Bobby Richardson of Machias goes up for a layup against Bangor Christian at the Eastern Maine Sports Academy on Tuesday, Jan. 10. Credit: Adam Robinson / BDN

Tuesday night’s boys basketball contest between Class D North heavyweights Bangor Christian and Machias was a back-and-forth affair, coming down to the wire.

When the game was still close late, Machias turned to Shane Feeney for answers.

The four-year starter answered, dominating the fourth and helping Machias to a 56-51 victory on the road at the Eastern Maine Sports Academy in Veazie.

“He’s our go-to guy,” Machias coach Jim Getchell said of Feeney.

Feeney scored nine of his 22 points in the fourth quarter to help Machias pull off the comeback after being down 43-40 at the end of the third quarter.

With the victory Machias moves to 8-1 and stays at the top of Class D North, while Bangor Christian falls to 6-2 but still remains near the top of the conference.

Feeney grabbed six rebounds in the fourth quarter, as Machias switched to a 2-2-1 zone to get out in transition after turnovers or rebounds.

Bangor Christrian’s Conrad Straubel puts up a shot against Machias at the Eastern Maine Sports Academy on Tuesday, Jan. 10. Credit: Adam Robinson / BDN

“I figured it would be close, but finally we got it sped up a little bit,” Getchell said. “We like to run and they grind it out every night. I knew if we could separate a little bit we’d be all right, but it took us 28 minutes to separate. We went back to our 2-2-1 press and it turned the game around for us. That’s a good basketball team.”

Machias trailed for much of the game.

Bangor Christian’s Jalen Reed started off on fire from the field, scoring 13 points in the first half including three 3-pointers. In the first quarter alone, five Bangor Christian players scored to help the team to a 16-13 first-quarter advantage.

Bobby Richardson scored five of his 12 points in the second quarter to keep Machias in the game, but Bangor Christian held a 29-26 lead into the half.

Bangor Christian’s biggest lead of the game was 21-15 midway through the second quarter thanks to a rebound by Reed that he moved from baseline to baseline for a layup. Reed finished with 17 points.

“Jalen is a premier athlete,” Bangor Christian coach Charlie Colson said. “He’s so athletic, his shot is great, he’s quick to the basket.”

Both teams scored 14 points in the third with Feeney adding in five points of his own. Ryan Libby hit back-to-back 3-pointers for Bangor Christian in the third, while his brother, Jason, scored four points and grabbed rebound after rebound.

“Jason is playing well, his brother [Ryan] hit three 3s in the corner tonight, and we’re going to keep playing hard and be playing well when the tournament comes,” Colson said.

Machias started to score quicker in the fourth quarter and took a 47-45 lead with 5:46 left after two Feeney free throws.

With 2:35 left to play, Ethan Libby grabbed an offensive rebound and put in a layup for Machias to give the team a 53-47 lead, its biggest of the game.

Getchell is excited about how his team has played as the regular season nears its midway point.

“So far it’s been a really good start,” Getchell said. “We are rebuilding because last year we lost in the northern Maine final and lost a bunch of seniors. I can’t be more proud of them. They share the ball and at this point we’ve over-achieved and we’re only going to get better from here.”

Bangor Christian’s Conrad Straubel scored at the rim to pull within 55-51 after a steal with one minute to go, but the Patriots couldn’t get closer.

“We need to learn how to win,” Colson said. “When I started here we were 1-16 four years ago, then 6-6, then 11-7 last year. I worked at Hermon for 10 years and I learned that it’s a process. It’s a process so what I’ve observed as a coach is we’re getting better every time and that’s all I can ask for.”

Colson was pleased with how the group played on Tuesday after beating Penquis Valley 53-31 on Monday night.

“The kids played back-to-back games and played their butts off so kudos to the kids,” Colson said.

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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.