Winthrop’s Beau Brooks goes up for two around Boothbay’s Steve Reny during a basketball game Wednesday in Winthrop. (Kennebec Journal photo by Andy Molloy)

WINTHROP — It was one of the biggest wins of the season for the Winthrop boys’ basketball team. Maybe the biggest.

And it took everything the Ramblers had.

Cam Wood scored 27 points, Jared McLaughlin knocked down four clutch free throws and Winthrop outlasted fellow Mountain Valley Conference contender Boothbay 65-61 Wednesday night.

Winthrop improved to 12-1. Boothbay, which got 23 points from Hunter Crocker, fell to 10-4.

“I don’t think we had our best stuff tonight, but when we needed to buckle down and make plays, I thought they did a good job of refocusing,” Winthrop coach Todd MacArthur said. “That’s a great high school basketball game. That’s two teams going at it, so much respect to Boothbay because they’re a great program, well, well coached, and I personally love playing them because we usually have games like that.”

Down 45-44 after three rocky quarters, the Ramblers grabbed three separate leads in the fourth, but saw Boothbay overcome each one and work its way to a 59-56 lead with 2:21 left.

Wood got a steal and a dunk with 1:43 left, however, and McLaughlin got a steal on the next possession and was fouled going in for the layup. He knocked down both free throws, putting Winthrop ahead 60-59 with 1:10 left, and he hit another pair with 39 seconds left to put the lead at 62-59.

The game hinged on each shot, but McLaughlin said afterward the weight of the moment never got to to him.

“It’s just another foul shot,” he said. “We just practice on foul shots, foul shots, foul shots. We were struggling at the beginning of the season, but we’ve really started to pick it up with foul shots and making them.”

A Ryan Baird putback made it a five-point game, and though Boothbay’s Michael Hollowell had a putback to cut the deficit to three, Sam Figueroa made a free throw to make it 65-61 with 12.8 seconds left and all but seal the game.

“It’s a huge win,” said McLaughlin, who had 12 points. “I’m really excited about it. It’s going to help in playoffs a lot (with) getting a good seed.”

For Winthrop, it was a happy ending to what was looking like a night of frustration. The Ramblers were baited into one turnover after another by the Seahawks’ zone defense and spent most of the first three quarters trying to catch Boothbay from behind.

“I thought Boothbay did a really nice job of just getting us out of our comfort zone,” MacArthur said. “They do a good job with that zone, they extend it, they cover gaps. It’s different for us in terms of what we normally run.”

To combat it, the Ramblers leaned on the big man. The 6-foot-8 Wood had 15 points by halftime, and after Boothbay’s lead swelled to 42-35 with 3:47 left in the third, he had first a layup and then a dunk, the latter of which made it 42-41 with 1:04 left in the period.

Wood also grabbed a rebound on Boothbay’s next trip down, setting up a Winthrop possession that ended with a Cam Hachey 3-pointer that put the Ramblers in front 44-42 with 40 seconds left.

“In big games like this, you’ve got to step up,” Wood said. “If that’s what makes the team better, that’s what I’ve got to do.”

Winthrop’s Jared McLaughlin gets around Boothbay’s defense for a layup during a basketball game Wednesday in Winthrop. (Kennebec Journal photo by Andy Molloy)

Winthrop’s Cam Wood is nicked by Boothbay’s Kaleb Ames during a basketball game Wednesday in Winthrop. (Kennebec Journal photo by Andy Molloy)

Winthrop coach Todd MacArthur reacts to a play during the Ramblers’ matchup against Boothbay on Wednesday in Winthrop. (Kennebec Journal photo by Andy Molloy)

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