It was not the way either Searsport basketball squad wanted things to go.

After a stretch of road games and a heartbreaking buzzer-beating loss to Dexter by the boys team, the Vikings would have liked to grab at least one win during Thursday’s doubleheader against Penobscot Valley two days before New Year’s Day. As it turned out, the visiting Howlers had the same idea and the visitors grabbed two victories.

Penobscot Valley traveled home after wins in both games as the Howlers defeated the Viking girls 51-27 and the Viking boys 52-39.

The boys game started close with the guests holding a 13-10 lead by the end of the first quarter before the Howlers (5-1) kept their distance, and the edge, throughout the game. At halftime, Penobscot Valley led 27-19 thanks to the play of Joey McCloskey, who scored 12 of the guests’ 14 points in the second stanza.

By the end of the third quarter, Searsport (0-5) trailed 41-29.

Milton Jones and Shane Seekins took charge for the Vikings with 11 points each. Jones also grabbed seven rebounds and Seekins had four rebounds and three assists. Rocky Faunce added six points, 10 rebounds, and two steals; Dillan Moody, five points; Austin Bean, four points; and Adrian “Buddy” Ellis, two points.

McCloskey led the Howlers with a whopping 32 points. Also, Eddie Cabb added nine points; Jacob Jones, seven; and Logan Jipson and Ryan Scapino, two each.

Searsport finished 3-of-9 (33 percent) from the foul line, while Penobscot Valley was 9-of-15 (60 percent).

Searsport (0-5, no points) is 20th (last) in the Maine Principals’ Association Heal Point Standings for Eastern Class C, while Penobscot Valley (5-1, 12.1296 points) is first.

Searsport coach Brad Cook said it was difficult for his Vikings to keep pace with Penobscot Valley. Not only do the Howlers have McCloskey, who is an inside force at 6 feet 6 inches,  but also strong perimeter shooters to support him.

However, the game was competitive in stages. “Our guys played hard,” Cook said. “We had a lot of great possessions and I think this is a good building block for us.”

The coach said that even keeping up with a strong opponent such as the Howlers was a plus for his squad.

“It’s a good building block for us to show that we can play with those teams and, if they are the best team on our schedule, then it shows we should start putting it together,” Cook said.

Cook added that, even though Thursday’s outcome was a loss, the game might give the young Vikings confidence. “We have had some struggles here on the road, but it’s nice to get back home and play.”

Girls game

The girls game had a similar tone. The Vikings (0-6) came out strong but could not hold onto an edge and their grasp on a victory slipped away as the game went on.

The Vikings led 12-11 after the first quarter, but the Howlers (2-5) took a 25-16 advantage by halftime. The guests led 39-22 after three stanzas.

Briana Grant netted 11 points for the Vikings, while Brooke Bagley added six; Shawna Dakin and Jen Allenwood, three each; and Meagan Parker and Kelli Smith, both two.

Reese Leonard keyed the Howlers with 16 points, followed by Molly McGinn with 10. Also Meghon King added eight points; Morgan Bancourt, five; and Kassy Taylor, Kirstin Batchelder, Cydney Keene, Kristi Maclan, Lysdee Libby and Aiel Vanadestine, all two.

Searsport made 11-of-19 free throws (58 percent), while Penobscot Valley was 23-of-37 (62 percent).

The Vikings’ goal was to come out of the gate and play their strongest first quarter yet. Coach Amanda Pullen wanted her team to know it could come out strong in the first quarter and set the tone. Pullen said the hosts did that Thursday.

“We came out and we played a really good first quarter and we kept ourselves in [the game] in the first half,” she said.

However, later in the contest, the coach said the team was hampered by foul trouble and, toward the end, became physically tired. “Once you get tired your [thinking] is the first thing to go,” Pullen said.

Searsport (0-6, no points) is 19th in Eastern Class C, while Penobscot Valley (2-5, 3.9506 points) sits ninth in the 20-team region.

Village NetMedia Sports Reporter Frederick Freudenberger can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail at fritz@villagesoup.com.