TURNER — Mt. Blue coach Troy Norton made as big of a circle as his arms allow and asked Chandler Briggs if the rim sometimes seems that big.

“Yes it does, sometimes,” Briggs said.

The second half of Tuesday’s matchup with Leavitt was one of those times. Briggs and Zach Poisson took over from beyond the arc and propelled the Cougars to a 69-43 boys basketball win over the Hornets.

Briggs hit three 3-pointers and Poisson made two in the third quarter, helping turn a three-point halftime lead into an 18-point cushion.

Briggs also made a pair of 3s during a pivotal stretch in the second quarter, including one that gave the Cougars (10-4) the lead for good. He finished with six treys and 24 points.

“At first, I was just overthinking it, I think, and I just let the game come to me,” Briggs, a senior guard, said. “And then it just all happened.”


Poisson added 14 points and Evans Sterling contributed 13.

Briggs has made 11 3-pointers in the past two games. He hit five and scored 19 points against Cony in a 68-62 victory Friday.

“This kid has ice water in his veins,” Norton said. “He is the consummate shooter. He could go 0 for 8, and he’s not thinking about it. He’s just thinking about the next shot, and that’s what you want your best shooters to be. And he’s hit some huge shots for us all season.”

Brett Coburn was Leavitt’s (5-10) top scorer with 12 points. Sawyer Hathaway and Declan Giroux each made two 3s and scored eight points.

Mt. Blue remains in second place in Class A North, a little more than one Heal point ahead of Nokomis.

Tuesday’s win showcased what makes the Cougars so difficult to beat: they have multiple players who can take over on offense and who can score in multiple ways.


Although Sterling is Mt. Blue’s leading scorer (18 points per game) and Poisson is second (12.4 ppg), Leavitt coach Mike Hathaway said that the Hornets’ initial defensive focus was to make sure Briggs didn’t get going.

It worked well. Briggs didn’t score in the first quarter, nor did Poisson. But Sterling was scoring and that forced Leavitt’s defense to shift some of its focus over to him.

Sterling scored nine in the first half, and Briggs made a pair of 3s in the second quarter.

“In the first quarter, we were pretty focused on Briggs because we didn’t want to let him get going,” Mike Hathaway said. “And then as Sterling started to hurt us a little more, we had to pay a little bit more attention to him, and then Briggs started to heat up.

“Then we came out the second half and went triangle-and-two on those two, and Poisson hit two straight 3s. So, it’s like, eh, we couldn’t win.”

Two Poisson 3-pointers early in the second half pushed Mt. Blue’s 25-22 halftime lead to 31-24.


Zak Koban added a basket and later a foul shot to put the Cougars up 10 points, 34-24, with five minutes remaining in the fourth.

Sawyer Hathaway hit a 3 and later found a cutting Nick Morin (four points) for a layup to get Leavitt back within five points with 3:15 to play.

Briggs scored the next 11 points, including three 3s, and the Cougars began to pull away by finishing the quarter on a 13-0 run, extending their lead to 47-29 heading into the fourth.

“I think we got a little tired. But they’re good. It’s hard to keep a team like that from big runs,” Mike Hathaway said, later adding, “They’re a tough team to defend. As tough as any team we’ve played, to be honest.”

The Hornets, who are fighting for a playoff spot in Class B South, played the Cougars close and even held the lead for much of the first half.

Sterling scored the first four points of the game on a layup and then a dunk after a steal. Mt. Blue’s lead was up to 6-2 before Leavitt got a spark from Giroux, who came off the bench and sank a corner 3 from one side of the court and a midrange jumper from the other side to give the Hornets a 7-6 lead.


Hathaway made it 10-7 when he squared up about 4 feet in front of the half-court line and drained a 3. A putback by Coburn in the final seconds of the first quarter gave Leavitt a 12-7 lead.

“He’s good inside. He gets to the rim pretty well, rebounds pretty well,” Mike Hathaway said of Coburn.

Mt. Blue used a couple of 7-2 runs in the second quarter to regain the lead and ultimately take control of the game.

The first run tied the game at 18-18, and the second put the Cougars ahead 25-20.

Briggs hit a 3 in each run, including one that made it 21-18, giving Mt. Blue the lead for good.

Sawyer Bubier (six points) scored for Leavitt late in the half to cut Mt. Blue’s lead to 25-22 at the break.

The Cougars play again Wednesday, traveling to face Skowhegan (8-6), which they beat 67-45 earlier this season.

The Hornets’ next game is at MCI (3-12) on Thursday.

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