Blue Blazes brand Rams with a searing W

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Westbrook stole a quick lead against Gorham on strong offense by Aquoi Alexander, Moses Abwach and Demetrious Hoskins Friday night, Jan. 10, forcing the Rams to play catch-up all game. Their efforts fell short, however, and the Blue Blazes took the triumph, 52-40.

The homecourt win is big for Westbrook, who’ve struggled so far this season. It moves the Blue Blazes to 3-8 on the year, though they remain, for now, outside the playoff positions. Gorham slips to 4-6, and are ranked 11th in A West.

“It’s a very competitive league,” Westbrook head coach Michael Burke noted. “And every time you get a chance to play at home, you want to do as best as you can. It’s nice to get a win, especially in a game against one of your quad teams.”

The baskets needed a couple minutes to start falling, but when they did, they fell mostly in Westbrook’s favor. Alexander opened the scoring with a three, and combined with Hoskins to put the Blue Blazes on top 9-3 after one quarter.

“We had to get things back on track,” Burke said. “We pick up a win against Windham, then don’t play very well in two back-to-back games – granted, Portland’s very good, Noble’s very good. That was sort of a situation, tonight, where we had to play well.”

Gorham’s Nick Thibeault dropped a three while drawing a foul – an extra point he successfully added – to open the second quarter in promising fashion for the Rams. Alexander, Abwach and Hoskins assembled an eight-point run in answer, however, maintaining the Blazes’ momentum. Going into the half, Westbrook stood on top, 23-17.

“Coach [Mark Karter, of Gorham] plays his matchup,” Burke said, “and we had to create an offense to play against it. Anytime you get an odd-man front, you want to offset it with an even-man front.”

Free throws by Nick Greatorex and Corey Nadeau and a two by Sam Kilborn helped the Rams keep pace with the Blazes for the first half of the third, but an 11-0 run – including a great steal-for-two by Alexander and buckets by Derek Breunig and Isaiah Manoogian – put Westbrook ahead by 17 going into the fourth.

The Rams had a lot of ground to gain if they hoped to pull out a W. And they did gain ground, outscoring the Blue Blazes 16-13 in those final eight minutes. But closing the gap by three still left Gorham trailing 52-40 at the final buzzer, and Westbrook walked away victorious.

Alexander added 20 for the Blue Blazes, while Hoskins knocked down 15, Abwach eight and Breunig seven. On the other side, both 6-foot-6 Thibeault and 6-foot-5 Kilborn tallied 12 for Gorham; Billy Ruby and Nadeau contributed six a piece.

“It’s always nice to get a win, right?” Burke said. “We’ve got to go on the road here for six of the last seven, so it’s not going to be an easy stretch.”

Westbrook’s Chris Connolly and Gorham’s Sam Kilborn fight for the opening jump-ball Friday.Westbrook’s Moses Abwach hurls a pass forward. Abwach helped lead the Blue Blazes to victory over the Rams Friday night.Corey Nadeau of Gorham faces off against Westbrook sophomore guard Curtis Knapton.Gorham’s Cody Elliot pushes inside on the attack against Westbrook. Gorham fell to the Blue Blazes 52-40.Sam Kilborn of Gorham lays the ball up Friday night.Westbrook’s Curtis Knapton dribbles, putting his body between the ball and a Gorham defender.The Blue Blazes’ Aquoi Alexander looks to pass past Gorham defender Corey Nadeau.

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