Mount View and Belfast Area high schools are separated by about 15 miles, but the longstanding Mustang and Lion athletic rivalry is much closer and that fact was on displayed Thursday night, Jan. 9 as the Waldo County boys basketball teams scratched and clawed for each possession of the ball and on every inch of the court during a competitive midseason battle.

The contest was close in the early going before the host Mustangs slowly found separation and then the Lions made a last-ditch dash to overtake their hosts, to no avail, as Mount View's Nathan Wren and Emmett Shell iced free throws in the final 15 seconds to cement the Mustangs' 46-39 victory.

Click for photos from the game.

Mount View, which has regional playoff aspirations, started the season strongly at 3-0, but has had up-and-down performances in more recent games. On the flip side, Belfast, which has had tremendous turnover in players from last year, continues to search for its first win.

In the Maine Principals' Association Heal Point Standings, Mount View (5-5, 7.5926 points) is 14th and Belfast (0-8, no points) tied for 17th. Oceanside of Rockland/Thomaston (8-1, 33.5802 points) is first in the 19-team region. The top 13 teams qualify for the playoffs.

On Thursday, Mount View led 17-13, 24-17 and 33-25 at the quarter breaks in the low-scoring affair, where each shot and rebound was aggressively contested.

Keying the Lions were Nathan Wren with 20 points; Jack Simpson, nine; Mikey Hustus, six; Emmett Shell and Kenny McGray, both four; Brody Gibbs, two; and Tyler Ripley, one. Wren canned four 3-pointers and netted four free throws.

Additionally, Jack Simpson grabbed eight rebounds and Wren, Hustus and Ripley all four.

For the Lions, Korey Doolan tallied 15 points; Zavier Roman, 12; Eduardo DeSaPinto, six; and Zeke Ventura, Jordan Bickford and Rory Ambrose, all two. Doolan hit two treys.

Doolan finished with seven rebounds, six assists, three steals and two blocked shots in a stellar all-around effort. Ambrose secured seven rebounds.

Roman and Simpson also made shots from behind the 3-point arc.

Mount View finished 13-of-20 (65 percent) from the free-throw line and Belfast 2-of-7 (29 percent).

In the opening eight minutes, Wren hit two 3-pointers and tallied eight points and Jack Simpson added five, including a trey, to key the Mustangs. Doolan drilled two treys and scored seven points and Roman tallied six, including a 3-pointer, to lead Belfast in the first quarter.

However, the Lions were held to only two field goals in the second stanza as the Mustangs built a small edge.

Wren canned another trey in the second quarter to spearhead the hosts' seven-point halftime cushion.

In the close third quarter, when Mount View outscored Belfast 9-8, Wren tallied five points, including making another 3-pointer, and Hustus four. Doolan led the Lions with four points.

In the decisive fourth stanza, Belfast fought back behind six points from Roman, but Mount View netted 9-of-12 free throws (75 percent) in the quarter — including two foul shots each from Shell, Wren, Jack Simpson and McGray — to cement the victory over its Waldo County rival.