BRUNSWICK — Athleticism is not something Lewiston High School boys' basketball coach Tim Farrar worries about.
Take Friday’s Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference game against Brunswick, where Farrar’s Blue Devils pulled down six offensive rebounds in the first quarter and put up 21 shots.
Unfortunately, Lewiston failed to find the range, making just four of those first-quarter opportunities in a 57-45 loss to the Dragons.
The Blue Devils dropped to 3-3 and will return to the court at home to kick off 2013 on Wednesday against Mt. Ararat, while Brunswick improved to 4-3 and visits Erskine Academy on Wednesday.
“I thought our effort energy-wise was fine, but we just couldn’t finish, and they just played better than us,” said Farrar. “I thought our leaders would be better than they were tonight. Brunswick is a well-coached team, and you have to beat them because they will not beat themselves. They are tough.”
“They had 21 shots in the first quarter to our nine, so we had to do a better job of boxing out, and we did that in the second half,” said Brunswick coach Todd Hanson, whose charges turned a 19-14 halftime lead into a 43-29 advantage through 24 minutes.
Neither team found much in the opening quarter, which finished in an 8-8 tie. Brunswick struggled on the boards, outrebounded 13-7, but back-to-back treys from Ryan Black got the hosts going.
“I found my shot, and it felt really good,” said Black, who had six first-quarter points and finished the night with 10. “This is a huge win. We felt bad about the Bangor loss (a Rams 53-48 win in overtime last Saturday), knowing we should have won. We turned it up, the fast break, and we played better defense. We worked hard in practice, knowing Lewiston is very athletic.”
“Anytime you can make baskets, three 3-pointers in the first half, you have to feel good,” said Hanson. “Lewiston will win some games. I challenged our kids, Ryan (Black), (Blake) Gordon and (Brad) Smith, to show their leadership, and they did that tonight and came up big.”
Lewiston’s shooting troubles continued into the second quarter, as the Blue Devils went over six minutes without a point, while Brunswick reeled off eight straight for a 16-8 lead. Lewiston received four points off the bench from Isaiah Harris late in the half, as the Dragons carried a 19-14 lead to the break.
Lewiston shot just 18 percent (seven of 37) in the first half, while the Dragons made eight of 23 shots (34 percent).
The Blue Devils showed a full-court press to begin the second half, but the Dragons, behind guards Gordon, Devereaux, Konnor Scarponi and Black broke the pressure and reeled off 24 third-quarter points to take control.
“We trapped fine, but the next level wasn’t there,” said Farrar. “We were just a step behind and they were step ahead.”
“We feel good about our backcourt, knowing we can go four guards, which is our strong point,” said Hanson.
Gordon scored eight third-quarter points to lead Brunswick, while Smith, held scoreless in the first half, popped for six points as the Dragons made 10 of 16 shots (62 percent) from the floor.
Brunswick’s lead increased to a game-high 20 points, 53-33, with 3:37 remaining before Lewiston closed the game on a 12-4 run to make the final score closer.
Quintarian Brown paced the Blue Devils with 10 points off the bench, while Harris finished with eight, and Josh Thomas, Adam Poliquin, Donne Aggossou and Steven Patrie picked up six points apiece. Aggossou pulled down eight rebounds and had four steals, and Patrie six caroms and three steals.
Lewiston was 21 of 68 (30 percent) from the floor and made two of three free throws.
Gordon had a game-high 17 points for Brunswick, with Devereaux and Scarponi adding nine points each and Smith eight.