Sunday, February 8, 2009

Wolverines Leave National Prep Invitational With One Win, One Loss

Bridgton Academy made the trip down to Kingston, RI and the campus of URI for the annual National Prep Invitational. This year they were matched up against two very formidable opponents and were able to leave the weekend with a split.

In the Wolverines first game of the weekend they squared off with NEPSAC powerhouse St. Mark's. A highly contested first half saw the two teams enter the break deadlocked at 29-29. It was clear both teams were working to their strengths as St. Marks got solid production out of their two bigs (Erik Murphy bound for Florida, and Nate Lubick committed to Georgetown), while Bridgton used their strong guard play (14 first half points from Malik Stith).

The second half saw the Wolverines make an early run and build a small lead which they spent the remainder of the half working to protect, and with some strong defensive and some timely scoring they were able to do just that in earning a 63-54 win.

Malik Stith led the Wolverines with a team high 19 points, Dwayne Smith followed with 17, while Jack Houpt continued his strong play of late reaching double figures with 10.

When asked for his thoughts after the game Head Coach Whit Lesure said, "It was a good non-league game for us against a nationally recognized team with some highly skilled players. We played the game at both ends as consistently as we have all year. I liked our level of activity around the basket...we had a good practice week."

He went on to note that, "The way we began the 2nd half was key for us. Our team confidence was good, and Stith played both ends like the best player on the court. I'm happy his hard work is showing up in games."

The Wolverines once again had little time to enjoy their victory as less then 24 hours later they would take the court once again, this time against Nationally ranked #1 Patterson School.

The opening minutes of the game showed in person what most people might assume from seeing the two teams matched up on paper, Patterson's size in the paint is likely to give the Wolverines some serious trouble.

Bridgton found themselves down by as many as 18 early in the first half but were able to cut it to 10 in the closing minutes of the half before entering half time down by 12, 36-24.

The Wolverines continued to battle as the game stayed within 14 points much of the second half, however were just unable to make that crucial run to cut the lead under 10. Patterson was able to hang on and win their 26th game of the year by a final score of 66-52, Bridgton falls to 18-6.

Dwayne Smith scored a team high 14 points, the lone Wolverine reaching double figures.

Head Coach Whit Lesure had this to say after the game, "Well, overall the game didn't live up to the past hype or expectations and we're responsible. Patterson competed better then we did today. They deserve their #1 ranking. Chris (Chaney) has done a good job with them. I thought at one point I should send him a Thank You card for not burying me on my 50th birthday. He was kind."

When asked where the Wolverines go from here he replied, "We need to regroup and focus our attention on getting a win at Lee Academy for the first time Tuesday."

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