Leavitt’s Keegan Melanson (11) looks to intercept a pass by Brunswick’s Kyle Hanson during their game in Brunswick on Thursday.
The Brunswick High School boys basketball “sacrificed” the 3-pointer Thursday night for the inside play underneath and rolled to a 61-43 victory over Leavitt in a battle of Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference foes.
At least that’s how Brunswick coach Todd Hanson saw it.
“That was a point of emphasis tonight,” Hanson said. “We expected zone out of Leavitt so we practiced that a lot, working inside out, not outside in. We sacrificed the 3-point shot for the post play tonight.”
The move paid off as senior Colby Bucknam registered a team high 18 points, all coming from the paint.
“After the second half Colby played the other night, he was a dominant play underneath in the low post, we knew we had to get him the ball more,” Hanson said.
Brunswick jumped out to a 16-10 first quarter advantage behind strong passing and half-court pressure defense that generated four turnovers in the first eight minutes.
Six of the eight baskets by the Dragons came off assists from the front court. Dawson Hebert and Alex Small each had two while Kyle Hanson and Noah Cox had one. The foursome was able to find Bucknam underneath three times for six points.
“The past couple of games I’m getting more opportunities, we’re driving the basket more,” Bucknam said. “I’m getting into the games more, getting more energy.”
Brunswick, improving to 7-3, increased its lead in the second frame. Cox and Hebert each sank 3-point baskets, but it was Jacob Lamoureux’s 10 points that led the way for the Dragons.
“We’ve been talking about coming out with more energy and build up a first half lead,” Lamoureux said. “Coach is always talking about energy, enthusiasm. We really wanted to work on our post play tonight and get points inside.”
Brunswick’s defense held Leavitt to nine second quarter points, building it’s lead to 36-19 at the break. Cole Morin led Leavitt with 10 first half points.
After having a slow start Tuesday night against Lincoln Academy, Hanson and the Dragons did not want to repeat that.
“That was another point of emphasis, we talked about our energy level and enthusiasm,” Hanson said. “When you get off to a good start, it makes things a lot easier, and we did that tonight.”
The home team went back to the well in the third quarter, driving to the basket and crashing the boards.
Bucknam hauled down a pair of offensive rebounds and put them back for baskets. The senior continued his hard work, tallying a total of eight points in the third quarter.
“This is only Colby’s eighth day back after a two week injury,” said Hanson. “So he’s still getting his legs under him.”
Despite a pair of treys from Josh Banks and Wyatt Hathaway, the closest the Hornets got in the third quarter was 16 points. Late baskets from Morin brought the score to 50-34 through three quarters.
The final stanza brought much of the same. The Dragons slowed the pace down considerably and spread out the offense to kill the clock and Leavitt’s chances.
Leavitt continued to fight, and a spurt midway through the quarter cut the Brunswick lead to 54-41 with 3:33 left in the fourth, prompting a timeout by Hanson.
“We just wanted to make sure we had good possessions and not have ‘zero’ possessions,” Hanson said.
A quick basket by Cox pushed the lead back to 15 and the Dragons never looked back. Kyle Hanson hit three-of-four from the charity stripe and Mitchell added a pair as the Dragons closed out the game on a 7-0 run for an 18-point victory.
The Hornets outrebounded the Dragons, 19-15, led by Stephen Gray’s seven, ahead of Hathaway’s five. Bucknam registered eight boards and a pair of blocks.
Cox added 11 points and three steals while Bates chipped in with eight points in the win.
Morin finished with a game high 19 points, followed by 12 from Wyatt Hathaway for Leavitt, which falls to 4-5.