AUBURN – This year’s St. Dominic Regional High School boys’ basketball team has developed a knack for steering opponents away from their strengths and making them look bad. Consequently, the Saints are looking better than they have in years.

St. Dom’s extended its Western Maine Conference winning streak to six games Tuesday night with a 47-46 triumph over Traip Academy at Callahan Family Gym.

Joe Bonneau led all scorers with 20 points, including seven in the third quarter to stake the Saints (6-2) to a double-digit lead. The cushion disappeared but Billy Colasante saved the day, slashing to the hole for the game-winning hoop with 36.9 seconds left in regulation.

“When we need a big bucket, we just try to clear it out for him,” first-year St. Dom’s head coach Ryan Deschenes said of Colasante. “He can hit a big jumper or take it to the rim like he did there.”

Colasante couldn’t complete the traditional 3-point play, and St. Dom’s also missed the front end of a one-and-one with 17 seconds to go. Traip (5-4) had a chance to win it and found Isaiah Plummer for a semi-open look from the left baseline, but the ball clanked off the front iron as time expired.

It was a fitting finish. Traip struggled mightily from the field (16-of-63). The Saints exploited a size disparity throughout with Bonneau, Colasante (eight points, 10 rebounds, three blocked shots) and Andy Allen (10 points, eight rebounds, four blocks) doing the damage.

“Defense has been our stronghold all year,” said Bonneau. “We’ve held down teams that usually score a lot of points.”

Trevor Higgins led Traip with 13 points. Matt Downs added 11 points and five assists for the Rangers, who came in 4-0 against Class C foes with an average victory margin of 30.

Conversely, St. Dom’s has lived on the edge. This was the Saints’ second straight one-point victory. They also beat Class B Poland in overtime by five and avenged an early loss to North Yarmouth Academy by four.

Next up for the Saints is a chance to vindicate their other defeat, at home Thursday against Waynflete.

“They also ended our season last year in a two-point game in the playoffs,” Colasante said. “That will be an emotional game for us.”

After exploding to a 5-0 lead, St. Dom’s fell behind by six before Bonneau and Allen combined for 11 points in a 13-2 surge to a 26-21 halftime lead.

Bonneau scored six straight points early in the third quarter, and he hit the first of two free throws to make it 36-26 with 3:39 remaining in the period.

“He had a monster game,” Deschenes said.

A loss would have left either team lamenting missed fourth-quarter opportunities. St. Dom’s committed four turnovers and went 4-of-11 from the floor, while Traip missed five of seven free throws.

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