High school boys basketball

Third-quarter surge aids Mariners in triumph over gritty Lions

Norton's dominant 27-point, 19-rebound, 8-assist effort keys Oceanside
By Mark Haskell | Dec 30, 2017
Photo by: Mark Haskell Oceanside's Jack Lombardo, right, drives to the hoop against Belfast's Dakoda Doolan, left, during a Dec. 29 high school boys basketball game. The visiting Mariners beat the Lions 73-57.

Belfast — Oceanside senior Michael Norton Jr. likely got many things he wanted for Christmas over holiday break — along with plenty of stocking stuffers.

Well, as it turns out, the 6-foot 2-inch forward also proved more than capable of stuffing a stat sheet as well, as he did during the Mariners' 73-57 high school boys basketball road victory over scrappy Belfast on Friday night, Dec. 29.

Norton poured in a game-high 27 points and ripped down a whopping 19 rebounds — five of which were of the offensive variety — to go along with eight assists, two steals and two blocked shots in an absolutely dominating performance for visiting Oceanside.

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Norton amassed 23 of those points in the second and third quarters and helped spark a 22-5 third-quarter run to help the Mariners pull away in a game that saw the host Lions trail early, but claw back in the second quarter.

Oceanside led 15-11 after the first quarter and 39-37 at halftime before it grasped a 61-44 advantage after three quarters.

It was Oceanside's second game in as many days after it netted a 70-67 road win on Thursday, Dec. 28 over Maranacook in Readfield.

Against Belfast, Cooper Wirkala chipped in with a 14-point effort for the Mariners, while Trevor Reed added 11; Josh Peaco, 10; Jack Lombardo, six; Amos Anderson, three; Leo Reid, two; and Jack Freeman, one.

Stanley Sturgis led the Lions with 21 points, while Luke Lightner added eight; Chris Kelley, seven; Dakoda Doolan, Jason Bartlett and Tyler Bartlett, six; and Aaron Fuller, three.

Oceanside was 12-of-16 (75 percent) from the free-throw line, while Belfast was 6-of-13 (46 percent).

The game looked as if it would get out of control in the early going as the visitors took a commanding 14-2 advantage, thanks, largely, to a three-point play by Reed to start the game — one of his two in the stanza — along with a pair of hoops for Wirkala and Peaco.

But Wirkala hit the bench with two fouls with 3:28 to play in the stanza and Belfast took advantage with Oceanside’s 6-foot 5-inch guard on the bench.

The Lions scored the next seven points and ended the quarter on a 9-1 run — off two hoops from Lightner, one from Kelly and Sturgis and a free throw from Jason Bartlett — as the hosts clawed back into the contest.

While Wirkala reentered the game in the second stanza, it was Norton who took over the game with a bevy of offensive putbacks and strong takes to the basket, scoring 13 of Oceanside’s 24 second-quarter points.

The Lions — who did not lead in the game — did battle to tie late in the stanza with a strong take by Tyler Bartlett with 48.9 seconds to go, but it was short-lived when a teardrop layup by Lombardo found its mark, which gave the Mariners a two-point halftime cushion.

Peaco started the third stanza with a short jumper and, on Belfast’s next possession, Norton made a steal and threw down an emphatic slam dunk — and received a technical foul for hanging on the rim.

After Sturgis canned both foul shots, Oceanside held a 43-39 edge.

From that point, the Mariners went on an 18-5 run — including the final 12 points of the stanza — to take a 17-point lead.

After a Sturgis 3-pointer made the score 49-44, Oceanside got a floater from Lombardo, back-to-back fast-break hoops from Norton (including a 3-point play), basket on the block from Reid and trey from Anderson just before the horn.

Belfast got no closer than 11 points the rest of the way, which they did when Doolan netted a trey for the Lions with 3:06 to play in the contest.

In the Maine Principals’ Association Heal Point Standings for Class B North, Oceanside (4-1, 11.4198 points) is fourth, while Belfast (2-4, 4.0741 points) is 10th. Mount Desert Island (5-1, 16.3580 points) is first in the 16-team region. The top 11 teams qualify for the playoffs.

Oceanside at Belfast boys basketball
Belfast hosts Oceanside on Dec. 29 in high school boys basketball. (Video by: Zack Miller)
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Staff Profile

Mark Haskell
Associate Sports Director
594-4401, ext. 116
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Mark has been covering local sports throughout Knox, Waldo and part of Lincoln county since 2007. Haskell has a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication from the University of Maine and is also a 2000 graduate of Rockland District High School. He has won multiple Maine Press Association awards for writing and photography.

Mark loves iced coffee, cargo shorts, spending time with friends and family and suffers no longer after his beloved Philadelphia Eagles beat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII.

He resides in Thomaston with his wife Jenn, his sons Beckett and Austin and daughter Lila.

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