JAY — The first quarter served as an accurate indicator that Spruce Mountain was well on its way to a quick and decisive victory.

The Phoenix cruised to a nearly two-dozen point lead at the end of the opening quarter and eventually rolled to a 70-31 win over Winthrop in an MVC boys basketball game at The Nest on Thursday night.

The advantage was 25-3 after only eight minutes.

Spruce Mountain coach Scott Bessey said the victory over Boothbay two days before his Phoenix took on Winthrop on Thursday night was a pick-me-up for his Phoenix after losing to Dirigo last week.

“I thought Boothbay was a good team,” Bessey said. “That was probably our best game of the season against Boothbay. … Dirigo was before that. So to get back against a good team like Boothbay, I thought that was the ‘get right’ game and now we are starting to trend kind of in the right direction, I think.

“Everybody is starting to play well a little bit better. We just played really, really well. We executed a pretty good game plan against a very well coached team — a very proud program in Winthrop. It was a good night for us.”


Spruce Mountain (6-1) also dominated the second quarter and hammered away at the Ramblers (3-6) from the perimeter and inside the key, emerging with a 44-13 lead at halftime. Junior guard Ian York hassled Winthrop from the perimeter and made several productive moves inside to the tune of a game-high 20 points before he left the game with just seconds left in the first half with a head injury.

However, York was back on the court doing halftime drills with the rest of the Phoenix.

“It hurts, but I will be all right,” he said. “I’m good. I will have a shiner on my head, but it is battle scars.”

York scored all of his 20 points, including dropping in three 3-pointers, in the first half. Sophomore guard Jace Bessey added 19 points and Elie Timler collected 17 points and went 5 for 7 at the free-throw line.

“I am becoming pretty confident in these next games,” York said. “(Winthrop) has gone through it. They are probably on the down low in their program, but that’s all right. We know they will be good in the next couple of years.”

York pointed out that the Phoenix are now off and running after a slow start to the season.


“We played pretty bad at the start of the season, but I think we are getting really into it.” he said. “That Dirigo loss was needed — definitely — (as a wake-up call).”

The Ramblers, who are now riding a five-game losing streak, struggled on offense the entire game. Cole Bard scored six of his team-high eight points in the first half and Braden Branagan tallied all seven of his points in the second half.

The third quarter was more of the same, with the Phoenix firmly in control as they drifted to a 63-17 advantage heading into the fourth quarter.

The Phoenix slowed their game down to a walk late in the fourth to eat up time, with their endless passing and their choice shots.

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