READFIELD — Kyle Boucher isn’t concerned with scoring. He’d much rather do the dirty work.

Friday night, the 6-foot-6 sophomore center netted 12 points and was a factor inside the paint all game long. He ripped down eight rebounds and blocked seven shots to help Maranacook hold off Oak Hill 59-50 in a KVAC boys’ basketball game.

The Black Bears (9-5) had a decided advantage down low with Boucher and the 6-foot-3 Harry Lanphear. The duo combined for 11 of the team’s 16 offensive rebounds. Eight of Boucher’s points came on those second opportunities underneath.

“He’s come a long way,” said Oak Hill coach Jared Browne, who is quite familiar with Boucher after having worked with the pivot man at summer camps. “He’s worked extremely hard and is a difference maker down there.”

“He’s been playing real well defensively,” added Maranacook coach Rob Schmidt. “He’s young and is really starting to learn the game.”

Whenever Maranacook needed a stop, there was Boucher to swat away a shot.

“I love blocking shots,” admitted the 15-year-old redhead. “Most guys like to shoot. I like to block shots. I try to be aggressive as I can. Sometimes I get called for a foul because I’m so big so I just have to pick my spots.”

The Black Bears twice opened up leads of 13 points in the first half as the Raiders (3-11) were continually playing catch up after starting off slow on the offensive end. Cody Provost scored six of the Raiders’ first eight points and finished with 18.

While Provost found his offense early, his teammates struggled. Sam Morin’s slashing layup was the only successful field goal in the first 16 attempts by Provost’s cohorts. That string was finally broken by back-to-back jump shots by Cam Morin, who finished with a game-high 19.

Two factors played into the slow start. One was the physical presence down low by Boucher. The other was a change in the offense.

“We put a new offense in this week to slow Maranacook down,” said Browne. “I don’t think we were able to work on it enough, so we went back to our old offense in the second half.”

Trailing by eight to start the second half, the Raiders began getting some open looks. Provost followed up a 3-pointer from the wing with an offensive put back of a Cam Morin miss from outside to pull within four points late in the third. Cam Morin then added a pair of free throws to close the third quarter with the Black Bears clinging to a 32-30 lead.

The fourth quarter was wild and wide open with both teams combining to score 47 points. The Raiders took their first lead since the opening minute of the game after Provost converted a conventional 3-point play 14 seconds into the fourth quarter.

Coupled with the change in offense, the Raiders also created numerous turnovers with their full-court press.

“We had planned on a half court game,” said Browne, “but that’s not who we are as a team. We got back into our philosophy and that got us back into it.”

The press was hit or miss for the Raiders. When it worked, the Raiders created turnovers and cut down passing lanes. When it didn’t, the Black Bears made them pay.

“We didn’t get the ball to the middle of the floor,” said Schmidt. “They forced us to the sideline and the court became very small. When we get the floor spread out and get our feet set, we’re pretty good shooters.”

The Black Bears were scoring from all areas after beating the press in the fourth quarter, scoring 27 points. Consecutive treys by Eben Ballard, Jack Kennedy, who scored a team-high 15 points, and Seth Miller put the Black Bears ahead to stay.

A Cam Morin steal and lay in pulled the Raiders to within three points, but they could get no closer.


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