Saturday, March 8, 2014
OAKLAND — Fans expecting a game between two of the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference’s best Class A boys basketball teams got that on Monday night. The problem is, right now Hampden Academy is playing so much better than most of the league, even a strong team like Messalonskee couldn’t stay close to the Broncos.
Hampden led by 12 at the end of the first quarter, and by 22 at the half. The Broncos rolled to an 86-52 win to improve to 6-0. Messalonskee is now 4-2.
“That’s a phenomenal team, and they proved why they’re the best team in our conference tonight,” Messalonskee head coach Peter McLaughlin said. “They religiously make that extra pass. They get into their defense, they get into rotations and they put us in some bad situations, and they capitalized on them.”
The game was close midway through the first quarter when Hampden pulled away with a 17-0 run. Senior Zach Gilpin scored 20 of his game-high 27 points in the first half, including 10 straight to end the first quarter.
“My teammates were just getting me the ball in places where I can score. The coaches were calling plays we know will work,” Gilpin, who also grabbed 15 rebounds, said. “It was a fun game to play in tonight. The atmosphere was great.”
Added McLaughlin: “I thought we started out pretty well against them. We stayed true to a lot of our principles we’ve been doing. Gilpin started to get going. He hit a few contested shots with a hand in his face and they got on a roll.”
The Broncos dominated the boards, outrebounding Messalonskee 41-25. Hampden had 13 offensive rebounds and was able to turn those into second-chance points throughout the game.
“(Messalonskee’s) a bigger team. We understand we need to compete against a bigger team like that and we did that tonight,” Hampden head coach Russ Bartlett said. “When Zach goes to the hoop, a lot of (opponents) are concerned about that, and consequently, a lot of people don’t get checked out. If we’re aggressive going for the ball, there’s a good chance we’ll get it.”
Brandon McIntyre added 20 points for Hampden, while Nick Gilpin scored 13.
Nick Mayo led Messalonskee with 20 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks.Travis Lazarczyk — firstname.lastname@example.orgTwitter: @TLazarczykMTM