TOPSHAM — Never underestimate the resiliency of the Lewiston Blue Devils boys’ basketball team. Despite losing six games in a row earlier this season and with their playoff chances fading away in the third quarter of their game Friday night, the Blue Devils earned a character win over the Mt. Ararat Eagles.

The Blue Devils overcame foul trouble and a 13-point third-quarter deficit to earn a 51-46 KVAC victory over the Eagles and keep their playoff hopes alive.

“We had a stretch this year when we lost six games in a row,” said Lewiston coach Tim Farrar. “A lot of teams would have quit. It says a lot about the character of our team.”

Reserve forward Cody Mousseau’s 3-pointer in the game’s final minute gave the Blue Devils (7-8) the lead for good.

Mt. Ararat center Luke Liedman (14 points) had wiggled his way underneath for a layup to put the home team up 46-45. Seconds later, Lewiston’s Joe McKinnon picked up his dribble in the offensive end and Mousseau came to the rescue. The junior received a pass before quickly squaring up just to the left of the top of the key and buried the trey.”

“I came over to help,” said Mousseau who had previously missed both of his other two attempts from beyond the arc. “I shoot a lot of threes in practice, that’s my game. Once I shot it, I knew it was going in.”

Farrar wasn’t the least bit worried when Mousseau fired the shot.

“I tell him once he gets past half court he can shoot,” said the excited Farrar. “He hadn’t hit a shot all night, but we have a lot of confidence in him.”

The Eagles (10-6) exploded for 23 points in the second quarter and appeared to be in total control at the onset of the third quarter. Star guard Josh Walker hit his first three shots after the half stake the Eagles to a 38-25 lead. That’s when the Blue Devils defense began to take over.

The Blue Devils used five different players to guard the left-handed Walker. Abdi Osman overplayed Walker to the left for much of the second half along with a rotation of Corbin Hyde, Luke Cote, Shawn Ricker and Sheldon Jones. The pressure defense limited Walker to just a pair of free throws after his jumper from the wing early in the third quarter. Walker finished with a game-high 16 points.

With Walker shut down, his teammates were unable to pick up the slack. Walkers’ six points was all the Eagles could muster in the third quarter and they had just two field goals and eight points in the fourth.

“We were exhausted,” said Mt. Ararat coach Aaron Watson, “especially when you play back to back nights. Their intensity level wore us down. That’s a huge win for them. That put them back in the picture.”

Center Jake Dumas began the Blue Devils’ comeback by converting an offensive rebound to cut the Eagles’ lead to 38-27. Corbin Hyde, who scored 11 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, followed with an up and under move. After buckets inside by Jones and Steven Patrie (eight points off the bench) cut the lead to five before Hyde put back a Patrie miss to close the quarter and the Blue Devils were on their way.

Lewiston took the lead early in the fourth on a driving lay up and conventional 3-point play by Jones.

The Blue Devils would take a 49-46 lead late in the game. After a pair of Walker long misses, the Blue Devils had to inbound the ball under their own basket with 7.8 seconds remaining. After the first attempt ended with a timeout before a five-second violation, Hyde found McKinnon racing down the right sideline. As McKinnon crossed mid court, he passed the ball ahead to wide open Patrie underneath for an easy basket to seal the win.

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