BANGOR, Maine — The Bangor High School boys basketball team won its sixth straight Wednesday night but scrappy archrival Brewer didn’t make it easy for the Rams.
The Rams hit 11 3-pointers and withstood several Brewer rallies en route to a hard-fought 57-49 victory at Red Barry Gym.
The Rams (11-4) led 49-34 with seven minutes remaining but Brewer (3-12) used a 9-1 run to slice the lead to seven with 4:40 remaining.
Hunter Boyce’s 3-pointer just 30 seconds later gave the Rams some breathing room and both teams went cold until Ben Hughes converted from under the basket with 1:10 remaining to sew up the victory.
Bangor senior guards Alex Campbell and Xavier Lewis had 16 points apiece to share scoring honors. They also grabbed six rebounds each and Lewis handed out three assists.
Campbell had three of his rebounds in the fourth quarter to help keep the Witches at bay.
“It was a battle,” said Bangor coach Ed Kohtala. “[ Brewer coach Clayton Blood] is a tremendous coach and I thought Brewer played very well. I told our kids they weren’t going away. We never really put them away.
“But we kept our composure against a team that kept coming at us and got key stops and key baskets at key times,” added Kohtala.
“Our ball movement was the key,” said Campbell. “We spaced the floor pretty good and everyone touched the ball.”
Senior center Connor Adams had nine points, six rebounds and two assists and Boyce contributed nine points off the bench, all on 3-pointers.
Bangor outrebounded the smaller Witches 27-18.
Sophomore forward Matt Pushard paced the youthful Witches with 14 points and a game-high eight rebounds. Logan Rogerson, also a sophomore, wound up with 12 points and junior Jared St. Thomas had nine to go with three rebounds. Brendan Newcomb, Brewer’s only senior starter, chipped in with seven points and two assists.
Bangor shot 7-for-10 from beyond the 3-point arc in the first half and 11-for-19 for the game.
Lewis said the Rams won with teamwork and determination.
“We stuck with the task. We knew it was going to be a four-quarter process. We let the game take its course,” said Lewis. “We like to drive and kick out [for the 3-pointers] and that’s hard to defend. We executed it tonight.”
“They used a lot of ball screens in the high post and they move a lot,” said Brewer’s Newcomb. “They set a lot of back screens. It’s hard to stay with them. We’d make a bad turnover and they would come down and take 20-30 seconds off the clock before banging in a three. That was emotionally draining for us.”
Bangor used a 7-0 run in the final three minutes of the first half to build a 12-point lead before two Rogerson free throws capped the first-half scoring.
Campbell triggered the spurt with a 3-pointer from the top of the key, Hughes fed Lewis under the basket for a reverse layup and Adams sank a pair of free throws.
Two baskets in the paint by Adams to open the fourth quarter made it 49-34 but a Rogerson 3-pointer jump-started the 9-1 run. Pushard followed an Adams free throw with a jumper from the top of the key, Zack Gulesian sank two free throws and Pushard stole the ball and eventually banked in a six-foot jumper off a Newcomb pass.
But the Witches didn’t score again until the final 50 seconds.
“Bangor played real good defense,” said Blood. “They don’t give you any easy shots and then they cut your heart out with threes over and over and over again.
“We played well. We played hard but the game against Lewiston last night [64-60 loss] took an awful lot out of us,” Blood added.
Newcomb agreed, saying “the offensive push or emotional push wasn’t there.”