Each game, Boothbay boys coach I.J. Pinkham has an opening tap play designed to score an easy basket. And on Feb. 6, the tap play and seemingly everything else worked to perfection as Boothbay rolled over Mountain Valley Conference foe Telstar, 101-30, in the Maine schoolboy basketball season finale.
Seahawk Steve Reny tapped the ball back to Nicholas Morley who passed to a streaking Brett Hollowell who scored the game’s first basket. Boothbay scored 41 more points in the opening quarter storming out to a 43-6 lead. Seahawk captain Reny has been a three-year starter for Boothbay. He was joined in the starting line-up by fellow senior Hollowell who scored 14 points. Boothbay’s scoring deluge slowed down, but the Seahawks still managed to score over 100 points for the second time this season.
With a healthy 37-point lead, Pinkham emptied the bench and all Seahawks played and scored. Reny scored 12 first quarter points and added six more in the third finishing with 18. He was the game’s leading scorer. Other Seahawk scorers were Stephen Bennett with 13, Morley with 11, Hunter Crocker and Ben Pearce with eight, Michael Hollowell with seven, Kaleb Ames, Owen Barter and Sullivan Rice with six, and Quinn Ranta with four.
Boothbay (14-4) finished in fourth place in the Class C South Heal point standings. Boothbay’s next game is at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 18 in the Class C South quarterfinal tournament game. The Seahawks’ opponent will be either No. 5 Traip Academy or No. 12 Buckfield. Those two teams will play a preliminary round game on either Feb. 12 or 13 in Kittery. Boothbay plans on scheduling two exhibition games next week in preparation for the tournament.
It was another double-digit win total for Pinkham, but the season had both its ups and downs. The Seahawks started slowly in the pre-season losing all three contests. But once the games started for real, Boothbay won its first nine games with seven contests being by over 30-point margins. In the next five games, Boothbay played four of the Mountain Valley Conference’s best teams, and recorded a 1-4 mark.
Boothbay’s losses came to the top teams in Class B and C South. Winthrop and Hall-Dale both finished the season with 17-1 records. Winthrop claimed the top spot in the Class C South Heal point standings and defeated Boothbay, 65-61. No. 2 Hall-Dale used a strong fourth quarter surge to beat Boothbay 88-73 at Porter Memorial Gymnasium. Mountain Valley (16-2) finished first in Class B South Heal point standings and Spruce Mountain (14-4) finished third. Mountain Valley beat Boothbay, 62-59, and Spruce Mountain defeated the Seahawks, 62-56.
“We’ve shown we can play with anybody,” Pinkham said. “During the season, we’ve improved defensively and we’ve developed more discipline. We’re not just firing away on offense as our team chemistry has improved. I think the team is going in the right direction.”
Pinkham’s players are also feeling good as the tournament time begins. Last year, the Seahawks upset No. 3 Waynflete in the quarterfinals and held a double-digit fourth quarter lead against No. 2 Winthrop in the semifinals before losing by one point. “I’ve thought about that game a lot,” Reny said. “I think we’re more prepared this season, and I think we’re going to beat Winthrop this year.”
This year’s regular season matchup versus the Ramblers resembled last year’s tournament game. Winthrop fell behind early by double-digits. The Seahawks held a six-point lead with two minutes remaining in the game, only to see it slip away. “It was a strange game. Winthrop played a sloppy game, and we struggled because Steve was in foul trouble, and fouled out in the fourth quarter’s first minute,” Morley said. “Hunter had a really big game for us. It seemed like everything he threw up went in including two or three buzzer beaters ending quarters.”
Crocker believes the Seahawks need to match Winthrop’s intensity after a time-out or intermission. “They are a well-coached team,” he said. “They come out after a time-out fired up and ready to play so we need that type of intensity, too.”
Reny, Crocker and Morely were all starters on last year’s team. They believe another year of playing together makes this flock of Seahawks a tough draw in the tournament. “We are a close group, and all play for each other. There are no individuals as we play as a team. We come to practice prepared, and there’s no off-court drama this year,” Morley said.