AUGUSTA — It was the kind of quarter Winthrop High School basketball coach Todd MacArthur has been waiting for, and it came right after one he could barely watch.

The Ramblers staged an impressive rally Saturday afternoon at the Capital City Hoop Classic, rallying from a 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter to defeat Class B Winslow, 59-56, at the Augusta Civic Center.

“I’m just impressed. I think we’re starting to learn things,” MacArthur said. “Starting to figure out our compsure, starting to figure out our identity a little bit, and that’s the thing. They tend to get away from what we want to do and start to do their own thing, but when we play our basketball, we’re really good.”

Winthrop, out of Class C, was trailing 44-36 when MacArthur called a timeout midway through the third, imploring his players to work more for free throws and high-percentage shots as opposed to settling for outside shots. The lead grew to 52-40 by the end of the quarter before the Ramblers began to follow their coach’s advice, starting the fourth on a 10-3 run that got the lead down to 55-50 and featured five free throws and a basket in the paint.

“We had three good quarters, and one terrible quarter,” MacArthur said. “If we can sustain consistent basketball, we’re going to be a tough team to beat.”

Winthrop continued to chip away, drawing within four on a Sam Figueroa drive, two on a Cam Wood basket and then pulling even at 56 on a Beau Brooks drive with 1:29 to go and taking the lead on Nate LeBlanc’s short jumper with 40 seconds to play. All the while, the Ramblers got dirty in their attempt to hang on, scrapping for loose balls and rebounds and refusing to allow easy looks. Winslow didn’t score in the last 3:49, and didn’t hit a shot from the field in the last 5:45.

“That’s our thing. We preach team,” MacArthur said. “You can preach it all you want, but it’s nice when one charge leads to five charges, one dive ball leads to five dive balls.”

One of the gritty plays helped preserve the win, with LeBlanc going to the floor for a rebound and alertly calling timeout with 15 seconds left before it could be wrestled away.

“Once one person brings a lot of intensity, we all feed off of it,” LeBlanc said. “We’ll always grit and grind. We don’t give up, whether we’re down by 30 or down by one.”

• • •

An afternoon contest for Hall-Dale proved to be an experiment in unfamilarity.

The Bulldogs tipped off against Amesbury, Mass. Saturday afternoon, and while Hall-Dale played like it knew everything about its opponent, coming away with a 73-51 win, coach Chris Ranslow didn’t have much of a scouting report to offer his players.

“I think we were lethargic in the first half. I think some of it has to do with the uncertainty in playing a team you’ve never seen, you don’t know anything about them,” Ranslow said. “They could have come out full-court press or they could have played half court, 2-2-1, you just don’t know.”

It didn’t take the Bulldogs long to find their footing. Hall-Dale stretched a 13-11 first-quarter lead over Amesbury, nearly twice its enrollment, to 26-16 in the second quarter, and though the Indians fought back to narrow the gap to 41-39 midway through the third, the Bulldogs put the game out of reach with a 22-1 run that lasted into the fourth quarter and featured six points from Alec Byron and eight points from Ashtyn Abbott.

“I don’t think we reacted well in the first five minutes, certainly, but after we kind of figured out what they were going to try to do, their scheme, how they were going to try to break our pressure,” Ranslow said, “we started to adjust and sort of reinvent the way we play.”

Ranslow said the unofficial nature of the holiday tournament sets up well for unfamiliar opponents.

“It’s hard to prepare a team. I just talk about platform skills. We’re going to do what we do, and we’re going to figure out if it’s good enough,” Ranslow said. “If you’re trying to win, it’s nice to know your enemy. As far as the Christmas tournament is concerned, it’s nice to kind of have a litmus test with this group.”

While Hall-Dale struggled at first to get a feel for its opponent, Amesbury struggled to get one for its environment. The Indians were called for 15 of the first half’s 18 fouls, and coach Tom Comeau said the team was thrown off by the absence of a shot clock.

“It was straight foul trouble,” he said of the reason his team fell off late in the game. “We were in foul trouble from the first three minutes of the game. We were constantly patchworking a lineup together.”

• • •

The free-shooting Cony basketball team has one of its best guns in top form.

Austin Parlin scored 15 points on five 3-pointers in the Rams’ 68-51 win over Boothbay Saturday, marking the third straight game he’s knocked down five shots from beyond the arc. He also did it against Mt. Blue and then against Brewer, both wins that brought Cony back even at 3-3.

“He can do that, man. He can stroke it,” coach T.J. Maines said. “He didn’t shoot the ball well early on, but I think his teammates get him the ball because you have to kind of be careful of penetration with Jordan (Roddy) and some of the other guys, so it creates openings for him.”

Parlin said the reason for his recent form is simple: He’s finally healthy after a sprained ankle for the preseason.

“I was landing on my left foot, and that’s not usual. Usually I go up on two, land on two,” he said. “I noticed that, I started going up and coming down on two and that was mostly the thing.”

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.