In the end, it was James’ dominance inside that propelled the host Wolverines to an 84-69 Mountain Valley Conference boys’ basketball win Friday.

The 6-foot-6 James finished with 46 points, 24 rebounds (14 offensive) and four steals, leading the Wolverines to a dominating 47-23 edge on the boards.

His efforts offset a hot night of shooting by the Falcons (2-3), who made 13 shots from behind the arc, including a 9-of-12 performance in the first half when Mountain Valley carried a 43-38 lead to the intermission.

But Wiscasset (4-2) switched to a 1-3-1 defense, a move that caused the visitors to go cold in the third quarter. The Wolverines outscored the Falcons 21-8 in the key frame and held off several Mountain Valley challenges in the fourth quarter.

“The 3 is a good thing, but it can be a bad thing as it dried up in the second,” said Mountain Valley coach Tom Danylik, whose Falcons host Carrabec on Tuesday. “We relied too much on that. When it went away, we had a hard time scoring in the second half.

“But we scored enough points to win the game. We can’t rebound. You don’t rebound, you don’t win. I don’t care if it’s middle school, rec ball or the NBA. You have to rebound. We gave up 24 offensive rebounds, a recipe to give up 84 points.”

“We knew that they were a good ball club and they are well-coached,” said Wiscasset coach Dana Lawrence of Mountain Valley. “This is a big win for us after a couple tough losses.”

One night after a tough 49-46 loss to unbeaten Hall-Dale, the Wolverines constantly went inside to James. He scored 13 of his team’s 18 first-quarter points, but watched helplessly as Mountain Valley drained six 3-pointers and received nine points from Jacob Blanchard and eight from Keegan Davis for a 26-18 lead.

A quick jumper by Taylor Pelletier stretched Mountain Valley’s advantage to 29-18 to begin the second quarter, but Wiscasset forced four second-quarter turnovers and quickly closed to 30-29 on a Zach Reed putback. Moments later, Cody Roberts finished off a pass from Reed for a 31-30 lead, and the teams went back and forth before the Falcons used a half-closing 10-5 burst to grab the lead.

As hot as Mountain Valley was in the first half, the Falcons came out ice cold in the third quarter. They missed nine straight shots and turned the ball over four more times, allowing Wiscasset to take over.

“We had some success with the 1-3-1 in the second period, and we came out with it in the second half and did a much better job closing on their shooters,” said Lawrence, whose Wolverines visit Oak Hill on Tuesday at 7 p.m. “We were able to get our hands up in their face, and we rebounded better in the second half.”

“We wanted to make an adjustment of getting the ball to the corner and attacking the baseline,” said Danylik. “We had that feeling that the 3 wasn’t going to last, so we wanted other options off of that. But Wiscasset is long and lean and does a good job. They play very good interior defense. All the credit to them.”

Wiscasset’s 11-0 run to open the second half made for a 49-43 lead before a pair of free throws by Davis ended the Falcons’ cold spell. James put up 13 more points, with Russell Marr dishing out two assists and scoring four points for a 59-51 Wiscasset lead through 24 minutes.

“My teammates were giving me a good ball, and that made things easier for me,” said James, who topped his 20-point first-half performance with 26 more in the second half. His 46 points topped the 42 he had earlier this season against Carrabec. “We went into halftime and we focused on not allowing them to hit 3s. We got into a flow in the third quarter.”

Lawrence saw the scoring spread around more in the second half, with Roberts finishing with 11 points, Reed and Marr eight each, and Kevin Lynch seven.

“They can all score, and that is what we are trying to get them to understand,” said Lawrence. “Ethan is going to get his points. We can’t just focus on Ethan.”

Down 67-58, Mountain Valley picked up two more 3-pointers — one each from Will Bean and Davis — to close to 67-64. James’ basket after two offensive boards made it a 69-64 contest, and the Wolverines pulled away from there.

Davis led the Falcons with 28 points, including five baskets from long distance. He also pulled down nine rebounds and dished out three assists. Blanchard finished with 17 points, 13 coming in the half, while Michael Pare had nine points. Parker Davis chipped in four steals. Mountain Valley was 25-of-72 (34 percent) from the floor and made 6-of-12 from the charity stripe.

Wiscasset was 32-of-68 (47 percent) from the field and 18-of-24 from the free-throw line.


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