OAKLAND — The Lawrence High School boys basketball team is not going to overwhelm anybody with its size. But when the Bulldogs use their quickness and move the ball like they did Wednesday night against Messalonskee, they can present any team a challenge.

Lawrence made nine 3-pointers, most coming on wide-open looks, to take a 52-47 win over the Eagles in Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A play. Lawrence improved to 2-0, while Messalonskee dropped to 0-2.

Lawrence took the lead for good on a Nick Robertson 3-pointer early in the second quarter. The Bulldogs led by as many as 14 points in the third quarter, before Messalonskee rallied to pull within a point. However, a couple big 3-pointers early in the fourth helped Lawrence regain control of the game.

“Messalonskee is a proud team, and they should be proud of what they’ve accomplished here. We knew they were going to put together a run,” Lawrence coach Jason Pellerin said. “We talk about being physically tough and mentally tough. We’re just starting to grow up a little bit, and I think our guys showed some mental toughness when they made their run.”

Lawrence was successful from the outside right from the beginning, when Kobe Nadeau sank a 3-pointer just four seconds into the game. Robertson hit four 3’s in scoring a game-high 20 points, while Nadeau added three 3-pointers in his 11 points. Braden Ballard sank a pair of threes for Lawrence. Throughout the game, the Bulldogs’ quick passing created open shots when the Eagles were late rotating to the ball.

“They got a ton of open looks. Ultimately, we didn’t execute. Not even a little bit,” Messalonskee coach Peter McLaughlin said.

Ahead 20-18, Lawrence closed the first half with a 9-2 run to take a 29-20 halftime lead. A Ballard 3 with 7:19 left in the third quarter gave Lawrence its biggest lead of the game, 34-20.

“We want to share the ball. We want to create for one another. It not only creates shots, but the team chemistry that evolves from that is something you can’t put a price on,” Pellerin said.

The Eagles answered by playing their best basketball of the game, using a 10-0 run to pull within a point on a Cole Wood (10 points) layup with 32 seconds left in the third quarter. With 0.1 seconds left in the quarter, McLaughlin was issued a technical foul for arguing a call. Robertson made both free throws to give the Bulldogs a three-point lead entering the fourth quarter. Robertson and Nadeau each made a 3-pointer early in the fourth, and Lawrence’s lead was back up to nine points, 43-34.

“I felt we were limiting the looks Nadeau and Robertson were getting. We knew they were great shooters,” McLaughlin said. “When you don’t execute in this league, you don’t win. I thought we had opportunities to come back, even with the breakdowns we had in the first half.”

Free throws by Robertson and Ballard gave Lawrence a 52-44 lead in the closing seconds, and Messalonskee’s Chase Warren hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer for the final margin.

Tucker Charles led Messalonskee with 15 points, while Warren added 13.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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