CORINTH—The Central Red Devils boys basketball team needed at least one win in their final three games to avoid a class C preliminary round game. The Red Devils got that win in convincing fashion over the Piscataquis community high school (PCHS) Pirates on Saturday afternoon.
Central scored the first seven points of the game and rolled to a 46-32 victory over the Pirates. The Red Devils held a 13-2 lead after the first quarter and they took a 25-8 lead going into the half.
“Coach (Curt Davis) just told us to come out hard, and we came out hard.”Central junior forward Kyle Ham said. “This is really important to us. I think we played really well as a team.”
Tristan French nailed a three pointer early in the second quarter to cut the Pirates deficit to 15-6. Andrew Speed connected on a three pointer to give the Red Devils an 18-6 lead. The lead would not be in single digits the rest of the way.
Central ended the first half on a 10-2 run. The Red Devils 6’5” center Jordn Smith was a force all game for the Red Devils. He set the tone with three block shots in the first half.
“He (Smith) makes people change things when they go to the basket,”Red Devils coach Curt Davis said. “You can see as the game went on, they did not get in near the basket as much, and when they did they usually dished. He brings a different look in the center of that paint every night for us.”
French and Nate Burns connected on three pointers to start the second half to get the Red Devils lead down to 25-14. After a timeout, Central got the ball inside to Smith, who got the lead back up to 13.
Central took their biggest lead of 19 (36-17) when Ham scored five straight points late in the third quarter. French ended the quarter with a three pointer to get the deficit to 36-20 going into the fourth quarter.
The Pirates got it down to 40-30 midway through the fourth quarter behind the shooting of French. Smith and Ham each connected on layups to secure the victory for the Red Devils.
“They (PCHS) are a well coached team and well discipled,”Davis said. “We just played a little bit better tonight, that is all there is to it.”
The Red Devils currently sit in first place in the Maine Principals’ Association class C heal point standings. They have two tough road games left with Lee Academy and George Stevens. No matter what happens in the final two regular season games, they have reached one of their goals of playing a tournament game at the Cross Insurance Center. They are now hoping to finish the season strong to get an even higher seed.
“It is huge, this has been the goal. They have been working on this, not just this year, but a couple of years now. When we started the season, we said that we wanted to get there. Whatever we needed to do to avoid a prelim game. Hopefully we have done that,”Davis said. “This is big for them. We know we have two good teams (Lee and George Stevens) left, we are not looking past them, but we know that we can compete with them. From a confidence standpoint, it is probably as good as we have played all season.”
Smith added, “We win out the season, we could get the number one seed, if we did that it would give us a bigger advantage going into the tournament.”
Ham recorded 15 points, six rebounds, two assists, and two steals for the Red Devils. Smith filled up the stat sheet with 14 points, eight rebounds, five blocks, two assists, and one steal. Speed came off the bench to score eight points and dish out two assists.
Andrew Prescott finished with six points (4-4 FT), three rebounds, three steals, and two assists. Grant Poulin hit a first half three pointer, he also had two rebounds and two steals. Caleb Shaw didn’t score any points, but he did plenty of other things. Shaw recorded four assists, four rebounds, and three steals.
French led the Pirates with 15 points (all on three pointers) and four rebounds. Jeremy Bell added five points, three rebounds, and two steals. Ben Morrill, Nate Burns, and Bryce Gilbert scored four points each. PCHS (14-3) is scheduled to host Penobscot Valley on Monday. The Pirates will need help from others to avoid a class C preliminary round game.