READFIELD – The rest of the KVAC probably knows it already, but just in case, Maranacook reminded everyone Tuesday night that it might be young, but it can’t be easily rattled.

The Black Bears’ trio of super sophomores, Ryan Martin, Mike Poulin and Will Bardaglio, combined for 17 of Maranacook’s 19 points in the fourth quarter as they held off a late charge by Lincoln Academy for a 62-52 win.

Marin finished with a game-high 16 points, while Poulin added 13 and Bardaglio 12. Stephen Williams led the Eagles with 12 points, while Devon Peaselee added 11 points, nine assists and four steals.

The win improved Maranacook’s record to 15-1. The Black Bears sit atop the Eastern B Heals and are on the verge of clinching a spot in the KVAC championship game, so coach Rob Schmidt is preparing them for post-season play.

“We’re looking at this game and the next two games (against Waterville and Mt. View) as playoff games,” said coach Rob Schmidt. “I think we’ll be in the KVAC championship game and that will be a playoff atmosphere. Right now, we’re just trying to keep our composure and make smart decisions on the court for (the tournament).”

The Bears’ diamond-and-one press forced Lincoln (7-9) into some bad decisions in a second quarter in which they forced nine turnovers and outscored the Eagles, 15-4.

“When they go to that diamond-and-one, that speeds everything up,” Lincoln coach Nick DePatsy said. “Their guards get in the open floor and they’re hard to stop. Then you think you can shut down one of them and someone else steps up.”

“We have three pretty good pressure defenses and we mix it up a little bit,” Schmidt said. “Whichever one is working we tend to go with. We could have stayed in it a little longer, but we decided not to, and it may have come back to haunt us a little bit.”

The Black Bears took a 10-point lead into intermission, then widened the cushion to as much as 15 in the third quarter and then again early in the fourth on a 3-pointer by Poulin. But they clearly let down after that and allowed the Eagles to get back into the contest with a 13-4 run.

Williams made it a two-possession game with an eight-footer in the lane with 1:18 to go. The Eagles had a chance to get closer after Maranacook missed the front end of a one-and-one, but a five-second violation on their ensuing possession proved to be costly.

A Shawn Elwell hoop with 21 seconds left got Lincoln to within four, but by then, Bardaglio and Martin were on their way to converting 9-of-10 free throws in the final 53 seconds to put the game on ice.


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