WINSLOW — High School juniors who are 6-foot-6, like Winslow’s Justin Martin, usually aren’t outstanding free-throw shooters. Martin himself wasn’t last year.
But Thursday night, with every point crucial, Martin was as outstanding as you can get. Martin was 11 for 11 from the line as part of a 17-point, 13-rebound night as Winslow outlasted Maranacook, 56-55, in a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B boys basketball thriller.
“He shoots about 75 percent for the year,” Winslow coach Jared Browne said. “He was about 57 percent last year, so he’s come a long way. He worked really hard in the offseason to get where he is right now.”
Maranacook (7-3) trailed 53-46 with 3:16 to play, but fought back to within a point and had the ball with 9.1 seconds left. Caleb Jackson, who knocked down three 3-pointers in the first half, tried to drain another one from the top of the key, but the shot was just off and Martin grabbed the rebound in traffic as time ran out.
“The play was going to (Taylor) Wilbur,” Maranacook coach Rob Schmidt said. “Winslow plugged up the middle, which is where we wanted to get it, because they’ve been smothering him on the outside.”
The Black Bears did well to be within a point at the end, as they shot 28 percent from the field (16 for 57) and committed 26 turnovers.
“Maranacook’s a really good team,” Browne said. “There’s a reason they’re No. 1 in Western Maine. They scrap. They stuck with us. They hit some clutch shots when they needed to.”
Maranacook led 27-21 after a wild first half in which Browne was hit with a technical foul. The Black Raiders were a different team after the break, scoring 23 points in the first six minutes of the third quarter to take a 46-37 lead after three. Junior guard Nason Lanphier scored nine of his 11 points in the third for Winslow (7-2).
“We picked up the defensive intensity,” Browne said. “We started to play basketball instead of worrying about all the other stuff that was going on. When we executed our offense, we were fine. That first half, we were a little bit out of control.”
Cam Brochu (14 points, 15 rebounds) had a solid game from Maranacook, and led the Black Bears back along with Wilbur (13 points), Richard Hall, and Brad Worster. But Martin scored seven of his 17 points in the fourth quarter, and was 5-for-5 from the line.
“We played decent defense,” Schmidt said. “We held them relatively low — I say relatively because that’s Winslow and they can put a lot of points on the board. So defensively, I’m fairly pleased. But we killed ourselves with turnovers, and they were outstanding from the foul line down the stretch. Martin was 11 for 11. Our turnovers, and their foul shooting and their composure — I think that was the difference down the stretch.”