AUGUSTA — Maranacook senior Taylor Wilbur began his Monday by draining one 3-pointer after another in the solitude of his high school gym.
He ended it by doing the same in front of more than a thousand spectators at the Augusta Civic Center.
Wilbur scored a game-high 34 points, including eight 3-pointers, as No. 5 Maranacook outlasted No. 4 Winthrop 68-52 in an entertaining Western C quarterfinal game.
“There is nothing like this backdrop,” Wilbur said. “I did go up to the school (Monday) morning to try and get my legs under me. We fed off the energy.”
It marked the first game at the Civic Center for Wilbur since he was a freshman, and he turned in a memorable performance.
The 6-foot guard was two 3-pointers shy of matching a Western C single game tournament record.
Former Hall-Dale guard Robbie Morin set the mark of 10 in 1990.
“I had no idea,” Wilbur said when asked if he was aware of the record. “I was just hoping they were going in. I wasn’t keeping track.”
Maranacook (15-5) set a tournament single game record with 12 3-pointers. The Black Bears advanced to the regional semifinals Thursday against either top-seeded Dirigo or No. 8 Wiscasset.
“(Wilbur) did what he does all the time,” Maranacook coach Rob Schmidt said. “He knocks them down. He’s tough when he’s on. The thing with Taylor, he can go by you, too. You have to respect his speed.
“He was in the gym this morning by himself. He started knocking down 13 3-pointers in a row by himself. We had a good feeling after that.”
Cam Brochu scored 14 points and Caleb Jackson added eight for Maranacook.
Ben Allen led Winthrop (14-5) with 16 points while Dakota Carter and Anthony Owens each had 13.
Maranacook led just 47-44 going into the fourth quarter but it slowly pulled away when Wilbur hit consecutive 3-pointers to stretch the lead to 53-44.
Wilbur later scored a layup and buried three free throws to all but seal the game.
“They hit their threes,” Owens said. “That was the difference. That was what the game came down to.”
The teams played an up-tempo first half with each team looking to play to their strengths.
For Maranacook, that meant Wilbur and the outside shooters.
And Wilbur was on early. He scored eight points in the first quarter alone, including two 3-pointers from well behind the arc.
His first ignited a 9-0 run that gave Maranacook an 11-4 lead.
His second 3-pointer quelled a 6-0 Winthrop run with about two minutes left in the quarter.
Maranacook led 18-14 after the first quarter but Owens and the Ramblers fought their way back in the second.
Owens scored nine of his 11 first-half points in the second quarter as he quickly established himself in the post.
He also made all five of his free throw attempts in the quarter, including a pair with about two and a half minutes left that gave the Rambers a 26-24 lead.
However, Wilbur silenced the energized Winthrop fans when he drained a 3-pointer at the top of the key to give Maranacook the lead again, 27-26.