their next possession Campbell made two free throws to make it a two-possession game with 10.9 seconds left.
Harrigan led Bangor with 16 points while Adams had 11 points and seven rebounds, Campbell finished with nine points, eight rebounds and six assists and Tocci also scored nine points.
Burgess led Brewer with game-high totals of 22 points and 14 rebounds, while Weeks scored 12 points, Newcomb had 11 and freshman forward Matt Pushard contributed six points and 10 rebounds.