READFIELD — Whether it was Kyle Boucher showing off some of his post moves, or Seth Miller slashing into the lane for a layup, or Taylor Wilbur sticking a 3-pointer from the corner, there wasn’t much the Maranacook Community School offense didn’t do Thursday night against Gardiner.

“I think that was the best our offense has played all year,” the 6-foot-7 Boucher said. “The guys did a great job staying wide and hitting the open shot. Everybody had high intensity.”

The result was a 60-44 Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B boys basketball win against a strong Gardiner team. The win gives Maranacook’s playoff outlook a big boost. The Black Bears are 6-8, but Thursday’s win against the Tigers (12-2) can only help Maranacook in the Heal points standings, which determine playoff seedings.

“This could solidify a playoff spot for us,” Maranacook coach Rob Schmidt said.

Maranacook pulled away in the third quarter. Ahead 32-27 at the half, the Black Bears continued to run their offense well, kicking inside to Boucher, who knew the right time to go up for his shot, or to pass the ball back to the perimeter where a teammate had an open look.

“We were smart tonight,” Schmidt said. “We really kept the floor spread out.”


Boucher scored 10 of his 15 points in the third quarter, and had a monster game overall. The Black Bears’ big man added 21 rebounds — including 10 offensive — and 13 blocked shots, and his presence in the paint forced the Tigers to alter shots throughout the game.

“We’re lucky to have (Boucher) in the paint,” Schmidt said. “He just does so much defensively.”

Even with Boucher defending the paint, Maranacook’s game plan was to pester Gardiner guard Jake Palmer. Schmidt applauded the efforts of Gabe Giguere and Jesse Evans, who defended Palmer much of the night and held Palmer to nine points.

“We were trying to shut Palmer down. Everything goes through him,” Schmidt said. “He’s the key.”

Gardiner led 15-14 after one quarter. Maranacook took the lead for good on a Miller (17 points) basket with five minutes left in the first half.

“Our refusal to play defense killed us. We missed a few jump shots and got soft,” Gardiner coach Jason Cassidy said. “We didn’t execute our game plan. That’s a team you have to put away early, and we didn’t do that.”

Wilbur scored 14 points for Maranacook, including four 3-pointers. Aaron Toman led Gardiner with 17 points and 11 rebounds.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

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