WINTHROP — Boothbay blitzed out to a 16-2 lead in Thursday night’s Mountain Valley Conference showdown with unbeaten Winthrop. Winthrop nearly returned the favor in the fourth quarter, but the Seahawks managed to hang on despite not scoring a field goal in the final eight minutes to hand the Ramblers their first loss of the season, 53-46.

Trailing 48-31 early in the fourth quarter, Winthrop went on a 15-0 run to make it a one-possession game with two minutes left.

Taylor Morang hit a 3-pointer, then Ben Allen followed with back-to-back traditional three-point plays off two of Boothbay’s 10 turnovers in the quarter to make it 48-46.

But then the Ramblers (11-1) went just as cold as they were in the early stages of the game, missing their final six shots of the quarter while the Seahawks (11-1) made five of eight free throwsin the final 1:44 to end it.

“We knew we’d struggle with their pressure tonight. Nobody else does what that… disrupts us offensively like that,” Boothbay coach IJ Pinkham said. “If anybody watched us tonight, they wouldn’t know what we run for an offense.”

“Defense and turning them over got our transtion going (in the fourth quarter),” Winthrop coach Todd MacArthur said. “Credit to them, one of the things they did was take our transition away. And we took their’s away, so it was really a halfcourt game.”

Evan Hepburn led Boothbay with 17 pooints and nine rebounds. Brother John Hepburn added 13 points and Abel Bryer 12 points and 11 rebounds.

Jacob Hickey led the Ramblers with 14 points off the bench. Allen added 12 points, all in the second half.

Boothbay came out in an uncharacteristic 2-3 zone and held Winthrop scoreless while forcing five turnovers in the first 2:30. THey led 8-0 before Matt Sekerak (10 points) got the Ramblers on the board with a jumper. Bryer’s putback made it 16-2.

“We haven’t played zone all year, but I don’t think we can guard them man-to-man, yet,” Pinkham said. “We’re pretty long and we’re pretty quick, so the zone worked out.”

“That was an awful start. We have to be more prepared. That’s my fault,” MacArthur said. “Unfortunately, we get to see them again. We know the adjustments we’ve got to make.”

The two teams meet again Feb. 2 in Boothbay.

Winthrop cut the deficit to 10 by the end of the quarter and pulled to within six midway through the scond quarter. It was nine, 27-18, at halftime, as the Ramblers shot just 6-for-27 from the field.

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter:@RAWmaterial33

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