LEWISTON — Stretches such as the one Lewiston used to bring its home crowd and bench to life in the third quarter Saturday night’s boys basketball season opener happened frequently before alumnus Ronnie Turner became the head coach this season. But moments like that were usually accompanied with the expectation that another shoe was about to drop.

Instead, the confident Blue Devils just continued about their business of  sharing the ball on offense and playing cement-mixer defense to confuse, confound and cajole a young, short-handed Cheverus team into mistakes in the second half of a 64-54 win in Turner’s coaching debut.

“It’s like everything’s different,” senior guard Evan Williams said. “The atmosphere, the fans actually being here and wanting to see us play. We all love each other. It’s all a whole, staying together.”

“I don’t focus on the winning. We focus on the process of winning,” said Turner, a 2010 Lewiston graduate “And that’s showing up every day, that’s caring about each other, that’s sprinting as hard as we can. That’s being there for one another. We focused on that tonight, and I think that’s what gave us a chance to win the game.”

Malik Foster scored 19 points and Williams 18 points to lead the Blue Devils, who also got key contributions off the bench from sophomore guard David Omasombo (nine points, five assists) and senior forward Steven Beauregard (seven points).

Nolan Sanborn led all scorers with 22 points while Dylan Morrison added 17 points for the Stags (0-1), who were playing without Class AA North all-star senior Nick Galli (broken foot).


“We played like an inexperienced basketball team, which we kind of are,” said Cheverus coach Ryan Soucie, who said the Stags hope to have Galli back by mid-January. “We’ve got (Sanborn), who started at point guard, and then after him (for varsity experience), it’s just Dylan, who played seventh- or eighth-man type of minutes last year.”

Using its superior quickness, Lewiston harassed the Stags from all angles on the perimeter and en route to the basket, where the Stags would usually find 6-foot-6 junior center Ciwer Mayan (four points, 20 rebounds, four blocks) waiting to block or alter their shot.

Despite a slow start shooting the ball (10-for-34, 29 percent), the Devils led 12-11 after one quarter and were tied, 27-27, at the half. A little over two minutes into the third quarter, Foster, Williams and Bearegard combined to nail three consecutive 3-pointers to turn a 32-31 deficit into a 41-33 lead with 4:46 left in the period.

“You could feel the fans all hyped up, the bench was cheering and jumping around and it just makes you feel good,” Foster said.

Foster and Beauregard each drew their fourth personal foul in the quarter, which helped Cheverus rally and ultimately regain the lead when Morrison started the fourth with a steal and layup and a 3-pointer that made it 47-45 with 4:19 remaining.

Lewiston missed its first six shots of the quarter, but Mayan put back the sixth to simultaneously end the drought and tie the game. Omasombo followed with a 3-pointer and Foster with a three-point play to make it 53-47 Devils with 3:08 left.


“I just told them to make Cheverus work. Cheverus was speeding us up a little bit in the first half,” Turner said. “They were going under ball screens or giving up an early shot hoping that we’d take it and they were doing a good job of that because we were. I think once we settled down and realized, you know, don’t live so much in the moment, just play and understand what’s going on.”

“We shared the basketball,” he added. “When we don’t over-dribble, when we move it to both sides and five guys are touching the ball, it’s hard to guard that, for any team. I think we did a good job of that in the second half.”

Sanborn briefly made it 53-50 with a three-point play of his own, but Lewiston made its free throws and limited the Stags to one field goal over the final 2:24 to pull away.

“We’d talked about how there was a renewed sense of energy and enthusiasm with (Lewiston) with Coach Turner being the hire and it clearly showed tonight,” Sousie said. “They’re athletic, they made shots and we didn’t, necessarily, especially from deep. And we’re not big, so our success is going to be predicated on being able to make the three-ball and getting to the free-throw line and knocking it down, and we didn’t shoot either one well tonight.”

Lewiston made 13 of 20 free throw attempts, eight of 12 in the fourth.

“It feels good,” Turner said when asked about getting his first career win. “I’m just so happy for these kids. They deserved this. They worked for it. They earned this.”

“I think as a team, we’re more together than last year and care about each other more,” Foster said. “It’s all about the team.”

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