Zach McLaughlin of Hampden Academy goes up for a layup while Messalonskee's Merrick Smith tries to block the shot on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023, in Hampden. (Adam Robinson | BDN)

The Hampden Academy Broncos got offensive boosts from their high-scoring guard and a facilitator returning from injury on Saturday en route to a 71-57 victory over Messalonskee at home.

Junior Zach McLaughlin scored 16 of his 32 points in the first quarter from all three levels. The guard was able to get to the hoop, hit the pull-up mid-range jumper and also hit a 3-pointer all in the first quarter as Hampden jumped out to a 23-17 lead after the first frame.

After missing two games, Hampden point guard Brandon Butterfield was in his second game back from an ankle injury and was running the offense to the tune of 15 assists.

“That’s his job and he does a really good job of it,” Hampden coach Russ Bartlett said of Butterfield. “He knows his job is pass-first and to get us into our offense. He understands everyone’s job and that’s the sign of a good point guard. He’s a good leader.”

Hampden’s JJ Wolfington got in quick foul trouble to start the game, so Butterfield found McLaughlin and Landen Garbic early and often. Garbic scored seven of his 20 points in the first quarter. The 6-foot-4 senior wing also blocked two shots in the game.

“He does a little bit of everything,” Bartlett said of Garbic.

Messalonskee out-scored Hampden 11-10 in the second quarter and went into the half trailing 34-28. Merrick Smith scored six points in the second quarter for the Eagles.

McLaughlin sank a jumper at the halftime buzzer and then hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to end the third quarter and turned to the Hampden crowd with his arms wide as the cheers erupted. After three quarters, the Broncos had a 57-43 lead after a 23-point quarter. Wolfington scored seven in the period, while Gabric scored six and McLaughlin five.

The number of offensive options Hampden has is a huge advantage for Butterfield.

“It makes my job so much easier,” Butterfield said. “If someone is covered, another guy will get open and we’ll get shots. They make my job so easy.”

Messalonskee struggled to get consistent offense on Saturday. Hampden didn’t let the Eagles get on a significant offensive run and offensively kept the Broncos at bay.

Garbic was put on Smith in the second half and held him to just two points.

“I thought Landen was really steady and he had to guard Merrick in the second half because of foul trouble and I thought he did a great job,” Bartlett said.

McLaughlin added eight more points in the fourth as Hampden glided into its second win in a row, moving the team’s record to 5-5.

Hampden’s next game is on Friday, Jan. 13 at Cheverus, while Messalonskee’s loss drops the Eagles to 1-7.

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Adam Robinson

Adam Robinson is a native of Auburn, Maine, and graduate of Husson University and Edward Little High School. He enjoys sports, going on runs and video games.