Basketball is a game of momentum. One pass, bucket or steal can mean the difference between a win or loss, and it can only take a second, or a minute to happen.

For the majority of the Tuesday night, Jan. 19 contest between Belfast and Medomak Valley, momentum was difficult to come by, as the foes traded buckets and played hard-nosed, scrappy defense throughout the first half of the high school boys basketball contest.

It was not until halfway through the third quarter when momentum chose a side, but only for a brief one minute and 18 seconds, which favored Medomak Valley.

The Panthers (2-0, including a win over Oceanside of Rockland) used a 12-3 run to push a slim four-point advantage to 13 points, which proved enough to hold off Belfast (0-2, including loss to Oceanside) down the stretch for a 63-53 victory.

See nearly 50 photos below.

Watch second half below, and click here for livestream.

"We knew coming up here would be a tough place to play," said Medomak Valley coach Nick DePatsy. "They've got nine seniors, they are a veteran team, they're good and they play very hard. We knew they would come ready to play and we just had to match their intensity."

"I'm proud of the guys for the overall intensity from start to finish," said Belfast coach Marty Messer. "We were playing one of the best teams in Eastern Maine and loaded with talent. I was happy with our defense, and our guys stayed with our game strategy. Towards the end I think we started to foul too much, and give [Medomak Valley] too many open looks."

Medomak Valley led 17-15 after one quarter, 31-25 at halftime and 47-40 after three stanzas.

Trevor Brown led the Panthers, and all scorers, with 22 points, as Patrick McKenney added 18; Parker Morrison, 10; Jacob Craig and Jake Bickmore, four; Brandon Starr and Aiden Starr, two; and Finn Parmley, one. McKenney netted three treys, while Morrison hit two.

Chris Kelley keyed the hosts with 19 points, while Jason Bartlett added 16; Tanner Veilleux and LaDerrick Roberts, six; Tommy Walker, four; and Cole Martin, two. Kelley hit all three 3-pointers for the Lions.

The Panthers were 7-of-11 (63 percent) from the charity stripe, while Belfast was 6-of-8 (75 percent).

With just over four minutes to play in the third quarter, the Panthers started their run when Morrison found Brown in the corner. Brown drove into the lane, pulled up, but passed up the shot, and dumped the ball to Craig for an easy layup.

On Medomak Valley's next possession, Morrison found cutting Brandon Starr for another layup, as the Panther advantage grew to 37-29.

Kelley put a quick brake on the Panther momentum with a 3-pointer from the wing over the outstretched hand of Brandon Starr, to cut Medomak Valley's edge to five into a timeout.

After the brief stoppage, McKenney hit a spot-up trey from the top of the key, which pushed the Panther lead to eight.

After three missed field goals between the teams — two from the hosts and one from the visitors — McKenney hit a deep three from the wing as the Panther lead swelled to double-digits.

After another Belfast miss, Morrison connected on a pull-up jumper from the left elbow to push the advantage to 45-32.

Walker forced a Medomak Valley turnover in the paint, and scored on an offensive put-back to stop the bleeding.

"McKenney did the same thing the other night against Oceanside, hitting two threes that broke [the lead] to double-digits," said DePatsy. "He's talented enough and capable enough to do that, and he did the same thing here tonight too."

"We were so much into it in the first half, the reserve players were loud, we were jumping up and high-fiving, and played with a lot of emotion," said Messer. "[Medomak Valley] had one run against us there where I had to burn a timeout and it really took the wind out of our sails. It took us a little while to get back into the flow of the game, and start playing the way we wanted too, and, unfortunately, we were already down by eight, but [our guys] never gave up and fought until the end."

The Lions regained some of the lost momentum as Bartlett hit a turnaround shot in the paint, and after a Bickmore bucket on the other end, Bartlett again hit the same shot to cut the Panther lead to nine.

With nine seconds to play in the quarter, McKenney's three hit the back of the iron, was rebounded by Drew Abalon. Abalon found Veilleux, who scooped the ball up and off the glass and in as the horn sounded.

Belfast moved within five points when Bartlett hit the first bucket of the fourth quarter along the baseline, which bounced around the rim before falling through.

That is as close as the hosts got, as a three-minute scoreless drought ran enough time off the clock, along with Medomak Valley's made free throws down the stretch.

"We defended well at times, and I was pleased with the way we rebounded, because last year, even though we had a good year and were very successful, I didn't think we were a good rebounding team, but this year I think we are much better at rebounding," said DePatsy.