AUGUSTA — They’re big, they’re tough, and they’re finesse — and when they’re moving together in unison like this, the Skowhegan boys basketball team’s three starting bigs can be simply overwhelming.

Collin LePage, Kyle LePage and Adam Savage led the way Saturday as the River Hawks claimed a 68-44 win over Lawrence in the Class A North quarterfinals at the Augusta Civic Center. The 6-foot-5 trio combined for 47 points and 22 rebounds as Skowhegan’s inside presence proved too much for the Bulldogs to handle.

“When we’re playing together as a team like this, I like to think we’re unstoppable,” Savage said. “We’re probably the biggest team in the state, so there’s not much people can do about it. As long as we can stay away from offensive fouls and foul trouble, we’ll be all right.”

Skowhegan outrebounded Lawrence 35-14 in the victory with the LePage brothers controlling the paint and Savage punishing the Bulldogs with three first-half 3-pointers. The win sent the River Hawks to the regional semifinals, where they will face either Nokomis or Messalonskee at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Neither third-ranked Skowhegan (13-6) nor Lawrence could gather any momentum in the first quarter as the two simply kept exchanging baskets. The two teams combined for 11 lead changes — one on every scoring possession — in the opening period as the River Hawks took a 14-13 lead to the second.

After No. 6 Lawrence (8-11) made it lead changes on 12 straight possessions with the first basket of the second quarter, the 13th would put Skowhegan up for good. Savage followed up Collin LePage’s go-ahead layup with his third 3-pointer of the half, spurring an 19-6 run that put the River Hawks up 33-21 at the break.


“Part of it was that we hadn’t played in over a week, and were a little rusty and not doing the things we needed to do defensively,” said Skowhegan head coach Tom Nadeau. “We just had to settle down in that second quarter and refocus on doing those things we had talked about on defense.”

After Kyle LePage answered with a pair of layups following back-to-back Lawrence baskets to begin the second half, the River Hawks got 3-pointers from Quintcey McGray and Adam Fitzgerald late in the third quarter to pull ahead 51-31. The LePage brothers then combined for 10 in the fourth, in which the River Hawks never trailed by fewer than 20.

Collin LePage had 18 points and eight rebounds for Skowhegan, and Kyle LePage added 14 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks. Savage scored 15 points (all in the first half) and added four rebounds. Michael Hamlin and Parker Higgins finished with 11 points each for Lawrence.

In Skowhegan’s previous meeting against Lawrence, a 61-51 loss to the Bulldogs back on Jan. 13, the Bulldogs had outrebounded the River Hawks 23-20. Yet Skowhegan limited Lucas Campbell, who had eight rebounds in that contest, to just one Saturday while Brandon Watson, who had five in last month’s Lawrence win, was limited to two.

“Their two bigs played great against us that last time, and that was something we talked about,” Nadeau said. “Watson and Campbell, those two (combined for) more than 10 rebounds alone in that game. I addressed it and challenged my bigs and said, ‘Listen, it can’t happen tonight,’ and they did a great job.”

Some of Skowhegan’s rebounding struggles in that Jan. 13 loss resulted from Savage, who had picked up two technical fouls in the River Hawks’ previous game against Cony, being unable to play. Although the LePages still did the bulk of the rebounding, Savage’s size and shooting helped the cause as Skowhegan was able to stretch the floor.


Near the end of that game, in which the Bulldogs had pulled away after the River Hawks played the home team tight throughout, Lawrence fans serenaded Skowhegan’s benched big to chants of “A-DAM SA-VAGE.” That moment was definitely on Savage’s mind in this evening’s rematch as he played a big role in sending that same Lawrence squad packing.

“Of course I was thinking about it, especially with it being Lawrence,” said Savage, whose head coach told him to remember that moment as he watched from the bench in Fairfield. “That was definitely something that was on my mind. I had to come out here tonight and make a statement.”

Skowhegan has now won 13 of its past 16 games after starting the season 0-3. Whereas many of those early-season challenges came with a number of key players recovering from a long, grueling football season, the River Hawks are now showing what they’re capable of when fully healthy.

“I think a big part of it has been getting the chemistry back and just buying in to what Coach Nadeau has been telling all year,” Kyle LePage said. “We kept our heads up, and we’ve been listening to him, coming out on the court and performing well.”

The loss marked the third straight regional quarterfinal defeat for Lawrence since winning the 2019 Class A North championship. The Bulldogs ended the season on an eight-game losing streak after an 8-3 start.

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