Most coaches know they can expect a mixed bag of commitment and comportment from their team in that situation. The restless Hornets are only human. From guiding many of the same athletes in football, however, Mike Hathaway could rest assured that his gang wouldn’t quit competing.

Persistence pays: Leavitt has won consecutive home games after enjoying a reversal of fortune at the Cougars’ expense, 61-47, on Tuesday night at Mitchell Gym.

“It’s been a little tough, but for the most part guys are sticking with it and keeping their heads up,” Hathaway said. “We’re still having fun when we’re in the gym, but it’s definitely great to get a win.”

Even though Hathaway benched two starters for disciplinary reasons, Leavitt (2-13) gained confidence from a quick start and stymied Mt. Blue (3-11) with its balance and tenacious defense thereafter.

Seniors Max Green and Billy Bedard led the Hornets with 14 points apiece. Each also took the lion’s share of defensive responsibility against one of the Cougars’ top players. Green kept explosive big man Zack Mittelstadt reasonably in check, while Bedard held Evan Backus to a single 3-pointer.

“We played as a team this time. We executed what Coach wanted us to do,” Bedard said. “Things were open and people were making shots. It was working today.”

Mittelstadt finished with game-highs of 28 points and 14 rebounds for Mt. Blue, which was coming off back-to-back wins for the first time since the 2011-12 season. Backus added 13 points.

Mt. Blue shot 15-for-56 (27 percent) from the field.

Green’s 3-pointer gave Leavitt the lead for good early in the opening quarter. D’Andre James later drove for two and Nick Angello — fresh off an overtime victory in the junior varsity game — hit the first of his two 3-pointers.

That gave the Hornets an 18-10 lead at quarter’s end and was the beginning of a 16-4 run, ending with another Angello trey and a Green layup for a 29-14 cushion with 1:56 to go in the half.

“It certainly helps, because like in Westbrook the other night, when you get off to a bad start, it snowballs on you,” Hathaway said. “A couple of guys hit some shots early, so they started feeling good about themselves. I thought our ball movement was pretty good early, especially against some of their zone traps, and defensively we were tough.”

The Cougars clustered seven consecutive points to cap the half and claw within eight at the break. Backus hit a hook shot in traffic, then nailed a fall-away 3-pointer as he was fouled. Mittelstadt put back the missed free throw.

Cooper Hollingsworth hit two free throws for Mt. Blue to open the third period, but the Hornets held the Cougars without a field goal for nearly five minutes and reopened their double-digit advantage.

“It basically was just tight man-to-man defense,” Green said. “We didn’t get too comfortable with the lead. We came in the third quarter strong and kept momentum on our side the rest of the night.”

Levi Craig spelled Green defensively against Mittelstadt after Green acquired his third foul. While Mt. Blue struggled to get anybody except its junior center in the offensive flow, all five Leavitt starters — Bedard, Green, James, Nathanael Goulette and Jack Sylvester — scored in the third quarter.

Mt. Blue fought to 48-41 on a Mittelstadt jumper with six minutes left, but Bedard and Green combined for six unanswered points to put it away.

“We really didn’t run a lot of (offensive) sets tonight for guys,” Hathaway said. “We just ran our motion man and motion zone stuff. Guys did a good job of moving around and finding the space, and when it was somebody’s turn to finish, they were finishing.”

James added 10 points and 13 rebounds for Leavitt, which opened the season 0-11 before the win over Morse.

That is foreign territory to Bedard, Green, Craig and others who gave grown accustomed to wins and playoff appearances in football.

“It’s nice to win at home,” Bedard said.

“The crowd was into it, which was great,” Green added.

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