FARMINGTON — It took all of five seconds of overtime for the Mt. Blue boys’ basketball team to seize its first lead since the first possession of the game.

It took 13 more seconds for Brewer to answer, much like it had in the opening quarter, and the Witches never let the Cougars out in front again.

Dom Drake hit a pair of free throws with 11.7 seconds remaining in the extra session to put the game out of reach and lift Eastern Class A-leading Brewer to a 68-65 victory over Mt. Blue in a matchup of a pair of 10-win teams.

“Dom’s tough to play against,” Brewer coach Ben Goodwin said. “He’s just an all-around team player. The biggest thing with him is that he thinks as much about the rest of the team, and playing as a unit, as he does himself.”

Drake was a force Tuesday, hitting for 20 points, hauling in 10 rebounds and adding three assists to lead the Witches to their 12th win of the season.

“I think we were intimidated early by their pressure,” Mt. Blue coach Jim Bessey said. “But when you look at the game, probably when we played our best is when we were running with them, but that wasn’t our game plan at all.”

It may not have been the original plan, but the up-tempo style of game the Witches like to play worked well for the Cougars in the fourth quarter. With Brewer out to a 10-point lead at 51-41, Blake Hart hit a long-range 3-pointer to close the gap to seven with 4:17 to play. Jordan Hoyt followed with a pair of free throws to cut the Brewer lead to five. The Witches ran the lead back to seven on a basket counted after a goaltending call with 1:31 left in regulation.

“The tempo, they just played faster there at the end, and it seemed to work,” Bessey said.

Ryan Backus and Hart his back-to-back treys to cut Brewer’s lead to a single point, and after Nate Carson dumped in a short lay-in with 37 seconds to play, Blake Mirmingham went to the line with a chance to seal it on a one-and-one.

He missed the front end, and with less than two seconds on the clock, Hoyt drilled a desperation 3-pointer from the left wing to send the game into overtime.

“That could have just crushed us,” Goodwin said, “but the kids hung in there. We settled down during the break. They came out and got a quick one, but we hung in there.”

“All the stats say the team scoring first in overtime has the advantage,” Bessey said, “but we weren’t able to get a stop on defense after we scored. They’re the top team in Eastern Class A for a reason, but now that we’ve seen them, I hope things work out in a such a way that we can maybe see them again down the road.”

After the Cougars jumped out to a 2-0 lead, Brewer ran out to a 14-8 edge after the first quarter. Mt. Blue kept it within four at the half despite three fouls to point guard Eric Berry.

The Witches threatened to run away with it in the third, building a 12-point lead at 38-26, but Mt. Blue again cut the lead to four by the end of the frame.

Hoyt led Mt. Blue with 18 points, while Cam Sennick chipped in with 15 and Backus added 12.


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