SKOWHEGAN — There are eight minutes to play, and the Messalonskee boys basketball team trails Skowhegan by eight points Tuesday night.

That’s not even the Eagles largest deficit. A few minutes prior, late in the third quarter, Levi Obert drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the key to give Skowhegan a 10-point lead. Three weeks ago, Skowhegan eked out a 53-49 win at Messalonskee, and it looks like Skowhegan is on its way to a season sweep of the Eagles.

There is 5:28 left to play, and Messalonskee trails Skowhegan by three points. The Eagles are chipping away at Skowhegan’s lead like a sculptor carves stone. Unlike a sculptor, the Eagles have little to show for it. They’ve done this before. Twice in the third quarter, Messalonskee cut Skowhegan’s seven-point halftime lead to three, but each time Skowhegan answered and extended its cushion.

This time, though, Tucker Charles got a three. Most night the Eagles are solid from deep, but not tonight. Charles’ shot is Messalonskee’s first made 3-pointer of the game. Maybe it’s a sign.

Chase Carey makes an old-fashioned three-point play for Skowhegan, and the lead is back to six points with just under five minutes to play.

Mason Violette, makes a layup to cut Skowhegan’s lead to two, but missed the foul shot that would cut it to one. Forty-seven seconds later, with 3:20 left, Adam Savage makes a pair of foul shots to push Skowhegan’s lead back to four, 45-41, and it feels like this is one Messalonskee is going to stew over on the drive home, replaying missed opportunities on the mind’s DVR.

There is 3:08 left to play, and Matt Parent’s three-point play pulls the Eagles to within a point, 45-44. Messalonskee hasn’t been this close since it trailed by one late in the first.

Fifty-six seconds later, after another fruitless possession by Skowhegan, Parent hits a jumper to give Messalonskee its first lead since a 6-5 lead midway through the first quarter.

There is 1:42 left, and now it’s Skowhegan playing catch-up. Jimmy Reed makes two free throws to cut a Messalonskee lead to one, 48-47.

After struggling to score for three quarters, tallying 29 points over the first 24 minutes, Messalonskee’s groove is Skowhegan’s rut. The Eagles score 27 points over the final eight minutes and nearly double their score.

The Eagles are a perfect 6 for 6 in the final minute from the line. It’s a 56-47 win. A 17-point swing in eight minutes.

“We finally got it together,” Messalonskee coach Jay Dangler says.

There is no time left on the clock, and Messalonskee leads Skowhegan by nine points.

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