ORLANDO, Fla. — The Maine Athletic Club 17-and-under boys basketball team advanced to the classic (consolation) bracket quarterfinals at the AAU 11th-grade national championship tournament Saturday before being eliminated in a 68-57 loss to the Louisville (Ky.) Prospects at the HP Fieldhouse.

Earlier in the day, the Maine squad earned that quarterfinal berth with a 72-46 victory over Team Florida Black at the Jostens Center.

Coach Carl Parker’s club finished its run in Florida with a 10-4 record, an effort highlighted by the team’s silver bracket championship at the AAU Supershowcase that preceded the nationals.

MAC went 4-3 at the national tournament, with its three losses by a combined 17 points.

The eight-player Maine Athletic Club squad has persevered through its share of health concerns during the later stages its lengthy tournament run. While guard Cam Scott of Hampden has returned to action after suffering an ankle injury earlier in the trip, nagging injuries to Houlton’s Kyle Bouchard (thigh bruise), Hampden’s Zach Gilpin (shins) and Mike McDevitt of Greely of Cumberland Center (ankle) have left each playing at less than 100 percent.

Those injuries didn’t matter in Maine Athletic Club’s first game Saturday, as the Maine team scored the final five points of the first quarter to take a 19-14 lead, then extended that run to 11-2 early in the second period when Bouchard fed Andrew Cartwright of Nokomis of Newport for a dunk good for a 25-16 advantage.

Maine Athletic Club maintained a 36-26 halftime lead, then used hustle on the offensive boards by Scott, Bangor’s Xavier Lewis and Andrew Middleton of Edward Little of Auburn to stretch the lead to 47-32 midway through the third quarter.

The Maine squad then outscored the undermanned Florida team 25-14 the rest of the way.

Bouchard led Maine Athletic Club with 18 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, while McDevitt added 18 points and 11 rebounds. Cartwright chipped in with nine points and eight rebounds, while Middleton had seven points and seven rebounds. Gilpin and Lewis also scored seven points apiece, Scott contributed four points, six rebounds and three assists and Falmouth’s Justin Rogers scored two points.

MAC’s tournament run ended later in the day at the hands of a deeper Louisville team, though the Maine squad did hold a 25-19 lead in the second quarter before the Prospects rallied to take a 30-29 halftime edge despite an aggravated shin injury that sidelined Gilpin.

MAC hung close throughout the third quarter before Louisville scored the final four points of the period to extend its lead to 48-42.

Bouchard picked up his fifth foul early in the fourth quarter before two baskets by Lewis rallied MAC to a 57-53 lead, but the Kentucky team scored the game’s final 15 points to advance to the semifinals.

McDevitt led Maine in its final game with 22 points and 12 rebounds, while Lewis had 10 points, five rebounds and four assists. Middleton contributed nine points and nine rebounds, while Scott had six points and six rebounds and Cartwright chipped in with five points and two rebounds.

Bouchard had three points, four rebounds and five assists and Gilpin had two points and an assist before leaving the game.

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Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...