LEWISTON — Shots went up, 61 in all for the Lewiston High School boys’ basketball team Wednesday night against Mt. Ararat.
One might assume with that many opportunities, the Blue Devils handled the Eagles, who only launched 41 shots on the night.
But you must take advantage of those numbers, something Lewiston failed to do in a disappointing 43-35 Eastern Class A loss to kick off 2013.
The win gives Mt. Ararat a 4-3 mark in the muddled Eastern Maine Class A Heal Point Standings, while the Blue Devils dropped to 3-4 and face a daunting schedule that includes a trip to undefeated Hampden Academy on Friday.
“We have to look at ourselves in the mirror,” said Lewiston coach Tim Farrar. “Mt. Ararat played well against us and Brunswick played well against us (a 57-45 Blue Devils loss), but we have to start controlling what we can control. When frustration occurs, it is about us as a team and not about ‘you’ as an individual.”
Lewiston won the battle on the boards, out-rebounding the Eagles 36-26, including 18 offensive caroms, but missed layups and turnovers (23 for the Blue Devils) cost the hosts.
“Feeling sorry for ourselves won’t do it, and Hampden doesn’t care who we are, and when we play Messalonskee (Tuesday) and Lawrence (Jan. 14), they won’t feel sorry, so we need our leaders to step up and be leaders, and the coach to make the right decisions,” said Farrar.
Mt. Ararat, which never led in the first half, finally took its first lead on a Tyler Roberts putback with 3:17 remaining in the third quarter, spearheading a 6-0 run for a 32-27 Eagles lead.
In the fourth quarter, Roberts came off the bench a second time, giving the Eagles the lead for good, 36-35, with 1:58 remaining. Mt. Ararat scored the final nine points of the game, including four consecutive free throws by freshman guard Shyheim Ulrickson.
“We shared the ball really well and did not play selfish,” said Ulrickson, who had 15 points, five rebounds, four steals and four assists. “We hustled and did what we had to do to win.”
“We just focused and did everything that we had to do, just staying with it,” added Roberts. who scored all 10 of his points in the second half to lead the Mt. Ararat comeback. “On the bench, you have to cheer on your teammates, and when you get the chance to get in there, you have to come in and help the team.”
Lewiston jumped out to a 6-0 lead out of the gate as Mt. Ararat missed its first four shots and turned the ball over twice. Five Blue Devils scored in the opening frame for a 10-7 lead heading to the second.
Donne Agossou’s putback gave Lewiston its largest lead, 15-9, but Mt. Ararat, behind Jake Demosthenes, Ulrickson and Mason Griffin, clawed within one, 19-18 at the break.
Abdi Hussein led the Blue Devils with five points in the opening half, with Agossou and Isaiah Harris adding four points each.
Lewiston held the Eagles without a point for four minutes in the third quarter, but only mustered four points during the same stretch for a 23-18 advantage.
Mt. Ararat plugged away from there, closing to within one point on several occasions. Roberts scored six third-quarter points, while Jordan Castonguay converted a pinpoint feed from Ulrickson for two big points as the Eagles claimed a 32-31 edge.
“We talked about confidence at halftime, knowing we were losing the rebounding battle, but we told the kids to hang in,” said Mt. Ararat coach Aaron Watson. “I am so proud of them. They have been so mature, and understand the concepts that we are trying to sell, including taking care of the basketball late in the game. We caught them on a bad shooting night. We know Lewiston is a much better team than that.”
Steven Patrie, who paced Lewiston with 10 points and 13 rebounds, gave the Blue Devils the lead twice in the fourth quarter. But Mt. Ararat refused to fold, with Lewiston missing its final 10 field goal attempts and turning the ball over three times.
The Eagles shot 41 percent from the floor (17 of 41) and made nine of 14 free throws. Demosthenes chipped in seven points and had four steals, while Jason Tome and Griffin pulled down five rebounds each.
Agossou finished with seven points for Lewiston, with Josh Thomas adding five points and three assists. The Blue Devils shot just 22 percent (14 of 68) from the floor and made 5-of-9 at the charity stripe.