BANGOR — With seven and a half seconds left in overtime, Mt. Blue boys basketball coach Jim Bessey called timeout, and kept his instructions simple.

“(Bessey) told Eric to make a play, and he did,” Mt. Blue forward Nick Hilton said.

With his teammates spread out on the baseline, Mt. Blue point guard Eric Berry took the ball from the top of the key down the left side of the lane, making a layup with just over two seconds to play. After a Bangor timeout, the Rams’ Patrick Stewart missed a jumper from the top of the key, and Mt. Blue had a 41-39 overtime win.

“At the end of every quarter, we try to run baseline, get our men spread out, and see how I can beat my man,” Berry said. “I just took it to the hole, and it worked out.”

Added Bessey: “It was nothing really special, just a baseline clear out. Once (Berry) got his shoulders by (the defender), you could see he was going to get a shot. I’m not surprised when he gets by people, that’s for sure.”

Mt. Blue (11-4) led for most of the game, but had to rally to force overtime. Bangor (11-4) used a 13-1 run in the fourth quarter to take the lead, and Stewart’s jumper with 57 seconds to play in the fourth gave a the Rams a 37-33 lead. With 39 seconds left, Bangor was called for goaltending on a Hilton (15 points) layup and after a Bangor turnover, the Cougars ran down the clock before Steve Yardley was fouled with 8.9 seconds left.

Yardley sank both his free throws, sending the game to overtime.

Neither team shot well, and Mt. Blue’s fullcourt man-to-man defense caused problems for the Rams for three quarters. Stewart, one of Bangor’s leading scorers, didn’t score until the fourth quarter and finished with six points.

“We struggled quite a bit on offense, but we played great D,” Hilton said. “You have to be physical with them. Patrick Stewart is a great player. We did a decent job on him. We played a great game as a team.”

The Cougars closed the first half with a 10-2 run, and Hilton’s jumper at the buzzer gave Mt. Blue a 24-18 lead at the half. Hilton’s layup 30 seconds into the fourth quarter gave Mt. Blue its biggest lead, 32-24, before Bangor rallied. Ellis Throckmorton (18 points) scored to tie the game at 33-33 with just under four minutes to play in the fourth, and Xavier Lewis made a pair of free throws to give the Rams a 35-33 lead with 3:11 left.

Berry had seven points and three steals for Mt. Blue.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

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