The Hornets could have used the extra cushion after the Raiders zoomed past them in a nightmarish second half that saw them score only nine points and lose their third in a row, 45-29, on Thursday night.

Oscar Saunders scored all of his game-high 13 points and the Raiders forced 17 turnovers in the second half to improve to 2-1. Cody Gullikson added eight points, seven rebounds and eight steals for Fryeburg.

Jack Sylvester led Leavitt (0-3) with 11 points while Cole Morin added six points and 13 rebounds.

Eleven Leavitt turnovers in the third quarter helped Fryeburg overcome a cold shooting night (15-for-45) by getting several easy fast break baskets to obliterate a 20-13 halftime deficit.

“If you make a few baskets, you can get into your press. Everything just kind of snowballed (in the second half),” Fryeburg coach Sedge Saunders said. 

Ryan Hews’ fast break layup got it started. Joe LeBrun followed with a three-point play off a nice feed from Saunders to make it 20-18.

Sylvester briefly stemmed the tied by breaking the press for a layup, but those would be the Hornets’ last points for the next five minutes. Gullikson converted a steal into a layup, then Saunders tied it at 22-22 with a layup off another turnover.

Nine of Leavitt’s turnovers in the period came in the first 4:30.

An Isaac Wakefield putback put the Raiders in front to stay with 2:37 left in the third. Josh Banks pulled the Hornets within 26-25 with a 3-pointer with 40 seconds remaining. Saunders answered with a buzzer-beater from just inside the arc to put Fryeburg up by three heading into the fourth.

The Raiders pulled away with a 13-0 run to start the fourth. The Hornets committed six more turnovers and missed their first six shots during that stretch before Morin’s putback made it 41-27 with 2:11 to go.

Fryeburg couldn’t produce the turnovers to make up for its lack of production against Leavitt’s zone defense in the first half and made just five of 26 shots to fall behind. 

“We struggled with (Leavitt’s zone),” Saunders said. “I thought we missed some easy ones and we had some good looks that just didn’t fall. A zone like that can throw you off a little bit. The second half, of course, we got some offense from our defense and that helped an awful lot.”

Sylvester led an 11-4 Leavitt run in the second quarter with nine points. Morin scored the other two on a baseline hook shot as Leavitt opened an 18-11 lead.

“I thought the first half wasn’t great energy,” Saunders said. “We’re not a big team. We have to pressure the ball and we’ve got to rotate. Second half was much better.”


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