Houlton's Jadon Gentle (right) reaches for the ball while guarded closely by Ellsworth's Gage Hardy during a Dec. 17 game at Houlton. Ellsworth won 70-35. Credit: Joseph Cyr / Houlton Pioneer Times

Not even a long road trip to Aroostook County the day before can slow the Ellsworth boys basketball team these days.

Less than 24 hours removed from an 81-43 victory at Caribou on Thursday, the undefeated Eagles returned home late Friday afternoon to soar past Presque Isle 68-43 in a Class B North encounter at Katsiaficas Gymnasium.

The win improves coach Peter Austin’s top-ranked Ellsworth club to 14-0 on the season while sixth-seeded Presque Isle, which defeated Mount Desert Island 77-73 at home Thursday, falls to 8-6.

Ellsworth’s combination of senior Hunter Curtis and sophomore Chance Mercier continued their dominance of the division against Presque Isle.

Curtis finished with a game-high 25 points on 11-of-23 shooting from the field to go with 12 rebounds and four assists.

Mercier scored 22 points on 9 of 12 shooting overall and a 4-for-5 effort from beyond the 3-point arc. He added 10 boards as the Eagles were able to generate numerous shots from both offensive rebounding as well as the 22 turnovers Ellsworth’s defense forced from Presque Isle.

Junior guard Malachi Cummings paced Presque Isle offensively with 17 points while Xavier McAtee added eight.

Ellsworth scored six straight points to snap a 2-2 tie in the game’s opening minutes on two fast-break layups by Curtis around a transition layup by Mercier after a Michael Palmer steal.

Curtis finished the first quarter with 10 points as the Eagles built a 19-8 lead, then Mercier delivered a 12-point second quarter as the advantage grew to 39-22 by intermission.

Mercier added two 3-pointers during the third period as Ellsworth never allowed Presque Isle back into the game and took a 53-32 cushion into the game’s final eight minutes.

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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...