CORINTH, Maine — Wednesday night’s Class B North boys basketball showdown between second-ranked Hermon and third-seeded Central was a midseason matchup waiting to be taken at intermission.

But the visiting Hawks left little doubt about who was in charge after the break, dominating both the backboards and the scoreboard to pull away to a 47-31 victory.

Hermon used a 20-9 rebounding advantage to outscore Central 30-17 during the second half and improve its record to 11-2 while ending the Red Devils’ eight-game winning streak.

“Rebounding is key on the road, and I thought the kids did a really good job that way tonight,” said Hermon coach Mark Reed, whose team won the overall battle of the boards 37-21. “I love this team for how hard they play. The effort is outstanding, and coaching them is so much fun because of how hard they play.”

Freshman Isaac Varney played with the poise of an upperclassman while posting game-high totals of 20 points and 10 rebounds.

The 6-foot-3 forward, who missed three free throws and four of his seven field-goal tries during the first half, connected on all six of his field-goal attempts after intermission, including four during his nine-point third quarter when Hermon outscored Central 20-7 to build a 36-21 advantage.

“That’s what you love about him,” said Reed. “The moment’s really never too big or really never too small for Isaac. He’s pretty tough minded, and it’s a rare thing for a freshman to have a difficult first half shooting and then come out and completely turn the ship around the way he did tonight.”

Keenan Marseille added eight points and seven rebounds for Hermon, and Jordan Bishop and Garrett Trask combined for 11 points — all in the second half — and 12 rebounds. Point guard Cody Hawes dished out six assists.

Caleb Shaw led Central (9-2) with 15 points and seven rebounds, and Dylan Gray added six points and five boards.

“Hermon’s just all around a balanced, disciplined team,” said Central coach Riley Donovan.

Neither club could find the basket with regularity during the first two quarters — the teams shot a combined 11 of 44 from the field during that span — but Hermon came out the more energized of the teams at the outset of the second half.

Trask scored the first two baskets of the third quarter after grabbing offensive rebounds, and Varney followed with another putback for a 6-0 run that gave Hermon a 22-14 lead.

Central’s Andrew Speed scored after making a steal, but Varney converted a three-point play off a half-court pass from Hawes and then tipped the ball away from Gray on defense and scored in transition at the other end to make it 27-16 midway through the period.

By the time Varney fed Hawes for a 3-pointer and then added a right-side jumper to close out the quarter, Hermon’s lead had ballooned to 36-21.

Gray opened the fourth quarter with two layups to pull Central within 36-25, but the Red Devils got no closer.

“I thought we showed some toughness in the second half, especially in the first four minutes of the half,” said Reed. “The kids did a great job of coming out, establishing themselves defensively and rebounding the ball. It wasn’t always pretty, but collectively I thought they did a really nice job in the second half.”

Avatar photo

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...