READFIELD — The Maranacook boys basketball team kicked off the second half of the season Friday night with one of its most important victories.

Coming off a three-game losing streak, the Black Bears rode Kyle Boucher’s big night to a 61-45 win against Camden Hills.

The victory put Maranacook back into the Eastern B tournament picture at 4-6 with a point-worthy win over the 7-3 Windjammers.

The 6-foot-8 Boucher scored 26 points, grabbed 16 rebounds and blocked six shots, punctuating his performance with a dunk over a defender early in the fourth quarter.

“We needed this win,” he said. “We were 3-6 beforehand, but the record doesn’t show our talent and our skill. I came out and the guys came out and we said we are going to win this game.”

The Bears pulled away in the second quarter, scoring 23 points, led by Boucher with 14 and Taylor Wilbur with seven. Boucher opened the game with a 3-pointer but the rest of his baskets came in the paint.

“I told myself I wasn’t going to be denied,” Boucher said. “I have four inches on all these guys so I shouldn’t be shooting 3s or taking jump shots all the time.”

Maranacook led 35-23 at the half and the Windjammers drew no closer than 11 points the rest of the way.

“I thought our defense was horrendous tonight,” Camden Hills coach Jeff Hart said. “We didn’t shoot the ball well, but championship teams play defense and get stops and we didn’t stop anybody tonight.”

The Windjammers did force some turnovers off their press, but unlike previous games, the Black Bears maintained their composure.

“It’s the smartest game we’ve played and that made all the difference,” Maranacook coach Rob Schmidt said. “We’ve been waiting to put together our athleticism and our intelligence.”

The Bears got a nice floor game from point guard Jesse Evans, who had six assists, and a lift off the bench from junior Caleb Jackson, who scored eight points, including a pair of 3s. But this game belonged to Boucher, who blocked and altered shots and generally dominated the paint.

“They’re physical and they’re aggressive,” Schmidt said. “But Kyle came in with the mindset that he was going to dominate the boards and he did.”

Junior Colin Morse led Camden Hills with 20 points.

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

ghawkins@centralmaine.com