After last week’s home loss to Cony, Lawrence coach Mike McGee tweaked his team’s defense.

“We sag a little bit more than we were, rather than rely on ball pressure,” McGee said. “Cony just beat us off the dribble.”

The move helped Lawerence pick up a pair of close wins over Edward Little and Lewiston, and the Bulldogs (8-3) are in second place in the Eastern Class A standings.

“I’m very happy with where we’re at right now,” McGee said, “but we have a great deal of room for improvement.”

Specifically, McGee wants his team to cut down on turnovers, and improve on the boards. A series of turnovers late in the Lewiston game allowed the Blue Devils to hang around, and turnovers throughout the game led to easy Lewiston baskets.

“We threw the ball away seven times for layups,” McGee said. “If we cut down on turnovers, we’ll be a good team come tourney time.”

The Bulldogs are working on blockout drills, as many as two to three times each practice, in an effort to improve on the boards. With games against bigger teams, including Mt. Blue, Hampden and Bangor coming up, rebounding will be key. Five of Lawrence’s final seven games are on the road.

“We’re getting outrebounded by everybody,” McGee said. “We have seven tough games.”

A bright spot lately has been the emergence of Shaun Carroll, Jr., who had 12 points and seven rebounds against Lewiston.

“He’s been real tentative until Monday,” McGee said. “This summer, by far, he was our best player.”

* * *

Maine Central Institute is showing some improvement, and that helped the it earn wins recently over Belfast and Oak Hill.

“We’re learning how to play harder,” coach Mike Susi said. “That’s been the biggest thing. We’re starting to get it… Against Belfast, we felt prepared and shot the ball well.”

The Huskies (2-9) suffered a tough 59-53 loss to Oceanside on Saturday, a game in which MCI led much of the way, Susi said.

“We had a minute and a half where we stopped playing and doing what we had all game,” Susi said. “I was happy with the way we played. We didn’t force shots, we didn’t turn the ball over, and we rebounded.”

The Huskies close out the season with a tough schedule. All seven of MCI’s remaining opponents are in the playoff hunt, and have a combined record of 50-26.

MCI plays at Leavitt (8-3) tonight.

* * *

Three upcoming games could determine Rangeley’s playoff fate. The Lakers (4-6) are currently ranked 11th in Western Class D, three points behind Richmond, which holds the ninth and final playoff spot in the region.

Rangeley’s next three games are against Forest Hills, Buckfield and Richmond. A win in any one of those games could give the Lakers the points they need to jump into the playoff mix.

The Lakers also have a pair of games at Vinalhaven, which could earn them points. Games with Pine Tree Academy (1-6) and Highview Christian (0-6), while very winnable for the Lakers, are not going to provide the Heal points needed to jump into the region’s top nine.

* * *

Around the state: Central Aroostook (11-0) is dominating Eastern Class D. Only two of Central Aroostook’s games were decided by less than 10 points, and its average margin of victory is 29 points… Coming off a close win over Greely, undefeated Falmouth (11-0) faces a tough game tonight against Cape Elizabeth. Falmouth is in first place in Western Class B… The first of many big rematches in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A is tonight, when Hampden plays at Bangor. Hampden won the first meeting, 56-48… Mt. Desert Island (11-0), the lone remaining undefeated team in Eastern Class B, makes its annual trip north this weekend, to take on Caribou and Presque Isle.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

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