SKOWHEGAN — This was the game the Lawrence High School boys basketball team has been trying to play all season. The Bulldogs had just one win in their first eight games, but hope Tuesday’s 70-56 win at Skowhegan will be the boost they need to make a run at the playoffs.

“They haven’t let up. Our practices have been great. I’m proud of the kids and happy for them,” Lawrence coach Jason Pellerin said. “I think we’ve matured a little bit as a team over these last couple of weeks. We just haven’t had the chance to get a win to show for it.”

The win gives Lawrence, now 2-7, a season split with Skowhegan (2-8). The Indians took the season-opening game between these rivals in December.

“We worked together tonight. We’ve been struggling, and we really needed this one,” said Lawrence senior Dustin Simpson-Bragg, who scored a game-high 24 points and grabbed eight rebounds.

Skowhegan used a 13-4 run early in the third quarter to take a brief lead, 43-42, on a Brendan Curran 3-pointer. But when Curran picked up his third foul soon after, Lawrence made its game-winning run. The Bulldogs closed the third quarter with 10 straight points, and Derick Raven’s basket 20 seconds into the fourth pushed the Bulldogs lead to 54-43.

“Our point guard, Brendan, got his third foul and had to come off the floor. He’s one of our leaders in handling the ball, and we just didn’t take care of the ball,” Skowhegan coach Tom Nadeau said. “We didn’t play tough. They played tough.”

Skowhegan committed 11 turnovers in the second half, and Lawrence turned those opportunites, as well as second chances from 11 offensive rebounds, into points.

“I thought our defense was really good tonight, but we’ve been playing great defense all year,” Simpson-Bragg said. “We’ve really been struggling on offense the past few weeks, and (tonight) it was taking our shot, our team shot, and not your personal shot.”

Skowhegan rallied to cut Lawrence’s lead to six, 59-53, midway through the fourth quarter, but the Bulldogs went 11 for 14 at the line down the stretch to seal the win.

“From beginning to end we played with a lot of energy and a lot of heart,” Pellerin said.

Mason Cooper scored 11 points for Lawrence, while Kyle Robinson had nine points, all in the second half, and seven rebounds.

Isaac Witham led Skowhegan with 13 points. DeQuan Frost and Garrett McSweeney each scored 11 points for the Indians.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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