SOUTH CHINA — Day 1 of the new system couldn’t have gone much better for coach Rob Schmidt and the Maranacook Community School boys basketball team.

Schmidt’s Black Bears ran wild with their new run-and-gun style, overwhelming Erskine Academy with one wave of full-court pressure and one barrage of 3-pointers after another en route to a 65-46 victory in both teams’ season opener Friday night.

Maranacook’s all-or-nothing scheme — featuring constant double teams, quick passing and a reliance on perimeter shots — had a positive effect from the opening tip. The Black Bears raced out to an 18-7 lead after the first quarter and a 39-15 advantage by halftime, with Erskine struggling to even get past halfcourt against Maranacook’s smothering defense.

“I’m very happy with the defensive effort. We created a lot of turnovers early in the game, and I think it gave us a lot of momentum,” Schmidt said. “In the dream world, you create turnovers, create havoc and hit your threes. It doesn’t always work out that way. But as long as we can create havoc and create turnovers and get the game going fast, a lot of opportunities are going to come our way.”

One caveat came on offense — the Black Bears heaved up 54 threes and only made 11 of them. But with the defense stifling the Erskine offense, the production was more than enough.

“The point of the system is to take teams out of their comfort zone,” Schmidt said. “Unless you’re used to playing full-court, baseline to baseline, for 32 minutes, it’s just not what you naturally want to do.”

The victory came against an Erskine team that was dealt a serious blow before the season even began. The Eagles found out days before that standout center Noah Bonsant will be out for at least a month with a torn meniscus, robbing them of their post presence and top defensive player.

Still, coach Tim Bonsant wasn’t satisfied with the effort his team showed, however shorthanded it was.

“They shot the ball well and we didn’t. That’s the game,” he said. “Pressure was important for them, but we missed 11 layups. … In the first half, they played harder than we did. They wanted it more than we did.”

The scoreboard suggested as much. Maranacook’s press and traps forced Erskine into 13 combined steals, travels and passes out of bounds in the first quarter alone, and the Black Bears turned that into a 23-5 advantage in shots. The second half didn’t change the narrative much, as Maranacook went into the locker room with a staggering 45-18 advantage in shots.

“I think guys are buying into it. We love the way that we play,” said senior Bryan Riley, who tied for the team lead with 14 points, hitting four 3-pointers. “I think it’s a good way to play going forward for us. We have such a deep bench, we can play this way all day long.”

That depth became evident Friday as Maranacook mounted its lead. Mitch Root also scored 14, while Duncan Rogers scored 10 — all in the first half — and Aric Belanger scored eight.

“I think that’s the way it’s going to be all year,” Schmidt said. “We may have a couple games where somebody hits 20 or more, but in general, what we’d really like to see is balanced scoring because then we’re very difficult to guard.”

The Eagles, who trailed 57-26 after three, began to settle down and figure out the Maranacook defense in the fourth quarter, scoring 20 points in the period alone. Jack Jowett led Erskine with 10 points while Chandler Moore and Austin Dunn added seven.

“The second half was a lot better than the first half,” Coach Bonsant said. “We’re missing a leader in the locker room right now. The kids are still figuring out an answer for that.”

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM

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