WATERVILLE — With his team coming off a tough loss to AR Gould on Wednesday, Temple Academy boys basketball coach Tom Simmons wondered how much energy his team would have for a Thursday game against Valley.

“I wasn’t sure what we’d have for legs tonight,” Simmons said.

As it turned out, the Bereans had plenty still left in the tank. Temple grabbed 53 rebounds, including 23 offensive boards, to take a 51-43 win over the Cavaliers. For Temple, now 8-6, the win was the biggest since rejoining the Maine Principals’ Association three years ago. Valley dropped to 9-4.

“Coach (Simmons) has been drilling us, telling us to find a man whenever they shoot and crash the boards. We did exactly what he told us and good things happened,” said Temple senior Brad Smith, who scored 24 points to go with 12 rebounds. “I’m actually losing my voice from yelling. It was an amazing win.”

Joe Xu had 18 points and 19 boards for the Bereans, including 10 offensive rebounds. All the work on the glass led to second chance points, and helped Temple pull ahead with a 22-12 lead midway through the second quarter.

“They rebounded like they did last time (a 78-62 Valley win on Jan. 5). They’re big, and we’re having problems with big teams because we don’t have much size. They did a good job on the boards,” Valley coach Curtis Miller said.

Temple led 22-16 at the half, and the Cavs pulled to within two points, 24-22, early in the third quarter. Smith sparked a 15-1 Bereans run with eight points in three minutes, pushing Temple’s lead to 39-23 and effectively putting the game away.

“We played as a team. We passed the ball. We broke the press. We did everything we had to do,” Smith said.

The Cavs cut Temple’s lead to four, 44-40, on an Austin Cates free throw with 47 seconds left, but that was as close as Valley could get. Miller said the Cavs need to play with more intensity.

“It’s really just a lack of focus, is what it comes down to,” Miller said.

Cates led Valley with 23 points.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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