WINSLOW — The Black Raiders have always relied on Jack Morneault’s athleticism inside. On Thursday night, they discovered what the junior forward can do for them from the perimeter.

Morneault scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds — connecting for his first three 3-point field goals of the season — to lead Winslow to a 61-41 win over Maranacook in a Class B boys basketball showdown. With the win, the Black Raiders remained in the thick of the Class B North title hunt at 8-0, while Maranacook saw its four-game winning streak snapped and dropped to 4-6.

“Every win from here on out is a big win,” Morneault said. “We don’t play a lot of fantastic teams, so every win is a big one for us.”

Morneault was one of three Winslow players to finish in double figures, as senior guard Spencer Miranda finished with a game-high 16 while point guard Keanu Earle added 11.

Morneault was at his absolute prime in the first half, keeping the Black Bears from penetrating the paint at the defensive end while also nailing a pair of clutch treys — the first with just 4 seconds remaining in the first quarter to open up a 17-8 Winslow lead and then midway through the second when a turnover in the Black Bears’ backcourt set him up for another deep ball that built a 25-15 advantage.

Try as they might, the Black Bears could never claw back into it after that and mount a serious challenge.

“They’ve got a lot of weapons,” Maranacook coach Rob Schmidt said. “They shot the ball really well, but they could also go inside when they had to. They’ve got some tough matchups for us.”

“Like every coach always says, it always starts on the defensive end,” added Morneault, who also added four steals to his stat line. “If you play good defense, you’re usually going to win a lot of games.”

Winslow head coach Jared Browne was especially pleased with the latest development in Morneault’s arsenal.

“On a snow day last week, he came in and put up a couple hundred shots,” Browne said. “He’s worked really hard at that aspect of his game. He hadn’t really shown the confidence in taking the (three), but he hit the first one tonight and I could see it in his eyes that he was ready to hit the next one.

“If he continues to develop at the rate he is, he’s going to be a special player.”

Morneault capped the first half with a layup off a great feed from Earle (three assists) for an 11-point halftime lead at 32-21.

Maranacook tried to answer in the third quarter when Bryan Riley, who scored 11 points off the bench, buried a three from the top of the key and then Silas Mohlar (seven points) rolled one around the rim and in to trim the Raider lead to eight.

But Winslow’s ability to move the ball only set up a pair of Miranda threes. Morneault put the final dagger in the Bears’ hopes with six minutes remaining in the final period, a three from the right corner that made it a 51-35 game.

“I had thought going into this game that we had learned how to play hard and strong,” Schmidt said. “I thought we took a little step backward tonight. I thought after those first five losses that it was a lesson we’d learned. I’m a little disappointed that we didn’t play stronger.”

In all, Winslow connected on 21 field goals in the game, 13 of those off assists.

“Our guys are mentally tough. I think that comes from playing in a lot of big games in other sports,” Browne said. “We’ve got guys who played in a state championship game in soccer, we’ve got guys who won football state championships. These guys know what it means to play under pressure… They know what it takes to close out big games, and they rise to the occasion when they have to.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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