The Belfast basketball teams served a loud and clear message on Saturday, Dec. 15, one that essentially stated if opponents want to beat the Lions, they should plan to work for it. And work harder than perhaps initially expected.

In fact, if foes are intelligent, they will not look at Belfast's record — 0-3 for the boys and girls — and figure easy victories can had, because the Lions plan to give each team a competitive game with the goal, each day, of course, to step on the court and stun opponents with a victory.

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The host Lions proved that premise on Saturday when they hosted an opponent who needed to travel a great distance from home to play an afternoon court doubleheader.

Presque Isle hit the road for a nearly 200-mile, one-way, three-hour bus trip to the coast and the Wildcats were rewarded as they came away with a couple of victories, ones that took strong performances.

The boys game was especially exciting and close as the Wildcats pulled out a 62-55 victory as the visitors made a few more plays — as well as floor and foul shots — down the stretch.

While the girls game was a bit more lopsided, the pesky Lions still made the Wildcats work for ever inch of the court as the visitors prevailed 67-53 in a high-scoring affair.

Interestingly, a handful of Lions also competed in an indoor track meet at Bowdoin College in Brunswick earlier in the day before they drove home to compete in hard-fought court battles.

Boys basketball

The spirited game, that had a fun, festive atmosphere (with help from the Belfast student fan section and Lion cheering squad) was tight throughout and filled with exciting runs and 3-point baskets from the opponents.

The contest was tied 15-15 after one quarter before Presque Isle gained a 33-30 halftime edge. The Lions took a 48-47 advantage after three quarters.

The opponents combined to sink 13 3-pointers, including a whopping 10 from the hosts.

For Belfast, Jason Bartlett tallied 19 points in a stellar effort, while Andrew Akles and Chris Kelley added 11; Max Lewis, four; Tanner Veilleux and Grady Doolan, three; and Luke Lightner and Dakota Payson, two.

The Lions made all five of their free throws and 10 3-pointers, including four from Bartlett, three from Akles and one from Kelley, Doolan and Veilleux.

Kelley also finished 11 rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots, while Lewis and Payson had four rebounds and Wilder Magruder two steals

For Presque Isle, Jonah Hudson poured in 23 points; Trace Cyr, 12; Carter Rice, 10; Cole Paterson, six; Caleb Wheaton, five; and Jacob Sjoberg, Jason Dumas and Nagoa Morey, two.

The Wildcats netted 15-of-20 free throws (75 percent) and three 3-pointers, including two from Patterson and one from Wheaton.

Presque Isle, which outscored the Lions 15-7 over the final eight minutes, made all six foul shots down the stretch to secure the victory.

Bartlett carried the hosts early with 10 first-quarter points, while Kelley chipped in five to start. From there, the Lions made 15 floor shots, eight of them treys, to stay in contention for the victory.

Belfast looked poised with crisp team-wide passes against the Wildcat match-up zone defense and the squads proved effective, at times, with full- and three-quarter court trapping pressure defenses.

The game was tied 51-51 with five minutes left before Rice hit a shot to put the visitors ahead 53-51. Akles answered at the 4:27-mark to make it 53-53. However, Wheaton's 3-pointer gave Presque Isle a 56-53 edge and, with 3:22 left, he also hit two free throws to make it 58-53.

Belfast rallied to within 58-55 on Kelley's drive and hoop with 48 seconds left, but the Wildcats iced four foul shots in the final seconds to keep the hosts at arm's-length.

In the Maine Principals' Association Heal Point Standings for Class B North, Belfast (0-3, no points) is tied for 14th, while Orono (3-0, 6.9753 points) is first in the 16-team region. The top 11 teams qualify for the playoffs.

Girls basketball

In a game that was fast-paced and hard-fought for 32 minutes, the teams combined for 47 points in the opening quarter, as Presque Isle led 29-18, 49-31 and 58-40 at the stanza breaks.

For the Lions, Lillie Mitchell netted 12 points, Kiara Doolan, nine; Grace Fitzjurls and Madison Farris, eight; Hannah Banks, seven; Junne Robertson-McIntire, four; Payge Shute, three; and Sydni Moores, two.

Belfast netted 3-of-7 shots (43 percent).

Kayci Faulkingham finished with four rebounds, three assists and two steals; Fitzjurls, three steals; Robertson-McIntire, three assists and three steals; Mitchell, four rebounds; Doolan, six caroms; and Farris, five rebounds.

For Presque Isle, unbeaten in two games (and beat Washington Academy of East Machias 69-18 in its first contest), Faith Sjoberg tossed in 20 points; Maggie Castonguay, 16; Madison Michaud, 13; Molly Kingsbury and Madison Jandreau, six; Alana Legassie, four; and Becky Rider, two.

The Wildcats made 8-of-20 foul shots (40 percent) and an eye-opening nine treys, including five from Sjoberg, a freshman who impressed with her shooting range. Jandreau added two treys and Michaud and Castonguay one.

Sjoberg and Michaud got the visitors off on the right foot with 10 and nine points respectively in the first quarter.

In the Maine Principals' Association Heal Point Standings for Class B North, Belfast (0-3, no points) is tied for 11th, while Waterville (3-0, 4.0741 points) is first in the 16-team region. The top 11 teams qualify for the playoffs.