There was no advancement in the playoffs or even a postseason berth for the winner. However, despite those scenarios, it was not just another game Thursday night as the Mount View and Belfast boys basketball teams battled in their “playoff” — with all-important Waldo County bragging rights on the line.

Neither the Mustangs nor Lions will qualify for the upcoming Eastern Class B tournament, but that did not stop the two squads from fighting tooth-and-nail for 32 thrilling minutes in the regular-season finale for both clubs.

When the final buzzer had sounded ending the heavyweight court fight, it was the visiting Mustangs who had earned a 67-56 win.

The game was payback, of sorts, for Mount View, which lost to visiting Belfast 54-53 Dec. 23 in Thorndike on a buzzer-beating 3-point shot. It was the Lions’ lone win of the campaign.

A packed gymnasium and an electric atmosphere, which included many female students from both schools showing their support by wearing colorful t-shirts that spelled out messages to the players, greeted the student-athletes Thursday night.

That seemed to help as the Mustangs and Lions laid it all on the line in an effort to pull out a win in the season finale. Every shot and rebound was contested and each loose ball fought for.

Belfast led 16-14, 31-30 and 41-39 at the quarter breaks.

Bobby Porter keyed the Mustangs with 22 points, including connecting on four 3-point shots. Colby Blanchard followed with 14 points, while Taylor Reynolds and Erick Nealley both had eight points; Zach Mehuren, seven; Jalen Babin, four; and Craig Nealley and Chris Akers, two each.

Brad Reed led Belfast with 17 points, including three 3-point shots. Also, Dylan Webster had 12 points; Jamie Jackson, eight; Lew Dyer and Adam Heroux, seven each; Eric Mitchell, three; and Mike Perry, two.

Mount View netted 8-of-17 free throws (47 percent) and Belfast 7-of-13 (54 percent).

Mount View (5-13, 18.3642 points) is 14th and Belfast (1-17, 5.4012 points) 19th (last) in the Maine Principals’ Association Heal Point Standings for Eastern Class B. Camden Hills (18-0, 156.6358 points) is first. The top 10 teams qualify for the playoffs.

“It was a great game, it really was,” said Mustang coach Steve Caron. “We looked to push the basketball, which we have tried to do all season.”

Caron said the contest was evenly-matched, “but in the fourth quarter, I think they got a little tired and they made some turnovers down the stretch.”

The coach said the Mustangs scored a bundle of late points off steals. He said his squad was in most games against strong opponents this season and even led against several playoff-bound foes. “We struggled with a 32-minute contest.” he said, adding, “I thought that, for the most part, we played 32 minutes” against Belfast.

The game was close throughout with both rivals making runs to get back into the game.

“It was a well-played game,” Caron said. “Had we lost I would have said the same thing.”

Caron said Belfast and Mount View court battles always are fun and hard-fought. “Belfast and Mount View is always a big game for both teams and they are always really up for those challenges,” he said.

The coach said it was nice to avenge the earlier deflating loss to the Lions and “nice too to end the season on a positive note.”

Belfast coach Scott Benzie agreed with Caron’s assessment “It was a fun game. A fun game to watch, it really was.”

He added, “We played aggressively. They did very well on the offensive and defensive boards. It was a good way to end, but I think it was one of the better games we played this year, for sure.”

Benzie said the long-standing rivalry is what increases the intensity. “They always have been traditionally a good basketball school. They are very competitive, Steve Caron does a nice job with them. The kids always play hard. It’s always going to be a physical contest when you play them. You know you can throw records out the window when rivals play each other … Every time we get together its’ going to be a battle.”

Benzie said, regardless of both teams’ records, when they meet, a win or loss is never assumed. “That’s the nature of rivalry,” he said.

Benzie said despite the Lions being able to collect only one win in 18 games, he was proud of the players’ effort this season. “The wins and losses [are] very tough. It’s hard to keep getting up for every game, but the kids did that. [They] came and played. They showed up to practices and they worked as hard as they could and I can’t say anything more than that. You can’t ask anything more from a team that they come out and play everyday. I’m happy with the way they do that.”

He said the jayvee and freshmen teams did the same thing “and eventually that’s going to make the difference. They have to continue doing that through the spring and the summer when kids go out and play and work on the game because, I’ll tell you what, basketball is the toughest sport to play, apart from hitting a baseball.”

“The skills you need to play basketball are harder than any other sport because you have to play both ends of the floor and there is a ball involved. Then there are four other players you have to play with.”

Caron said he knows the Mustangs can improve on their win total next year. Two years ago the team won five games and followed that with a 16-2 season in 2009-10. “I’m not going to say that we are going to do that, but my kids never gave up all season long even though we only won just five games. We were in most of the games. There were only a couple games we were out of quickly.

“For the most part we battled all season long and I am proud of my guys. The fact that you can go 5-13 and not give up at any point in the season and show up and work hard not only in practice but also in games, I’m very pleased and very proud to have had these kids again this year and I look forward to next year.”

Mount View graduates Blanchard, Mehuren and Erick Nealley, while Belfast graduates Heroux, Ben Knowlton, Mitchell, Mike Perry, Reed, Webster and Dyer.

VillageSoup sports staff can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail at sports@villagesoup.com.