TURNER — From the first minute to the very last seconds Thursday night, it was primarily a game of catch-up for the Leavitt boys’ basketball team.

The Hornets fell behind from the start and spent much of the game trying to rally against Maranacook. Leavitt stayed close and even had a number of chances in the final quarter to tie the game or take the lead. That included a final possession in which the Hornets had a crack at the game-winner. That shot missed as the Black Bears emerged with a 58-57 win over Leavitt.

“I thought the kids did a real good job of not letting them get a real big run and get too far away from us,” Leavitt coach Mike Hathaway said. “We kept it close. I thought we executed pretty well coming out of some timeouts in the fourth quarter and got some good looks. That last one, we just didn’t get a great look at it.”

Maranacook had a seven-point lead in the first quarter, were up by eight in the second and led by as many as nine in the third. Every time, Leavitt managed to rally. The Hornets only had the lead three times all night but tied the game twice in the fourth and had numerous chances to take the lead down the stretch.

“That’s the thing about Leavitt, they’re way to athletic and way to competitive,” Maranacook coach Rob Schmidt said. “They have a lot of pride. So they’re not going to go away. We knew that. We would have liked to have buried them but that doesn’t usually happen here.”

Taylor Wilbur led the Black Bears (2-1) with 25 points while Cam Brochu added 18. Leavitt (0-3) got 21 from Zac Goulette and 10 from Reed Farrar.

“I’m happy,” Schmidt said. “I feel like we kept our composure pretty well. We kept our turnovers down. We seemed to hit some shots when we needed it. They clawed back in, but when we needed a play, we seemed to come up with it.”

Down 49-40 late in the third, Leavitt got a basket by Mitch Davis and a 3 from Austin Anderson that got the Hornets within 51-45 after three. Leavitt then scored six straight to open the fourth to tie it at 51-51.

Davis scored in the post. Farrar scored off a steal and Anderson put back a rebound with 6:41 left.

Maranacook missed its first seven shots from the floor and only hit one field goal in the fourth. The Black Bears survived with free throws by Jason Brooks and Wilbur.

“There were a couple of guys we were trying to be a little more aggressive on and be pesky around the ball,” Hathaway said. “I thought defensively the kids did a good job and executed everything we talked about at halftime. It was a much better defensive half in the second half.”

Maranacook’s lone field goal was a steal by Brooks with 3:58. Leavitt got free throws from Levi Morin to tie the game at 53-53. The Black Bears opened the lead with a pair of free throws by Brooks and one by Wilbur with 1:12 left. Farrar hit a corner shot to make it 56-55 with 32 seconds left. Leavitt fouled Brooks and he hit both for a 58-55 lead. Farrar hit from the corner again with 20 seconds left.

Leavitt got the chance to take the lead with 14 seconds left. After Maranacook missed two key free throws, Morin got the rebound. The Hornets set themselves up for a final shot.

Goulette had the ball at the top of the key. He tried to find an open shot but got bottled up by the Black Bear defense. When he lost his dribble and had no shot, he was forced to dish off to Morin at the top of the key. He had to rush a shot in the final seconds but it missed.

“We had a double screen for him,” Hathaway said. “He had the option to shoot. We had a guy in the corner for a pick-and-pop kind of deal. We had some options. They did a good job of stopping the ball and making him pick up his dribble. They forced us into a tough, contested 3.”

Focusing on Goulette was the plan for the Black Bears down the stretch. Maranacook did a nice job of making him work for his opportunities and forced the Hornets to look elsewhere. The Black Bears zone frustrate the Hornets for a bit but Farrar got some key shots and Morin and Davis were strong inside.

“What we really needed to do in the second half was tighten up on Goulette,” Schmidt said. “He killed us in the first half. That was one of our keys. Their other players hit some big shots but we were happy that Goulette didn’t go off because he was on his way to a huge night.”

Leavitt was playing with Anderson and Korey Caito seeing limited duty. Both were banged up in the loss to Lincoln Academy earlier in the week. Isiah Trask and Farrar did a nice job off the bench in starting roles. Both were JV players last year.

The Black Bears opened the game with a 7-0 lead but Leavitt managed to battle back and took the lead late in the quarter. A 3 and a three-point play by Wilbur helped Maranacook build a 34-26 lead in the second, but Leavitt got five points from Goulette late in the half to keep it within 36-31 at the half.

Leavitt took the lead in the third during a 9-1 run. A Goulette 3 made it 40-39, but Maranacook answered with 10 straight, including back-to-back 3’s from Max McQuillen and Wilbur.

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