WINSLOW — After a pair of lopsided wins, the Winslow High School boys basketball team got its first test of the season Friday night, and it came from rival Waterville. The Black Raiders passed, but it wasn’t easy.

“I think the grit we have, our veterans being in close game, that was the spark. They’ve competed in close games,” Winslow coach Jared Browne said.

Dylan Hutchinson’s layup with 1:29 to play put Winslow on top for good, and the Black Raiders sank three free throws in the final minute to seal a 48-43 win over the Purple Panthers in front of a loud and packed Mansfield Gym.

“The way things are structured now, there’s not many gyms like this where they’re loud and people are yapping at you. It’s nice to see some kids who maybe haven’t experienced that before get to mix it up,” Waterville coach Nick Pelotte said. “At the end of the day, it’s a couple plays. That’s all it is. It’s a couple plays here and there. I’ve got to do a better job of helping them out, have a couple more sets to get us open.”

Winslow (3-0) led 39-33 going into the fourth quarter, but Waterville (0-3) chipped away at the lead. Justin Kornsey’s basket with 6:03 to play cut Waterville’s deficit to a point, 39-38. The Panthers had a chance to tie with 5:14 to go, but a Kornsey free throw was wiped out on a lane violation.

Hutchinson made a pair of foul shots to put the Black Raiders on top, 41-38. With 3:39 left, Waterville’s Demetrius Ramirez made a bucket and a free throw to tie the game, 41-41.

Winslow went up 43-41 on a Trenton Bouchard basket with 2:04 to play, only to have Waterville answer with Alan Martin’s 15-foot jumper with 1:48 left.

“We’re a team that doesn’t necessarily have one guy who can do it all. I thought that they shared the ball really well,” Pelotte said. “Justin Kornsey played his butt off and we were able to recognize that he was having success, so we tried to get him the ball. Of course, they recognized that too, and started throwing some people at him.”

Kornsey scored a game-high 17 points, seven coming in the first quarter, when Waterville led by as many as eight points. The Panthers took a 13-8 lead into the second quarter, where the Black Raiders took off.

Winslow opened the second quarter with a 15-1 run, turning its five-point deficit into a nine-point lead. After struggling from the perimeter in the first quarter, the Black Raiders had success driving to the basket in the second. Sophomore Jack Morneault was a spark off the bench, scoring seven of his team-high 11 points in the second quarter, helping Winslow go to halftime with a 27-20 lead.

“I did what I could, and we came out with a win,” Morneault said.

“Jack Morneault came in the second quarter and gave us a huge lift. He got by his guy a few times, got us a few and ones. We got a lot better looks in the second quarter,” Browne said.

Winslow was able to hold Waterville to seven points in the second quarter, despite playing the entire quarter without Bouchard, the team’s best defensive player who stayed on the bench after picking up two early fouls.

The Panthers never tied the game in the third quarter, but stayed within striking distance.

“It’s nice to see them stay composed. When what was being successful was taken away from us, they still fought the good fight. We really didn’t make an outside shot tonight,” Pelotte said.

Ramirez had 12 points for Waterville, six in the fourth quarter. Adam Barre grabbed 12 rebounds for the Panthers. Bouchard and Keanu Earle each scored nine points for Winslow, while Justin Burgher and Nate Martin each grabbed eight boards.

“I thought they played us great, especially in defensive transition. We couldn’t get any fastbreak opportunities. They did a great job of getting back, protecting the rim, and getting out on our shooters,” Browne said. “We got some good looks in our halfcourt offense, but we didn’t get many second chances. We didn’t shoot that well. They did a great job closing out on us defensively.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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