Mt. Blue’s James Anderson, center, looks for a teammate to pass to as he is double teamed by Lewiston’s Abdinur Mohamed, left and Yasin Mohamud during the second half of Tuesday’s game in Lewiston. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)
LEWISTON — Mt. Blue’s switch to a zone defense triggered a burst of resurgence on offense in the second half that brought the Cougars’ back from a 16-point deficit.
Lewiston’s perimeter shooting suddenly went cold in the third quarter before the Blue Devils recovered in time to make off with a 53-45 win Tuesday night. It was Lewiston’s (1-5) first victory of the season.
“We were executing our man stuff. That’s what we have done all vacation,” Lewiston coach Tim Farrar said. “We really spent a lot time going over half-court man stuff, and we didn’t turn the ball over.
“They switched defenses and that changed the pace of the game and they started making some shots. They figured out a little bit what we were doing, defensively. That’s kind of what happened.
“I don’t think we are that much better than them. That last half is what it is. We have two pretty even teams. I just hope this (win) springboards us. It’s a new year and we have another big one on Friday.”
The Blue Devils built a 33-17 halftime lead thanks to some eye-opening outside shooting, passing in the paint and strong rebounding.
But Mt. Blue’s (0-7) move to a zone slowed up the Blue Devils and allowed the Cougars to get back into the game in the second half.
“Real good second half,” Mt. Blue coach Charles Castonguay said. “I just told the kids that we have to to learn to play the entire game the way we played the last 12 minutes.
“And we did a real good job on the boards. We switched it up and went to zone. I didn’t want to go to the zone because they do have some perimeter shooters … but we had to do something. We had try something to get back in.
“I mean they had guy who flipped one over his head and it went in. They are little bit quicker than we are overall, and they really wanted to come out and establish it — and they did. I thought we did a great getting it down from 18 to six. We haven’t put four good quarters together — yet.”
The Cougars’ momentum in the third quarter carried well into the fourth before the Blue Devils found a way around Mt. Blue’s bothersome zone defense.
The zone — coupled with strong performances from a pair of determined seniors, guard Marshall Doyon (15 points) and guard-forward James Anderson (game-high 18 points) — rallied the Cougars. Doyon’s seven points cut Lewiston’s lead to six points midway through the fourth quarter. Anderson’s four 3-pointers certainly helped Mt. Blue’s recovery effort in the final stanza.
“Those two played very well tonight,” Castonguay said. “They have a lot of heart.”
In the first half, the Blue Devils owned the perimeter and also dominated inside the key.
Senior Abdinur Mohamed scored 11 points and knocked down three 3-pointers. Junior Hunter Dickinson worked his inside game and delivered another 11 points for the Devils.
“I am real happy for (Abdi). He is a senior that put in a lot of time and really turned his life around,” Farrar said. “I am really proud of him. He is one of the guys I singled out a lot … not because he made shots. He’s been grinding it out all year. You are just so happy to finally see it come out. He has a big heart and he cares. I am just happy to see it happen for him tonight.”
Lewiston’s Ali Omar drives to the basket past Mt Blue’s Hunter Donald, left and James Anderson during the first half of Tuesday’s game in Lewiston. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)
Mt. Blue’s Hunter Donald, left and Lewiston’s Jeremy Madore battle for the rebound during Tuesday’s game in Lewiston. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)
Mt Blue’s Caleb Talbot, left, defends against Lewiston’s Ali Omar as he drives to the basket during the second half of Tuesday night’s boys’ basketball game in Lewiston. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)