GUILFORD-- Tristen French scored 21 points (7-13 three point FG) to lead the Piscataquis community high school (PCHS) Pirates to a 53-39 victory over the Penquis Patriots on Friday evening.
"I was able to get open shots,"French said. "My teammates got me the ball."
The Pirates went on a 14-2 run to take a 18-6 lead after the first quarter.
The lead increased to 30-12 when French nailed a three pointer with 1:24 remaining in the second quarter.
Penquis went on a 15-0 run to cut the lead to 30-25. The run was capped off by a Trevor Lyford three pointer with 4:49 remaining in the third quarter.
"It wasn't a pleasant halftime. I didn't go in and tell them I was glad that they were ahead,"PCHS coach Jamie Russell said. "I did not like the way we let them off the hook. It was 30-12, all of a sudden it was a 12 point game. It carried into the third quarter as well."
French nailed 3 of his three point baskets in the final four minutes of the third quarter, as the Pirates built the lead back up to 41-32.
"He (French) can light it up in a hurry. He shot the ball well,"Russell said. "I thought that was the difference in the third quarter, we were able to get some separation because of his threes."
PCHS scored the first 10 points of the fourth quarter to get their biggest of the game at 51-32.
PCHS (2-0) struggled last season, starting this year with two wins, including a win over the defending state champs in their home opener could be a big boost to the confidence of the young Pirates squad.
"It is a better start than last year. It shows that we are in the mix,"Russell said. "We are not at the bottom like we were all of last year. Maybe we are in the middle, I don't know."
French added, "defending state champs, coming to our house. I think it is a great effort."
Ben Morrill scored seven points (5-6 FT) for the Pirates. Freshman Nick Fortier recorded five points and six rebounds.
Nate Burns had five points, five rebounds, and three assists. Cody White chipped in with five points.
Jeremy Bell contributed four points, five rebounds, and two blocks.
PCHS played strong defense. They held Penquis to 33% shooting. The Pirates did struggle on offense at times. They committed 31 turnovers.
"I thought we worked hard on defense,"Russell said. "I was not real impressed with our offense. I thought we were sloppy with the basketball."
Lyford led the Patriots (2-1) with 15 points, seven steals, three rebounds, and two assists.
Noah Allen came off the bench to record seven points, three rebounds, two assists, and two steals.