Spruce Mountain’s Brandon Frey (2) looks to pass the ball as teammate Owen Bryant (3) and Boothay’s Kaeden Davis (32) look on in a basketball game in Jay on Monday night. Tony Blasi/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

JAY — For the third time this season, senior forward Hunter Crocker stepped to the free throw line in a critical situation for the Boothbay boys basketball team this season.

The Seahawks were leading 45-44 with less than 30 seconds left in the game when Crocker was fouled. He calmly went to the line and dropped in a pair of free throws to put the game just out of reach of Spruce Mountain and give Boothbay a hard-fought 47-44 victory in front of a raucous crowd at The Nest on Monday night.

“Third time this season I had to do that,” Crocker, who scored the team-high 22 points, said. “‘Why do they always do this to me? That’s three times in a row.”

The loss is Spruce’s first of the season. Both teams are now 6-1.

“Spruce is going to be the hardest team we play all season,” Crocker said. “They are good. Good shooters.”

Boothbay forward Kaeden Davis’ heroics also can’t be overlooked. He was fouled just before Crocker and sank both shots to put the Seahawks ahead with 38 seconds left.

“I pretty nervous (at the free throw line),” Davis said. “They had the stands pretty loud.”

Boothbay’s Hunter Crocker (40) drives to the basket as Spruce Mountain’s Jack Bryant (22) looks on during basketball game in Jay on Monday night. Tony Blasi/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Longtime Boothbay coach I.J. Pinkham was proud of the way the Seahawks handled themselves at the foul line and when they fell behind.

“We have been shooting foul shots well all year,” Pinkham said. “We could have folded (after falling behind). We got back into it. I was pleased with that.

“Defensively, (Spruce) shoots the ball so well, but I thought we did a decent job, defensively. (Spruce) is the best team in the conference.”

But Pinkham wants to see his Seahawks take full advantage of their big men, who were certainly impressive on the boards.  

The Phoenix handled Boothbay’s big men with agility in speed, which helped Spruce lead in second and third quarters.

Senior guard Brandon Frey cut loose with 30 points and nailed four 3-pointers. He was also a force on defense.

Spruce Mountain, however, unraveled down the stretch after after building a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter, as key foul shots didn’t find their mark. The Phoenix went for 5-for-8 at the charity stripe.

“Yeah, but two of the three misses were huge,” Spruce Mountain coach Scott Bessey said. “But it shouldn’t have came down to that. We had, what, a double-digit lead halfway through the fourth quarter, went on a huge run, the crowd was into it, and then for three or four straight possessions, we lost our composure and our decision making, and that was the difference.

“The fact that it had to come down to free throws, it shouldn’t have. We had the momentum. We went on a huge run. The crowd was into it. We were up by double digits and then we just lost our minds. We took some quick 3s, a couple of bad turnovers, and the next thing you know they had the momentum.”

But the Phoenix worked around two players who stand at 6-foot-5 and 6-foot-6.

“I mean we got Brandon Frey,” Bessey said. “We got the best player in the conference.”

In the first quarter, the Seahawks went on an 8-0 tear before the Phoenix woke up and closed with seven points. Bessey was proud of the way the Phoenix responded and defended in that chaotic first quarter.

“I just think there were some really costly turnovers and some bad decisions and bad shot selections,” Bessey said.

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