FAIRFIELD — At Folsom Gym on Tuesday night, the Lawrence High School boys basketball team held undefeated Hampden Academy to its lowest score of the season.
It wasn’t nearly enough for the Bulldogs.
Hampden took the lead for good midway through the first quarter, and the Broncos played strong defense of their own, earning a 51-35 Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A win.
“We had to stay composed. The crowd was pretty loud tonight. We had to be sure we took care of the ball and didn’t let the pressure get to us,” said Hampden freshman Nick Gilpin, who led the Broncos with 16 points.
Hampden is now 15-0, while Lawrence is 11-4.
“Hampden is the best team in Eastern Maine, maybe in the state,” Lawrence coach Mike McGee said. “I thought we had a great effort on our kids’ part. I thought they were fabulous tonight.”
It was another strong defensive effort for Hampden, which has allowed 40 or more points just five times in 15 games. With Xavier Lewis, Lawrence’s leading scorer, out for the second consecutive game with an illness, the Broncos were able to focus their defensive attention on senior forward Spencer Carey.
“We had to do that. We tried to make sure (Carey) took tough shots. He’s a warrior for them. He’s been there for four years, and he kept them in the game tonight. He hit some big shots, but without X there to compliment him, it allowed us to load up on him defensively,” Hampden coach Russ Bartlett said.
Carey was consistently surrounded by at least two Hampden defenders, who challenged every shot he took. Carey finished with a team-high 10 points before fouling out with just over three minutes to play.
“If (Carey) got by his defender, we always had somebody to step up and help. All of his shots were forced and contested,” Gilpin said.
When the Broncos took control of the game offensively late in the first quarter, they did so from the perimeter. Five of Hampden’s seven 3-pointers came in the first half, and the Broncos led 22-10 at the break.
“We try to get the ball in the paint, but we’ve been very unselfish. The 3s we take are usually uncontested,” Bartlett said.
Added McGee: “They dribble drive and hit 3s. They shoot very well, and they’re tough to defend. We just couldn’t generate offense. We’ll be all right.”
Lawrence got within 10 points, 34-24, on an Aaron Lafrance basket with 6:41 left in the game, but the Broncos went on an 11-2 run to seal the win. Zachary Gilpin scored 14 points for Hampden, while Matthew Palmer added 11.
Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242