WATERVILLE — The Waterville Senior High School boys basketball team rebounded from a tough overtime loss on opening night by, well, rebounding.
The Purple Panthers grabbed 21 more rebounds than Nokomis on Tuesday night, and that helped Waterville overcome and early deficit to take a 60-41 win in Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B play.
Both teams are now 1-1.
Nokomis led 15-8 after one quarter, and the Warriors were ahead 21-15 midway through the second when the Panthers took control of the glass. Nokomis had six offensive rebounds in the first quarter, but had just six offensive boards the rest of the game.
“We did a really poor job on defensive rebounding and they are a very good rebounding team. By boxing out, we started to extend our lead,” said Waterville junior Chris Hale, who had 12 rebounds and a scored a game-high 28 points.
Waterville outrebounded the Warriors, 51-30. The lack of rebounds was a symptom of an overall poor game, Nokomis coach Carl Parker said.
“Not reversing the basketball made it easy for the (Waterville) defense. We didn’t take advantage on the back side seams. We didn’t cut hard. We didn’t rebound. We didn’t defend,” Parker said. “I’d say she was a debacle. Give Waterville credit, they did a great job.”
The Panthers tied the game at 21-21 on a pair of Hale free throws with 1 minute, 43 seconds left in the second quarter, then took the lead for good on a Justin Jabar basket with 1:19 left in the first half.
Waterville took control of the game in the third quarter, outscoring Nokomis 19-2. Along with hitting the boards, the Panthers moved the ball well on offense to find open shots.
“We get in this dribble dribble mode. It didn’t work for us last Friday against Camden and it didn’t work for us tonight. Once they figure out it’s hard to make teams defend you by moving the basketball, we’re fine,” Waterville coach Jason Briggs said.
Waterville led by 20, 45-25, at the start of the fourth quarter. Nokomis rallied to cut the Panthers’ lead to 49-38 midway through the quarter on a Spencer Hartsgrove (13 points) 3-pointer.
The Panthers were strong at the foul line, making 19 of 22 free throws. Hale sank 14 of his 16 foul shots.
“We want to get a lot of free throw attempts. We have a lot of good free throw shooters,” Hale said.
Despite picking up two fouls in the first two and a half minutes and sitting the rest of the first half, Waterville’s 6-foot-7 J.P. Michaud grabbed 10 rebounds. Josh Gormley had nine boards for the Panthers.
Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242