The Star-Herald

Presque Isle boys soar past Houlton

HOULTON, Maine – A dominating effort on the offensive and defensive glass proved to be the difference in Wednesday night’s battle between the Presque Isle and Houlton boys basketball teams.

The Wildcats used their superior size to dominate the rebounding, resulting in numerous second and third scoring chances, en route to a 54-24 victory over Houlton. Houlton played without the services of its leading player – Isaiah Ervin – who has a foot injury.

“We were a little undersized on the glass tonight without Isaiah,” Houlton coach Travis Gentle said. “The boys certainly worked hard, but we were a little overmatched.”

Presque Isle (4-5) received a strong scoring effort from Malachi Cummings, whose 21 points led all players on the night. Jack Hallett added seven points, while Jack Buck and Wyatt Young both had six points.

For Houlton (2-5), Thadon Gentle tallied 10 points, while Bronson Hanning added seven. 

Houlton started the game hot, taking a quick 5-0 lead on a basket from Hanning and a 3-pointer by Gentle. The Wildcats did not get on the scoreboard until midway through the first quarter when Cummings hit a six-foot jumper with 4:12 to play.

The Shires clung to a 10-9 lead at the end of the first quarter, but Presque Isle came out with renewed vigor in the second quarter, taking the lead with 5:54 to play on an offensive putback by Hallett. 

The Wildcats never trailed again. By halftime Presque Isle was on top 22-15 and that lead grew to 36-23 by the end of the third quarter. Cummings gave the exclamation point on the night with a thunderous dunk midway through the fourth quarter.

“We were in it for much of the first half,” coach Gentle said. “We had some really good looks in the second half, but the ball just didn’t go in. You learn a lot more from losing than you do with winning. What we learned tonight is that we have other guys who can contribute, so that is a positive.”

An inability to convert from the free throw line also hurt the Shires chances. Houlton converted just four of 14 foul shots (29 percent). The Wildcats made two of four free throws (50 percent).

HOULTON, Maine — January 11, 2023 — Lunging for the ball are Presque Isle’s Eli Mosher (left) and Houlton’s Cody Johnston during Wednesday night’s boys basketball game. Presque Isle won 54-24.  (Joseph Cyr| Houlton Pioneer Times)

HOULTON, Maine — January 11, 2023 — Focused on the rim is Presque Isle’s Jack Buck as Houlton’s  Bronson Hanning defends during Wednesday night’s boys basketball game in Houlton. Presque Isle won 54-24.  (Joseph Cyr| Houlton Pioneer Times)

HOULTON, Maine — January 11, 2023 — Putting up a one-handed shot is Houlton’s Cody Johnston as Presque Isle’s Brent Greenlaw defends during Wednesday night’s boys basketball game in Houlton. Presque Isle won 54-24.  (Joseph Cyr| Houlton Pioneer Times)

HOULTON, Maine — January 11, 2023 — Houlton’s Bronson Hanning (right) posts up for shot while guarded by Presque Isle’s Jack Buck during Wednesday night’s boys basketball game. Presque Isle won 54-24.  (Joseph Cyr| Houlton Pioneer Times)

HOULTON, Maine — January 11, 2023 — Houlton’s Adrian Norton (left) looks for a passing lane while guarded closely by Presque Isle’s Dawson Beaulieu during Wednesday night’s boys basketball game. Presque Isle won 54-24.  (Joseph Cyr| Houlton Pioneer Times)

HOULTON, Maine — January 11, 2023 — Soaring to the basket is Houlton’s Thadon Gentle (center) splitting between Presque Isle defenders Brent Greenlaw (left) and Dawson Beaulieu.  (Joseph Cyr| Houlton Pioneer Times)

HOULTON, Maine — January 11, 2023 — Soaring to the basket is Houlton’s Thadon Gentle (center) splitting between Presque Isle defenders Brent Greenlaw (left) and Dawson Beaulieu.  (Joseph Cyr| Houlton Pioneer Times)

HOULTON, Maine — January 11, 2023 — Searching for an open teammate is Presque Isle’s Dawson Beaulieu while guarded by Houlton’s Adrian Norton during Wednesday’s boys basketball game. Presque Isle won 54-24. (Joseph Cyr| Houlton Pioneer Times)

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