AUGUSTA — Mt. Blue’s front line demonstrates the fun and excitement of choosing your poison.
It takes two normal boys’ basketball players even to think about stopping Cam Sennick. Do that and you’ll leave Nick Hilton with an uncontested glare at the rim.
Find the right balance and you’re still probably going to lose. Brunswick couldn’t even sniff the daydream of stopping that tall tandem Saturday afternoon, and the No. 3 Cougars breezed to a 72-47 ouster of the No. 6 Dragons in the Eastern Class A quarterfinals at Augusta Civic Center.
Sennick started quickly, got stronger as the game progressed and finished with 29 points, 13 rebounds, four steals and three blocked shots. Hilton’s second fiddle played the tune of 20 points and eight boards.
“We worked on that all week,” Sennick said. “Me and Nick knew that if one of us was going to be covered, the other one was going to be open. There was no way they could stop both of us.”
Mt. Blue made it look easy, shooting 23-of-36 from the field over the final three quarters.
The Cougars advanced to a semifinal at 7 p.m. Wednesday against No. 7 Edward Little.
“Cam Sennick was a man among boys in the paint,” Brunswick coach Todd Hanson said. We just had no answer for him, and when we did double him Hilton came over and cleaned up the mess. Those two guys outscored us.”
Mt. Blue (15-4) has won 10 of its last 11 games since losing 59-56 at Brunswick on Jan. 6.
Senior point guard Eric Berry didn’t play that night due to an injury. In addition to overseeing the ball distribution to the Cougars’ big men, Berry (five assists) also headlined a smothering defensive effort against Mitch Black.
Black scored a team-high 14 points for Brunswick (11-8) but labored feverishly for all of them.
“The big thing was stopping the ball and not letting Mitch Black get open to shoot,” Hilton said. “If he gets hot, he can keep hitting them. Eric did a really good job on that.”
Sennick and Hilton each had two buckets and Hart added another during an 11-0 opening run. Sennick scored a layup and a hook off feeds from Hilton and Steve Yardley. Hilton’s hoops were putbacks.
“I thought we moved the ball really well. Everyone was open,” Mt. Blue coach Jim Bessey said. “We had some sets early and a plan to try to get a lead, and it seemed to just build on itself. It was one of those nights where everything seemed to go well.”
Brunswick started 0-for-5 with six turnovers and didn’t have a field goal until Trent Anderson’s basket off a Black steal with under three minutes remaining in the quarter.
Another transition basket by Anderson cut it to 17-10 early in the second before Mt. Blue rattled off a baker’s dozen without a response.
Blake Hart, Sennick and Yardley did all the scoring damage in that sequence.
“They’ve gotten better. They’re kind of peaking at the right time,” Hanson said. “They ended the season with road wins at Lawrence and Bangor, which is hard to do. They’re hitting on all cylinders.”
Yardley and Hilton sank six straight free throws to send the Cougars into the locker room with a 36-16 lead.
Even Brunswick’s best quarter could only reduce the deficit by two. Sennick and Hilton combined for nine points in the third to offset six off the bench by Konnor Scarponi and a 3-pointer from Ryan Black.
Sennick and Hilton started the fourth with another 6-0 surge of their own to close it out.
“All season we haven’t really had a home gym,” said Sennick, whose team has been playing at Mt. Blue Middle School while the high school undergoes renovations. “Throughout the year coach has been getting it in our heads that this is our home court.”
Hart had 10 points and seven rebounds for the Cougars. Scarponi tallied 12 points for the Dragons.