AUGUSTA — There was no fooling around with the Erskine boys basketball team when it hit the floor of the Augusta Civic Center.

The Eagles started hard and fast, and thanks to an 18-point first quarter, Erskine ran away with a 54-38 win over Skowhegan on Wednesday night at the Capital City Hoop Classic.

It’s the third consecutive win for the Eagles (3-3), who were missing starter Andrew Browne due to an injury. Erskine head coach Tim Bonsant credited his younger players stepping up when needed as a reason the Eagles are improving.

“The sophomores are battle-hardened,” Bonsant said. “Every game in the (Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference) is a war. We’ve had six wars, and we’re 3-3. The league is tough, every night is just a war. The kids are just getting acclimated to the speed and the physicality of the game, and they’ve responded very well.

In Browne’s absence, Erskine was led offensively by Jack Jowett, leading the squad with 19 points. Also chipping in was forward Noah Bonsant, who achieved a double-double by scoring 14 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.

After a quick 4-0 lead by the Indians (2-3), the Eagles went on a 10-0 run, aided by two 3-pointers from Brandon Soule. Erskine kept the offensive momentum going while holding Skowhegan to just four more points in the quarter to take an 18-8 lead.

The Eagles kept the trend going well into the second quarter. Jowett took over the game by scoring 10 of his 19 points in the quarter alone, and Erskine took advantage of Skowhegan mistakes to jog into the locker room at halftime with a 30-15 lead.

“Jack can shoot it, and he gets to the rim very well,” Tim Bonsant said.

The Indians were able to turn the tides in the second half, successfully putting more defensive pressure on Erskine and forcing turnovers. But the Eagles were able to eventually fight back — thanks once again by the play of Jowett and Bonsant — to keep a 41-24 lead at the end of the third quarter.

The Indians outscored Erskine 14-13 in the fourth quarter, but it was too little too late, as the Eagles walked away with the victory.

“Skowhegan has really good guards,” Coach Bonsant said. “(Skowhegan guard Cam Barnes) can really shoot it, and they’re well coached, I was very nervous going into the game. Coach (Tom) Nadeau always has his team prepared, and I don’t think they’ve seen much 2-3 zone this year. Coach Nadeau does very well against a man defense, and we tried to show him something different.”

Cole Pierce led Skowhegan with 11 points, while Garrett McSweeney added eight points.

Erskine was rounded out offensively by Austin Dunn, who scored nine points, as well as Soule, who had eight points.

Dave Dyer — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Dave_Dyer

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