FARMINGTON — As if dealing with a brutal early-season schedule wasn’t enough, the Mt. Blue boys basketball team had to face rival Lawrence on Friday without injured point guard Eric Berry.

It was less of an issue than anticipated. Paced by seniors Nick Hilton and Cam Sennick, the Cougars led wire-to-wire in posting a 62-50 win over the Bulldogs.

Both teams are 4-2 in the competitive Class A division of the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference.

Berry sprained his ankle Wednesday in a scrimmage against a team from Croatia and is expected to miss two weeks. Senior Steve Yardley filled in at point and played well against Lawrence’s full-court pressure, but the offensive load shifted to the inside game where the 6-foot-4 Hilton and 6-5 Sennick dominated the rebounding and scoring.

Hilton finished with a game-high 25 points, grabbed eight rebounds and recorded three assists while Sennick scored 13 points and hauled in 12 boards.

“We (lost to) Hampden and Bangor and hadn’t really beat anyone yet,” Hilton said. “So this was pretty big for us. They always play physical D so we’ve just got to move the ball, run our offense and things will work themselves out.”

The Cougars jumped out to a 13-1 lead as the Bulldogs missed their first six shots and turned the ball over three times. It was 15-6 at the break, but Lawrence’s defense kept banging away. They forced six turnovers in the second quarter and a few of their shots began to fall.

Tim Dudley banked in a 3-pointer from the top of the circle followed by two hoops from Spencer Carey and suddenly it was 23-19. Mt. Blue led 25-21 at halftime but the momentum had shifted to the Bulldogs. It was short-lived as the Cougars opened the second half with a 14-6 run.

“We changed defenses and went back to man-to-man,” Mt. Blue coach Jim Bessey said. “I thought we were getting a little ragged and weren’t responsible for boxing out.”

The Bulldogs cut the lead to 41-36 as Carey scored six of his team-high 13 points, but that was as close as they would get as Hilton sandwiched a layup and two free throws around Aaron Gagnon’s steal and layup to make it 47-36.

“We got out-hustled, out-worked, out-coached, out-everything,” Lawrence coach Mike McGee said. “That was a hell of an effort by a Mt. Blue team without their best player.” Although the Bulldogs forced 22 turnovers, they committed 19 of their own.

“Turnovers have killed us,” McGee said. “We had a chance to cut it to three and we had three straight turnovers. That was pretty much the ball game.”

The Cougars got eight points from Blake Hart and seven from Chris Malone while Keith Chesley scored 10 points off the bench for Lawrence.

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

[email protected]

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