DEXTER – With a height advantage, players that can score inside and outside and four starters back from last season’s Eastern Maine Class C championship squad, the Penquis boys basketball team probably should have had a big lead on Dexter in the second quarter of Tuesday night’s matchup.
Instead, the Patriots of Milo were struggling, having let the Tigers tie the game four times. So with six minutes left in the first half, Penquis coach Tony Hamlin called a timeout. And the Patriots responded.
Matt Pokrywka scored 11 of his team-high 17 points in the second quarter as Penquis held off a pesky Dexter team for a 61-49 victory at Guiski Gym.
The Patriots are now 4-1, while the Tigers fall to 4-2.
With the game tied for the fourth time and 4:48 left in the first half, Hamlin called for a break. What he told the Patriots made all the difference.
“We were kinda rushing our offense, not really taking good shots,” Pokrywka said. “He told us to set good screens and run our motion offense and we got some good shots out of that.”
Hamlin put it a little differently. But whatever he said, it worked.
“Coming off the timeout when I barked at them and made them get inside with the basketball, Pokrywka and [Jeremy] Allen were pretty tough inside,” he said. “We were coming off a three-day break and we didn’t really execute offensively at first. Once we put the ball inside they caused some problems.”
With Hamlin’s directions fresh in their minds and a switch in defense near the end of the second quarter, the Patriots went on a 13-2 run powered by seven points from Pokrywka. A Ben Knapp jumper made it 31-20, although Dexter freshman Travis Patterson knocked down a 3-pointer with one second left in the half for a 31-23 Penquis lead.
The defensive switch? Penquis started out in a zone defense but once Dexter’s outside shooters – brothers Brent and Travis Patterson, in particular -started hitting their shots, the Patriots switched to man-to-man.
“Man-to-man is our best defense and when we go to that we don’t really lose that much,” Hamlin said. “When we went man in the second quarter, that’s when we started to pull away. We hit the glass pretty hard, and Dexter was outmanned inside. They had some real good perimeter players but the difference in our game was our inside players.”
The Tigers got within four points after a back-and-forth third quarter. Pokrywka got his fourth foul with 1:43 left in the quarter but Dexter wasn’t able to take advantage of his absence. The Patriots made 12 of 14 free-throw attempts in the fourth quarter to ice the game.
But Brent Patterson wasn’t done even if Penquis put the game out of reach. The senior point guard finished with a game-high 21 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter. He scored six of the Tigers’ final seven baskets (the other score was a long jumper from Travis Patterson).
Brent Patterson went 10-for-15 from the floor but the rest of the Dexter squad struggled to finish baskets, especially with Pokrywka and Allen clogging up the inside.
“I wasn’t disappointed with our effort, but sometimes it comes down to having shots,” Dexter coach Peter Murray said. “You have to make the shots in order to stay with it… They’re a good team, and we can’t have one guy on and three guys off. But a lot of that is attributable to their defense.”
The Patriots struggled from the floor as well, going 22-for-52. But free-throw shooting made the difference – 15 of 19.
Allen scored 13 points and Mike Weston added 11 for Penquis.
Mark Cooper chipped in with 11 points for Dexter.
Patriots 61, Tigers 49
Penquis (4-1) Dexter (4-2)
Name G AG F AF TP Name G AG F AF TP
Knapp 2 6 4 4 8 B. Patterson 10 15 0 0 21
Vigue 0 1 0 0 0 T. Patterson 2 2 0 0 5
Webb 1 5 4 6 6 Cooper 5 13 4 5 14
Weston 5 9 0 2 11 Robinson 2 10 0 3 4
Ellis 3 5 0 0 6 Clukey 0 2 3 4 3
Allen 4 7 5 5 13 Foster 1 1 0 0 2
Heal 0 1 0 0 0 Crispell 0 0 0 0 0
Pokrywka 7 18 2 2 17
Totals 22 52 15 19 61 Totals 20 43 7 12 49
Penquis 14 31 39 61
Dexter 14 23 33 49
3-pt. goals: Penquis (2-8): Pokrywka 1-3, Weston 1-3, Webb 0-1, Allen 0-1; Dexter (2-4): B. Patterson 1-2, T. Patterson 1-1, Robinson 0-1
Attendance: 300 (est.)
Preliminary: Penquis 47-37