Media Archive

Penquis beats MA in thriller 53-51

Article from The Piscataquis Observer, Vol. 165, No. 2, January 08, 2003

By Ben Bragdon
Staff Writer

McKenzie's last-second bucket lifts Patriots to victory

Observer Photo/Ben Bragdon
OVER THE TOP Penquis Patriot Steve Kissell shoots over Mattanawcook's Jon Carney during Friday's 53 -51 Penquis win in Lincoln.

LINCOLN It wasn't pretty. And it certainly wasn't easy.

But it was a win, and with their 53-51 buzzer-beating, coronary-inducing victory Friday on the road over Mattanawcook, the boys from Penquis moved to 8-0 on the year.

Holding tight to a 7- or 8-point lead for much of the game, Penquis looked to cruise through the game's final minutes shooting free throws and playing keep away with the Lynx defense, content to leave town with a relatively untroublesome win on a night the Patriots forgot their best game in Milo.

But a few missed free throws and couple of close calls later and the Patriots found themselves with a game on their hands, and in real danger of suffering their first loss of the season.

Mattanawcook, unable to get any closer than five points in the second half before Penquis would again pull away, finally got their shot with under two minutes to play. After a breakaway lay-up pulled the Lynx to within 51-45, a loose ball found its way into the hands of Mattanawcook guard Dylan Hanscom. The freshman guard was fouled, and made both shots at the line, making it a 4-point game.

The Patriots got the ball back with 1:30 to play, and began to hold the ball from Mattanawcook's trapping defense. Eventually, Dustin Perkins got hacked, and went to the line to shoot two. Perkins, who had hit a number of key shots for Patriots on the night,missed them both. The rebound came to the Lynx, who hurried it downcourt for a 3-point attempt that came nowhere near the hoop. It did, however, fall into the hands of center Tyler Libbey, who put it up and in to put the score at 51-49.

Penquis again moved the ball downcourt against the pressing defense, now with the crowd on both sides on their feet and the individual screams and cheers colliding into a gym-shaking roar, the ball went to Perkins on the right sideline, just over halfcourt. With Lynx hands and arms all over him, Perkins struggled to get free. Eventually, the ball was knocked out of bounds and awarded to Mattanawcook, over the loud protests of Patriot fans, not to mention Penquis Coach Tony Hamlin.

The Lynx worked the ball around, and with 9.5 ticks to go, Jon Camey hit a turnaround inside to knot the score at 51-51.

After a timeout, the ball came in I to senior guard Justin Allen, who drove the lane and put up a short runner. The ball bounced a few times on the rim as everyone in the gym held then" breath and tensed their muscles, then fell just outside the cylinder, where it was tipped by Perkins. That shot hit the far end of the rim before bouncing away from the crowd that had converged under the hoop. As the ball floated through the air, it looked like the game was headed to overtime, but at the last second Penquis center Brandon McKenzie jumped and grabbed the ball and, while falling away, banked a shot in as the buzzer sounded, giving the Patriots the victory.

"A win's a win," said an exasperated Hamlin after the game, glad to get out of the building still undefeated.

Perkins led the way for the Patriots with 21 points, including a number of clutch shots that killed Lynx rallies. The senior forward scored 16 of those points in the first half as Penquis built a 26-17 lead. In one stretch at the end of half Perkins tipped in a missed 3-point attempt, hit a 3-pointer of his own then drew the defense before passing to Colby Chase, who hit a bomb of his own.

Steve Kissell put in 10 points for the 8-0 Patriots, who have won five of those games on the road.

Camey led the Lynx (5-3) with 12 points, while Nathan Cousineau put in 11.

NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.