TURNER — The Leavitt Hornets whipped around a basketball like infielders on a baseball diamond.
Throw in rebounding by several big men, strong legs from the entire team and it explains why the Hornets copped their first victory of the season, handily beating Mt. Blue High School 66-35 in a basketball game Tuesday evening.
Leavitt’s (1-3) relentless passing stoked its inside game and a short-handed Mt. Blue team struggled to keep up with the fast-moving Hornets.
“We talked before the game. Good team defense and sharing the ball — that’s when we usually play our best,” Leavitt coach Mike Hathaway said. “So we really put an emphasis on moving the ball, finding the open man. I thought our guys did a pretty good job.
“We had a tough loss with Fryeburg last week in overtime. We had leads on Mt. Ararat and Gardiner so we have been playing teams tough. So it was good to get over the top and get one in the books.”
The Cougars (0-3) were missing four starters due to injuries, sickness and other matters. Mt. Blue coach Charles Castonguay looked to a bunch of underclassmen to fill the voids.
“We just didn’t do the job on the boards we needed to do to stay with them,” Castonguay said. “They are aggressive. He plays a lot of kids — a lot of fresh legs.
“I think if we had done a little better job on the defensive boards, we could have played with them a little bit more.
“A lot of inexperience, and you know with those kids out, it makes it tough right now, but we are going to keep playing.”
Mt. Blue tried to cope and did stay on Leavitt’s heels in the first quarter before the Hornets pulled away in the second stanza, building a 40-19 lead at halftime.
Leavitt freshman guard Wyatt Hathaway thought it was a total team effort. He scored the game-high 24 points. He also landed a 3-pointer and went 3-for-4 at the foul line. Sophomore forward Cole Morin helped out with his 11 points.
“It’s (win) huge,” the younger Hathaway said. “Oh-and-three to start against three very good teams where we played very good. It feels really good and it is a self-esteem booster for us. We really needed it.
“I liked everything (we did tonight). We all played together. We all played good. The bench was in it. Every one on the floor was in it. The defense was good. The offense was good. Everyone was moving it. It was just an all-around, good team win.”
The Hornets owned the second half and kept their distance from Mt. Blue, constructing a 55-23 lead at the end of the third quarter.
Mt. Blue senior guard Marshall Doyon nailed down the team-high 14 points and sophomore guard Caleb Talbot threw in eight.
Marshall Doyon of Mount Blue High School drives between Joziah Learned, left, and Keegan Melanson of Leavitt during the first half in Turner on Tuesday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)
Dawson Black of Mount Blue High School reaches for a pass as Wyatt Hathaway of Leavitt moves underneath to grab the ball for a fast break to the basket during the first half in Turner on Tuesday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)
Cole Morin of Leavitt Area High School shoots over Caleb Talbot of Mount Blue during the first half in Turner on Tuesday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)