RICHMOND — Matt Clark was hoping the Richmond Bobcats might run out of steam Tuesday night — or at least run out of cough medicine.
The Bobcats have been plagued by illness of late and Clark's young Rangeley Lakers were hoping to take advantage.
The Lakers stayed close for three quarters, but it was Rangeley that wore out down the stretch as the Bobcats pulled away for a 44-22 win.
"I think we started to run out of gas," said Clark, whose team has three eighth-graders and three freshmen on the team. "You could tell in that second half that we didn't have the same energy we were putting out there in the first half."
Richmond (5-7) beat Rangeley 66-27 earlier in the year but have been missing players in recent days to sickness. The Bobcats had three players at home Tuesday night, including two starters.
"We had three kids out today and yesterday, we had eight sitting out of practice," Richmond coach Jonathan Spear said. "So we had a bunch of guys coming back today trying to play through it."
Richmond led for almost the entire game, but the Lakers tied the game late in the second quarter, were within five at halftime and were only down six after three quarters.
"We were right there, down six points after three quarters," Clark said. "It was a winnable game for us. I definitely saw a lot of improvement."
The Lakers struggled offensively in the second half. Rangeley hit just one shot from the floor. The Lakers went 1-for-7 in the third and 0-for-11 in the fourth. Rangeley also shot just 10-for-24 from the line.
"The foul shooting, that was the worst I've seen our team shoot this year," Clark said.
Michael Haley led the Lakers (2-6) with nine points. Richmond got 10 from Cameron Emmons and nine from Eddie Stewart.
The Lakers tied the game 15-15 late in the second quarter with a 9-0 run. Haley had five points in the second while Orrin Mitchell, AJ Elmes and Wyatt Dellavalle all chipped in.
Richmond finished the half with a quick surge that put them up 20-15. Stewart scored on a baseline drive and Emmons drilled a 3 in the closing seconds.
"We had a timeout with a minute left," said Spear. "We said, 'Let's get some momentum going at halftime. Then we can come out and play strong in the second half.'"
Stewart hit a pair of shots inside to bump the lead up to 24-15. Rangeley got a leaner from Haley with 4:01 left in the third, but it would be the last field goal the Lakers would get. Mitchell sank a pair of free throws to make it 24-19. After Xavier Trask scored for Richmond, Elmes sank a free throw, putting the Lakers within 26-20 after three.
"They scored a couple of quickies," Clark said. "That opened the lead and then our offense just fell apart."
A Dellavalle free throw made it a five-point game to start the fourth but Richmond went on an 18-1 run to finish the game.
"Once we lost our composure and lost our focus, you could see them getting tired," said Clark. "That's when everything fell apart. But I did see some good, positive stuff in this game because we worked hard with them for three quarters."