Out of the Eagles four losses this season, the largest deficit came against Oxford Hills, 58-51.
“We need a few breaks,” he said. “Class A is brutal and we are now 14 points away from being undefeated, with four losses, that’s how tough it is.” he said, reflecting on the point differential in his team’s three previous losses.
The Eagles started off strong, going on an 11-2 run in a span of two minutes thanks to 10 points coming from the hands of Mason Griffin, taking hold of an 11-5 lead.
“He’s a rock,” Cox said about his senior forward. “He’s as consistent as they come. His effort day in and day out is exactly a coach’s dream.”
“I thought it was the whole way,” Lewiston’s head coach Tim Farrar said. “It always is down here, when you got leadership like they have and they got two really good players with Griffin and (Shyheim) Ulrickson, they’re going to control the game, they’re not going to be out of it.
“I really figured today’s game was going to be just like it was. I didn’t know if we were going to win or not, but I knew it was going to be a grind.”
With 50 seconds remaining in the first quarter and the Eagles containing a 16-14 lead, Blue Devil Ryan Bell sunk two freebies to tie it and send it to the second frame knotted up.
Lewiston took that momentum and went on a 6-0 run to start the quarter, taking a 22-16 advantage before Cox called a time out.
Mt. Ararat fought back, taking a 27-26 edge with more than two minutes to play. Lewiston’s Quintarian Brown dropped a bucket from beyond the arc to take back the lead and push his team ahead by two, but the Eagles responded with five more unanswered points, taking back the advantage.
The second quarter ended after Cameron Cox was fouled during a shot at the buzzer and was able to sink both awarded free-throws, giving the Eagles a 34-31 lead at half.
After Griffin dished up a shot to start the third quarter to push his team ahead by five, the Blue Devils went to work, chipping away at the deficit with Tykeem Gaines dropping in eight of Lewiston’s 15 third-quarter points. He was also a force on defense, totaling three rebounds and a steal in the frame, limiting the Eagles to just eight points.
Trailing 46-42 with eight minutes left on the clock, the Eagles did everything in their capacity to close the gap and push for the lead. As time dipped below the one-minute marker, the Blue Devils grasped on to a four-point differential, but Ulrickson hit a jump shot with four seconds to play to bring the game within two, but even after an Eagles time out, Mt. Ararat was unable to tie it up.
“I think we have to find ourselves,” Steve Cox said. “I am convinced that these guys don’t completely know how good they can be as a team yet. When they identify that, and it’s up to me to help them identify it, but when they do, I think you’re going to see us on the other side.”
Lewiston ended the contest 21-for-47 from the field, with five buckets coming from beyond the arc, an ability that Farrar is seeing improvement in.
“We had a game the other night against Brunswick where we didn’t shoot it well, but we defended and took care of the ball and rebounded, and it gave us a chance,” he said. “But tonight, thankfully we hit a couple of shots, because that gave us a little bit of breathing room.”
Gaines completed the night leading all scorers with 24 points, while Griffin sat just behind with 21. The Eagles went 10-for-14 at the line, while shooting for 48 percent from the field. They will face Edward Little on Tuesday for one more game before heading into winter break.