Perhaps this is the season both the Belfast boys and girls basketball squads make a strong, sustain run at the Eastern Class B tournament at the Bangor Auditorium.

Those are the vibrations one is feeling early in the season as both Lion squads have started the campaign 2-1, and continue to play competitively with all opponents.

On Friday, Dec. 15, the Lions swept Waterville, with the BAHS girls cruising by the host Purple Panthers 44-24, while the host Lion boys pulled out a thrilling, down-to-the-wire 65-65 victory.

Boys game

At Belfast, Ryan Rice scored a career-high 29 points, including 12 of the final 13 Belfast netted. He sank a pair of 3-pointers to tie the game at 55 and 58 in the fourth stanza. In fact, his two free throws with 8.8 seconds to play was the only lead Belfast had in the second half.

Levi Lapham added 14 points and Stephan Paul 10 for the hosts, while Yanni Rakis added six; Carl Dodge and Mike Reynolds, both two; and Kaleb Benjamin and Korey Doolan, both one.

The hard-fought affair included 11 ties and five lead changes.

Waterville was led by Chris Hale with 21 point and Jordan DeRosby with 20. Hale missed a pair of free throws with 1.3 seconds remaining which could have tied the game or given the visitors the lead.

Also scoring for the Purple Panthers were John Porter-Michaud and Brian Bellows each with six points; while Josh Gormley added four; Owen Brown, three; Jake Guthro, two; and Justin Jabar and Corey Huerforro, both one.

Waterville jumped ahead 14-4, but Belfast closed to 16-11 after one quarter. Belfast led 25-21 in the second stanza, but the half ended 29-29. Waterville led 44-39 after three stanzas. The game also was knotted at 60, 62, 63 and 64

Both teams finished with 18 turnovers and 30 rebounds. The Lions made 3-of-11 free throws (27 percent) and Waterville 3-of-12 (25 percent).

There were 76 free throws shot between the teams in the game.

Girls game

At Waterville, Belfast made quick work of the winless Purple Panthers, behind rock solid performances from a number of players, highlighted by Lexi Nelligan's 21-point, 5-steal, 3-rebound, 2-blocked shot, assist effort.

Also guiding the Lions were Katrina Lapham (7 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals), Courtney Drinkwater (7 points, 2 rebounds, 2 steals, assist, block), Ashley Littlefield (6 points, 5 rebounds), Mariah Sturgis (3 points, 2 rebounds, steal, block) and McKenzie Thibodeau (7 rebounds).

For Waterville, Colleen O'Donnell tallied 12 points and Jenna Gagnon 10.

Belfast proved solid from the free-throw line, netting 18-of-25 foul shots (72 percent), while Waterville sank 9-of-17 (53 percent).

Courier Publications sports staff can be reached by phone at 207-594-4401 or by email at sports@courierpublicationsllc.com.