POLAND — After a dominant first half, Poland took its foot off the gas pedal in the second long enough for Old Orchard Beach to find its footing.

Not long enough, however, for the Seagulls to take full flight.

A five-point play in the fourth-quarter followed by a three-point play in favor of the Knights helped the team regain its composure and pull away from Old Orchard Beach in the final frame for a 65-44 win in a Western Maine Conference showdown.

Missing a pair of starters — likely for the remainder of the season — the Knights relied on their depth to get things done Friday.

“We’re still a very good team,” Poland coach Tyler Tracy said. “Knowing that, if we play defense, if we play hard, we still have a chance to win every game we play.”

Logan Nichols led all players with 19 points, including five 3-pointers, and he helped Ricky Bryant knock in 17 more. The pair of players combined for 12 points in the fourth quarter alone, and 36 on the game.

“Logan’s our leader anyway, and scoring-wise, he’s really taken it upon himself,” Tracy said. “And guys are getting a lot of good looks and he’s finding them, too.

“Our strength as a team, with or without certain players, we move the ball well,” Tracy added. “We’re a very good motion team. The guys have been playing it now for a couple of years, and we move well, and we find the open guy.”

“They must have been playing together for a long time,” Old Orchard Beach coach John Regan said. “They always seemed to know where the other was going to be. They’re a fast team, and you can know that, but it’s hard to practice defending that until you’ve seen them in action.”

Faced with a 19-point deficit at halftime, which Nate Rybeck made a 21-point Poland advantage on the first possession of the half, the Seagulls (2-6) started to chip away at the Poland lead in the third. Andrew Fleury and Quincy Grace keyed a 9-0 OOB run in the middle of the third as the Seagulls outscored Poland by six in the quarter to pull within 13. Another short, 5-2 run to begin the fourth quarter cut the lead to 10, and OOB was in business.

“We felt that if we thought of it as a 20-point hole, that was too much,” Regan said, “but we felt if we could get it to within nine or ten, then we would go from there.”

“At halftime, we talked about, we could come out, make a few baskets and shut them down,” Tracy said. “But we came out, we kind of rolled over a bit and give them credit, they were more physical, they didn’t roll over and they didn’t quit.”

Fifteen seconds later, Nichols slammed the door, hitting a trey from the top of the key as Bryant was fouled away from the ball under the basket. He sank both freebies, and swung the lead back to 15. Grace added two more to his team-leading 11-point total right afterward, but Brant followed with a three-point play of his own to grow the lead to 16. Nichols, Josh Gary and Bryant hit for another six points in a row after that, effectively burying the Seagulls.

“Against a good team like Poland, you don’t recover from something like that,” Regan said.

OOB kept things close through the first quarter, but after matching treys to begin the second, Poland started to pull away, going on a 15-2 run to extend its lead to 34-11. The ‘Gulls scored six of the final eight points of the first half.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.