AUGUSTA — The last time the Mt. Abram boys basketball team was in the Class C South tournament, the Roadrunners had to sit and watch as the final seconds ticked off in their quarterfinal loss to Boothbay.

As luck would have it, a two-year wait gave the Roadrunners a chance for payback. And they were ready.

Adam Luce scored 26 points, Kaden Pillsbury added 21 while leading a relentless full-court press, and No. 7 Mt. Abram beat No. 15 Boothbay 87-58 in the C South quarterfinals at the Augusta Civic Center on Monday. The Roadrunners will play No. 3 Dirigo at 7 p.m., Thursday.

The Seahawks (6-14) were led by Kayden Ames and Gryffin Kristan, both of whom scored 14 points. It was the first tournament game back in the Civic Center for Mt. Abram (13-7) since that 59-54 loss to the Seahawks, and the familiarity of the opponent was on the Roadrunners’ mind.

“Definitely,” Luce said. “Going into this, they were telling us the past few times the Mt. Abram boys team has made it that Boothbay’s been the one that’s taken us out. It definitely felt good to beat them.”

The rematch took some good fortune — Boothbay upset No. 2 Old Orchard Beach to draw the Roadrunners.


“It feels good to actually get this landmark,” Mt. Abram coach Dustin Zamboni said. “What are the odds that we come back again two years later and they upset OOB to get in at this same spot? Boothbay again, the only difference was we were wearing white this time.”

Mt. Abram was ready, and it showed as the Roadrunners came out clicking from the tip. Luce hit a 3-pointer, Trevor Phelps (six points) hit a jumper and Wyatt Sieminski (16 points) drove for a layup on Mt. Abram’s first three attempts, and the Roadrunners used their effective fast break and transition game to make eight of their first 11 shots from the field while building a 20-8 lead.

“Going in, we knew that we had to run the floor and get the ball up and press them from the start,” Luce said.

That intensity ramped up midway through the quarter, and turned into a manic, stifling pressure that forced the Seahawks to work on every dribble. Pillsbury had five steals in the first quarter alone, and the Roadrunners chaotic defense harassed the Seahawks and allowed Mt. Abram to stretch its lead to 30-13 midway through the second.

Mt. Abram’s Payton Mitchell guards Boothbay’s Gryffin Kristan during a Class C South boys basketball quarterfinal game Monday at the Augusta Civic Center. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

“We always work hard on defense. It’s fun getting up and pressing and getting these turnovers,” said Pillsbury, who finished with nine steals. “It’s nice having people behind me, because I know I can pressure the top and they help me get a lot of steals.”

The Seahawks, who hit six threes in the first half, gave themselves some life going into the break by hitting three 3-pointers during a 13-6 run into the intermission. The brief momentum was short-lived, however, as Mt. Abram carried over its suffocating full-court pressure into the second half. Luce and Sieminski scored 10 points apiece as the Roadrunners scored 29 points in the quarter for a 65-40 lead.

“We knew they would make a run at some point,” Pillsbury said. “We just came out, played good defense and tried limiting the shots they could get.”

The pressure from the Roadrunners’ defense fed directly into their transition offense, which allowed them to distribute their scoring load. Six players scored for Mt. Abram in the first quarter, and Payton Mitchell finished with eight points to add to the output.

“What’s good coming into this tournament is I feel that we have a few different options for scorers,” Zamboni said. “It’s a little more hard when you have one or two weapons that they can plan to take away, whereas we’re a little bit more of a balanced attack. And some of that comes from our defense.”

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