READFIELD — It’s always beneficial to have a Plan B and Maranacook had a good one Friday night in its Class B South match-up against Poland.

Trailing by as many as 10 points in the first quarter, the Black Bears went to a three-quarter court trapping zone midway through the second period that turned the momentum and brought the team to life.

They caught the visiting Knights with a 14-0 run early in the second half and eventually held on for a 57-54 victory.

Maranacook is 3-0, Poland is 2-1.

“Sometimes coach calls 21 just to get us going,” said Maranacook senior Kent Mohlar, who scored 15 points and was the point man on the press.

The Bears forced 23 turnovers — nearly all of them off the press — and a halftime adjustment and two subsequent timeouts from Poland coach Tyler Tracy, couldn’t stem the momentum.

“You’re always nervous at the beginning of the year,” Tracy said. “It was something we didn’t see in preseason. The good news is we finally adjusted to it, but unfortunately it took too long.”

The Black Bears whittled the Poland lead to 28-23 at the half and took off early in the third quarter. Hayden Elwell ignited the run with a steal and layup, Jason Brooks followed with a pair of free throws, then Kyle Wilbur hit back to back 3-pointers, one from each wing, to make it 35-30. Wilbur finished with a team-high 18 points, 10 in the third quarter. Mohlar followed Wilbur’s 3s with a driving layup before Wilbur capped the run with two free throws to make it 39-30.

The Knights never regained the lead but cut it to one point (55-54) in the fourth quarter thanks to senior John Fossett, a burly 6-foot-2 forward who finished with a game-high 32 points, most of those in the paint.

“He started a few games from that team that went to the state game two years ago,” Tracy said. “He averaged about 13 or 14 last year, he’s averaging over 20 this year.”

Fossett scored seven straight points to cut the lead to 55-54 with 25 seconds left. The Bears went into a stall and Brooks was fouled with 10 seconds left. He made both ends of a 1-and-1 to make it 57-54.

“I just told myself to relax and focus,” Brooks said. “I’ve been making my free throws in practice. I just told myself it’s just like practice, don’t let the pressure get to you.”

The Knights advance the ball and called timeout with 7.4 seconds left to set up a game-tying 3-pointer. The plan went awry, though, when Brooks stole the inbounds pass.

Coach (Rob Schmidt) told us not to give up a 3. He wanted us along the 3-point line and I saw the guy flashing to the ball and just jumped in front of them.”

Levi Emery added 12 points for the Bears while Caleb Hodgkin scored 11 for the Knights.


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