TURNER — This time, there would be no overtime.
Nor did Leavitt allow Maranacook within 10 points of the lead after pushing it that far early in the first quarter.
Jordan Hersom scored eight of his game-high 17 points in the opening frame as Leavitt burst out to a 13-point advantage and never looked back, posting a 54-37 win over Maranacook in the teams’ Western Class B preliminary playoff game Tuesday.
“Going into the game, we had a plan on how we wanted to defend them,” Leavitt coach Mike Hathaway said. “I thought defensively in the first half we were really, really good.”
The first time these two teams met this season was an overtime win for the Hornets. The second was another Leavitt win, but only by single digits.
“They carried the intensity from start to finish,” Maranacook coach Rob Schmidt said. “That combined with their athleticism and basketball skills. They were better than us.”
Hersom finished with those 17 points and nine rebounds while playing most of his minutes in the shadow of Maranacook big man Kyle Boucher, a junior who dwarfed most of the players on the floor from both schools.
“Jordan brought some intensity against him inside,” Hathaway said. “We figured he and Jordan would be pretty close and cancel each other out on the rebounds.”
“Hersom’s so strong and athletic. He does a great job on (Boucher),” Schmidt said. “
Boucher still managed 13 boards and led the Black Bears with 11 points.
But the story Tuesday was the No. 5 Hornets’ quick start. The teams traded baskets for the first few minutes before both teams started misfiring. With a 10-7 advantage, the Hornets got hot, ending the quarter on a 10-0 run to build their lead.
“That’s the way you want to start out of the gate,” Hathaway said. “We came out with a lot of intensity. I thought Tyler Walton did a good job running the offense, and he was tough on the ball defensively.”
“We were discouraged, and that set the tone early,” Schmidt said.
Levi Morin opened the second with another for Leavitt as they pushed the lead to 15. The teams alternated baskets and free throws for the remainder of the half, and Leavitt went into the break ahead by 16.
And it was a good thing.
Leavitt came out of the break ice cold. In fact, the Hornets didn’t hit a basket in the third until Hersom hit a layup for two with 13 seconds remaining in the frame.
“Early in the quarter we got a couple of shots and we didn’t make them,” Hathaway said. “Then we got frustrated and forced a few, and they kind of turned up their pressure, too. Our guys did a good job of settling down and working the clock.”
But despite the Hornets’ woes, No. 12 Maranacook couldn’t find its stride either. Every time the Black Bears tried to make a run, they fouled Leavitt on defense, and watched helplessly as the Hornets hit their free throws.
“We felt like we were making a little bit of a run, and we got it to 13,” Schmidt said. “We felt like we were in striking range, but we just couldn’t get that next basket.”
The Hornets advance to the main draw of the Western Class B tourney, where they will square off against No. 4 York on Saturday at the Portland Expo at 3:15 p.m.