MONMOUTH — Unbeaten Mt. Abram has been so dominant this season that there haven’t been many times that it hasn’t been in the lead.

So while trailing most of Tuesday’s matchup with Monmouth was an unfamiliar experience, the Roadrunners were unfazed.

The Mustangs’ lead reached double digits in the third quarter, but Mt. Abram chipped away at the deficit and then won the fourth quarter to earn a 71-66 Class C South boys basketball victory.

“I believe in these guys,” Roadrunners coach John Chase said. “This is a special group right here, so I believed in them. Even down 10, I still believed in them.”

Led by the hot shooting of freshman guard Levi Laverdiere, Monmouth (9-3) led 35-33 at halftime.

Laverdiere netted 17 first-quarter points and had 22 in the first half, making four 3-pointers and 6 of 7 free throws.


“We knew going in here, it was going to be tough. We definitely knew that it was going to be tough,” Chase said. “We scouted everything, we thought, really well. We knew No. 2, the freshman, was going to be a good shooter, and he definitely was a good shooter. Credit to him — he’s good.”

The Mustangs bolted out of the halftime break, scoring 10 of the first 12 points, including a bank 3 by Laverdiere that gave them a 45-35 lead less than three minutes into the third quarter.

A basket by Mt. Abram’s leading scorer, Payton Mitchell, cut Monmouth’s advantage to 45-38, and began the Roadrunners’ strong finish to the period.

“We knew they were just getting some lucky breaks and we were getting unlucky for a bit there. And we knew if we just kept playing hard, it’d turn around and it did,” Mitchell said.

By the end of the third, the Roadrunners (12-0) were within five points, 53-48.

“I think our mentality changed,” Mt. Abram senior Cam Grey said. “… It was like, ‘We got to put something down here. This is one of the biggest games of our season.’”


Chase said, “We saw we were getting down, and … instead of being, ‘Poor, poor me,’ we said, ‘All right, this is a good team. We knew this was going to be a good team … so let’s go and get them.’”

Mitchell opened the fourth quarter with a three-point play. He and Monmouth’s star player, Sammy Calder, battled back and forth, nearly matching each other basket-for-basket, for the first three-plus minutes of the period.

A three-point play by Calder put the Mustangs ahead 63-57 with 5:23 remaining. About 30 second later, Mitchell’s second three-point play of the quarter made it 63-60.

On the other end of the court, Calder was called for a charge and fouled out of the game with 4:38 remaining.

Calder was one of three Mustangs starters to foul out, along with Kyle Palleschi and Lucas Harmon.

“When your best player can’t guard their best player because he’s on the bench with five fouls for the last 4 minutes and 38 seconds,” Monmouth coach Wade Morrill said, “and your second-best defensive player is also on the bench with five fouls, and your best rebounder and best post player is on the bench with five fouls — you know what I mean? — you start running out of bodies that can match up with their bodies.”


Before he fouled out, Calder scored nine points in the fourth, while Mitchell countered with 10 at that point.

On Mt. Abram’s next play, Grey drained a 3-pointer to tie the game, 63-63.

“The pressure was on, so, you know, I had to hit it,” Grey said with a laugh.

Moments later, Grey hit two free throws to give the Roadrunners a 65-63 lead.

Monmouth tied the game again when sophomore Aiden Oliveira drove the lane for basket.

“We had some guys forced into some big roles,” Morrill said. “We finished the game with a sophomore, two freshmen, a senior role guy, and a junior on the court …


“You know, we had a lot of growth and development there late, I guess, tonight, you could say.”

The Mustangs nearly took the lead when Laverdiere had a wide-open path to the basket on a breakaway, but Mt. Abram’s Killian Pillsbury caught up and knocked the ball off Laverdiere’s leg and out of bounds.

Bryce Wilcox was then fouled and made one of two free throws to give the Roadrunners the lead for good.

Mitchell added one free throw and Wilcox made two more to seal the win.

Mitchell finished with 11 of his team-high 26 points for the Roadrunners in the final quarter. He made 11 of 15 free throws and also pulled down 10 rebounds.

“He’s a dog. Straight-up dog,” Grey said.


Grey finished with 17 points, including seven in the fourth, three steals and two blocks. Wilcox had nine points and nine rebounds, and Logan Dube scored nine, as well. Pillsbury contributed eight points, seven rebounds and four steals.

Laverdiere made six treys and scored a game-high 33 points for Monmouth.

“He’s a really good complement to Sam,” Morrill said. “You can’t really pinch the gap too hard because Levi can make you pay. So he had a really good shooting night tonight, and we knew we were going to need that from him in order to be able to hang with and have an opportunity to beat Mt. Abram.”

Calder finished with 19, including 7-of-9 shooting at the free-throw line. Oliveira scored six points, and Bingham Abbott came off the bench to grab 14 rebounds for the Mustangs.

Both teams are back in action Thursday. The Roadrunners, ranked second in the Class C South Heal point standings, host Winthrop (8-5), while Monmouth travels to Jay to face Spruce Mountain (10-3).

Despite the loss, the Mustangs played well Tuesday, as they have all season. But Morrill said it’s important that they don’t allow any satisfaction or frustration to linger.

“I think great seasons turn quickly,” he said. “You got to take it one game at a time. You know, we got Spruce Mountain at Spruce Mountain. So we’re going to go from a 12-0 team tonight to Spruce, who’s … always a Class B playoff team, always one of the best teams in our league. We’re going to go up to their gym, and you know, we got to have a short memory, we got to put this in the bank, and learn as much as we can in the next 24 hours, and get ready for Spruce Mountain on Thursday night.”

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