FARMINGTON — James Anderson’s 3-pointers fell like light snow from an overcast winter’s sky.

Anderson dropped in most of his long-range shots in the second quarter, which helped Mt. Blue open a 30-17 halftime lead and inspired the rest of his team with his dynamic play. His four 3-pointers and some late fourth-quarter heroics from his teammates helped the Cougars shake off Waterville in a 57-48 victory in a basketball game that was still too tough to call in the final minutes Tuesday night.

It was the Cougars’ (1-3) first victory of the season, and boy were they glad to have the lanky junior guard back in the lineup after he suffered a knee injury at the beginning of the year. Anderson is an Arizona transplant who likes the people and loves his school but really could do without Maine’s bone-chilling cold.

“I have been waiting to play. I have been injured, you know what I am saying,” Anderson said with a wide grin. “I have been mad because I haven’t been playing, so I have been back trying to get in the game, try to do what I can.”

Of course, Anderson was grateful to have a hand in the Cougars’ win.

“Feel real great. More to come, you know what I am saying. Try to do what I can. I am back now,” he said. “Hopefully, it will be all right from now on.”

Anderson scored the game-high 17 points and senior captain Coop Hollingsworth added 12 and hustled underneath with his strong rebound skills. Waterville’s Devin Lebrun had his team’s hot hand,  and scored 12 points.

“Fantastic. A big relief, monkey off the back kind of thing,” Mt. Blue coach Brian Kelly said. “I thought the unselfishness was huge. I thought everybody did their jobs well.

“I was really pleased with the defensive efforts of how hard we worked. We switched some things up. I was a little nervous as they started coming back in the end. We haven’t had any practice, shall we say, protecting a lead.

“It sure was nice to have him (Anderson). I thought that when our superintendent Dr. Tom Ward, made the comment that ‘when (Anderson) did that, he sort of elevated everybody else,’ everybody else’s confidences, and I think that is true. Hollingsworth had that nice stretch at the end of the second quarter. He got eight points.”

Toward the end of the third quarter, it appeared the Cougars were going to run away with it after building a 45-29 lead.

But stubborn Waterville started closing in the fourth when the Cougars’ offensive output petered out — for the moment.

With five minutes left in the game, the Panthers whittled down the Cougars’ lead to five points when Jack Lloyd hit both foul shots.

And the Panthers weren’t going away, but the Cougars got back into it when Makao Thompson went under with two of his six points. Marshall Doyon followed with a free-throw and Garrett Reynolds went under and came up with two of his seven points, and before they knew, the Cougars were back up 50-40 with 3:16 left to play.

The pesky Panthers still haunted the Cougars to the end, but captain Cole Dorman (eight points) scored four in a row and Anderson ended his splendid evening with a three-point play to give Mt. Blue the final say.


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