MONMOUTH — Starving for a victory, the Monmouth Academy boys basketball team got just the run it needed.

The Mustangs took command at home against Mt. Abram with a second-quarter surge, turning a one-point lead into a 15-point runaway by the end of the period en route to a 43-26 victory on Thursday night.

The game was a matchup between two teams looking to avoid getting buried beneath Class C South contenders in the early stages of the season. The Mustangs improved to 2-4, while the Roadrunners fell to 0-5.

“We definitely needed a win, coming in 1-4 and losing by two and four points in back-to-back games,” said guard Gabe Martin, who scored 24 points. “We really needed a win right before Christmas break to give us a little push.”

It didn’t start off easily. The teams went back and forth in the first quarter, with Monmouth going into the second only up 7-6.

The second quarter was a different story. Monmouth, led by seven points from Martin and four apiece from Connor Davies and Brock Bates, poured it on and pulled away, burying three 3-pointers and going into halftime with a 27-12 lead that put the game all but out of reach for the Roadrunners.

“The second quarter was awesome basketball. The second quarter was every coach’s dream,” coach Wade Morrill said. “Your team’s getting going, you’re out in transition, you’re hitting layups, you’re hitting open shots. And it’s a beautiful game when those shots are going in.

“But unfortunately, it’s one fourth of the game. It’s 25 percent of the game.”

And true to that statement, Monmouth slipped during a third period that saw the Roadrunners, led from the field by Casey Holt (nine points) and Jack Deming (six points), trim the lead to nine at 33-24 at the end of the third.

“We did knock it down,” Mt. Abram coach Richard Hawkes said. “Played more of our game, running our offense. We had been reluctant to do that, not just because of their defense , but we haven’t figured out how to play four quarters of basketball yet.”

Monmouth cut the rally short in the fourth. Martin scored eight of the Mustangs’ 10 points, and the Roadrunners missed all nine of their attempts from the field.

“He’s had a couple of those games where he’s been really the go-to guy, just stepping up in critical situations,” Morrill said. “He’s had some good games. He’s a good athlete, good player. He works hard. Confidence was a big thing tonight. He had some confidence, played with confidence, and it showed.”

The season is still early, but Monmouth, which also got eight points from Davies, 11 rebounds from Bates and 10 boards from Evan Burnell, needed the victory both from a momentum standpoint and a standings perspective after losing by four points to Boothbay on Friday and two points to Lisbon on Tuesday.

“You don’t have an unlimited amount of opportunities to gain Heal points. You have 18 opportunities to earn a spot in postseason play,” Morrill said. “There are 16 teams in Class C South, only 11 of them get to play in the postseason. You’ve got to keep five teams behind you … to have a shot, and to do that, you’ve got to win.”

Morrill and his players said they like their chances of rounding into a team that could be one to watch when that part of the season arrives.

“Coach knows the team we can be, and we can be a great team,” Martin said. “This team is hardworking, we have all the athletes to do it.”

“We’ve just got to keep working,” Morrill said. “The game, overall, (had) a lot of positives. For our team, every night’s a learning process. … We’ve been in some close games, we’ve got to find ways to pull those out.”

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