WINSLOW — When it was over, Maranacook boys basketball coach Rob Schmidt breathed a sigh of relief.

“We seem to make games interesting,” Schmidt said.

Ahead by as much as 15 points in the third quarter at Winslow on Thursday night, Schmidt’s Black Bears saw the Black Raiders claw back into the game, cutting Maranacook’s lead to just a point with a minute to play. Maranacook held on, however, with Kyle Wilbur making four clutch free throws in the final 20 seconds to help seal a 58-51 Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B win.

Maranacook improved to 14-2, while Winslow dropped to 9-7.

“It was getting pretty close. This year, we’ve found ways to win games. Last year, we found ways to lose them,” Wilbur, who scored 12 of his game-high 23 points in the fourth quarter, said.

Maranacook led 52-44 with 3:30 to play, but the Black Raiders rallied. A pair of Justin Burgher layups cut the lead to 52-48, and when Spencer Miranda nailed a baseline 3-pointer with 1:02 to play, the Black Bears lead was just 52-51.

“We knew they’d make a run. Winslow never quits. We were anticipating that,” Schmidt said. “We didn’t do a great job keeping them out of the paint, but I think we did a good enough job.”

“We battled. We’ve done that all year. We’ve been in deficits like this. On Tuesday (a win over MCI), we were down by 17 and came back and won it,” Winslow coach Jared Browne said.

Still down one point, Winslow had the ball with 24 seconds left, coming out of a timeout. The Black Raiders had to burn a timeout immediately after inbounding the ball when they had just four players on the court. On the ensuing inbounds play, Winslow turned it over when it couldn’t get the ball in play in five seconds.

Wilbur made a pair of free throws with 20 seconds left to push Maranacook’s lead to 54-51. After a timeout, the Black Raiders tried to roll the ball inbounds to get as close to midcourt as possible without losing time, but Maranacook’s Jason Brooks hustled to steal the ball. Wilbur made two more foul shots with 15.4 seconds left. Wilbur’s makes at the line were key, considering the Black Bears were just 1 for 8 at the line in the second half until Wilbur sank them, including two Wilbur misses earlier in the fourth quarter.

“I wanted to do that. I had to redeem myself. I missed twice, I had to get back (to the line). I knew I’d hit them,” Wilbur said.

Added Schmidt: “We need to do a better job on the line. The foul line could have sealed that game a little while ago, but clearly it didn’t.”

Wilbur closed the game with a breakaway layup after a Winslow miss.

“We made a couple mental mistakes, but we were in the basketball (game), and now we know how to overcome that. Now we know what to do in those situations so those mistakes don’t happen again,” Browne said.

Maranacook led 32-24 at halftime, and opened the third quarter with a 9-2 run to push the lead to 41-26.

“I thought we were getting out and running a little bit. We got a few transition baskets out of it, a couple threes in there. I thought we were a little more patient on offense and worked the ball around for higher percentage shots,” Schmidt said.

Winslow cut the deficit back to eight points, 45-37, by the end of the third quarter, and the Black Raiders offense came primarily from the inside game. Burgher scored 11 of his team-high 15 points in the second half, helping Winslow chip away at Maranacook’s lead.

“Justin Burgher’s been playing very well. A senior, he realizes this is going to be it for him and he’s really stepped it up these last couple of games,” Browne said.

Kent Mohlar added 16 points for Maranacook, including 13 in the first half. Levi Emery scored 12 points for the Black Bears.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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