FAIRFIELD — After losing a 10-point lead, the Messalonskee High School boys basketball team fought back to take a 54-49 win at Lawrence Tuesday night.

Down 10 in the second quarter and down seven points at the half, Lawrence rallied to take the lead in the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs led 44-37 with just over six minutes to play, when the Eagles found their second wind.

“We had a couple really nice timeouts, a couple really nice conversations, and we got back to doing the things we were successful with in the first half,” Messalonskee coach Peter McLaughlin said. “Once you hit a couple, then the hoop starts opening back up again a little bit, and the crowd gets a little bit smaller, and it gets a little more organized.”

Tucker Charles tied the game 49-49 on an old fashioned 3-point play with 1:51 to go. Tyesn Paz’s layup off a steal with 56 seconds to go gave the Eagles the lead for good.

Lawrence had chances to tie or retake the lead in the final minute. Kobe Nadeau’s three was off the mark with 42 seconds left, and after Paz missed a pair of foul shots for Messalonskee (1-1), the Bulldogs missed a layup and turned the ball over on an offensive foul on back-to-back possessions. Parker Cole made a free throw, and Matt Parent made two to clinch the game for the Eagles.

For Lawrence (0-2), missed opportunities were the difference in the game. The Bulldogs had 45 rebounds, including 25 offensive, to Messalonskee’s 29 boards. Lawrence could not convert those second offensive chances into points, missing layup after layup. At the free throw line, the Bulldogs shot 50 percent, 9 for 18.

“I thought our guys competed hard. We rebounded the ball very well, played with a lot of energy. We missed too many layups and too many foul shots to win a game with a rival,” Lawrence coach Jason Pellerin said. “We had great hustle. Great energy in the second half, but you just can’t miss that many free throws and layups and expect to win a rivalry game.”

Down 11-9 late in the first quarter, Messalonskee went on a 14-2 run to take a 10-point lead, 23-13, on a pair of Charles free throws with 4:38 left in the second quarter. Lawrence closed the gap to seven points, 27-20, at the half, and used an 8-0 run in the third quarter to take a 33-31 lead with a Nick Robertson bucket. Ahead 38-37 after three quarters, Lawrence held its largest lead, 44-37, with 6:18 to play.

Too many turnovers, 25 for the game, were a factor when the Eagles went cold, McLaughlin said.

“We got into a lull of about seven or eight minutes where I felt like we never got into a rhythm offensively with what we wanted to do,” McLaughlin said. “I thought Lawrence was rotating their pressure really well. When they extended it out, I felt like we were getting the ball into who we wanted to get it to, but we weren’t getting into our secondary break into the offense.”

Parent had 16 points for Messalonskee. Nadeau led Lawrence with 13.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM


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