FARMINGTON — Whenever Mt. Blue looked up, the colossal Gardiner Tigers were looming over the Cougars with outstretched arms.

Dealing with Gardiner’s intimidating height was a challenge for the Cougars (1-13), but when they got into early foul trouble, they allowed the towering Tigers (7-8) to dribble away with a 70-50 victory in a boys’ basketball game Wednesday night.

But the Cougars’ first-half performance was stunning as they made the Tigers, who dominated the boards most of the night, work for every basket. Gardiner muscled its way to a 36-28 halftime lead.

“Of course, the foul trouble hurt us and we were getting killed on the boards so we switched from the 3-2 (defense) to the 1-3-1 and it gave us an opportunity to box out better so that was the decision to do that,” Mt. Blue coach Charles Castonguay said. “Oh, they are huge compared to us. They are taller in every position, not just that they have a couple of guys inside that are tall.

“They are coming off five losses and they are still trying to get in (the playoffs). You know they came hungry tonight and I kind of felt they would.

I think we did a much better job boxing out when we made the adjustment. I am very pleased with the way they played.”

Foul trouble caught up with the Cougars in the third quarter, allowing Gardiner to open its scoring to build a 50-34 lead, which it would only increase from there for the Tigers.

The Tigers owned the fourth quarter and demonstrated their tenacity for dunking the ball. Gardiner’s 6-foot-4 senior forward Connor McGuire piled up the game-high 29 points and went 5-for-5 at the free-throw line. Guard Kyle Johnson scored 12 points. Forward Ben Shaw was good for 13.

But it certainly helps to have a handful of tall players on hand to dominate the boards.

“That was our advantage — for sure,” Gardiner coach Jason Cassidy said. “We’ve been struggling and they put the pressure on us.

“I was coaching hard there believe it or not. We got them at the end with transition and stuff, but they are down a couple of men and we are down a couple of men, but no, they played very hard.

“They are working with a lot of young guys. They are going to have a good future.

“I think we are still this late in the season figuring out rotations, it is sad to say. We have a couple of guys back tomorrow. We had some kids step up. Luke Stevens has worked his way into the starting lineup. I thought he moved the ball very well.

At the other end of the court, Mt. Blue junior guard Garrett Reynolds scored 16 points and Randy Barker added nine.

Mt. Blue guard Marshall Doyon (20) looks for help as teammate Caleb Talbot (23) tries get open while Gardiner’s Ben Shaw (31) and Luke Stevens (21) defend in a basketball game in Farmington on Wednesday night.Mt. Blue’s Jacob Farnham (12) tries to get past Gardiner’s Cam Austin (32) in a basketball game in Farmington on Wednesday night.Mt. Blue’s Caleb Talbot (23) reaches for a rebound Wednesday night.Mt. Blue’s Marshall Doyon (20) leaps to pass the ball as Gardiner’s Ben Shaw (31) tries to stop him in a basketball game in Farmington on Wednesday night.

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