Two of the top teams in not only the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B division, but in all of Eastern Class B, tipped off Wednesday night in a pivotal early-season matchup as Mount View of Thorndike traveled to Waldoboro to battle Medomak Valley in a post-Christmas and pre-New Year’s Day showdown.

Both teams had just one loss on the season heading into Wednesday’s game — with both defeats coming against unbeaten defending state Class B champion Camden Hills.

Wednesday’s contest between the Mustangs and Panthers proved a physical affair that saw both teams leave little to chance. For 32 tough minutes, there was plenty of diving on the floor for loose balls and all-around hard-nosed efforts from players on both squads.

While the visiting Mustangs (5-2) trimmed a deficit they had looked at all night to six points in the fourth quarter, the visitors could get no closer as the Panthers (5-1) hit their free throws down the stretch to pull out a 54-45 victory.

The Panthers led 16-9, 27-17 and 44-29 at the quarter breaks.

With Wednesday’s outcome, Medomak Valley is ranked third and Mount View fifth in the most recent Maine Principals’ Association Heal Point Standings for Eastern Class B.

On Wednesday, Isaac Greenrose and Alex MacKenzie each keyed the Panthers with 12 points apiece, while Dustin Osier and Dan Aubel each added eight; Isaac Durkee, seven; John Bartlett, five; and Jason Vinal, two.

Dylan Keller paced the Mustangs with nine points, while Bobby Porter and Colby Blanchard each added eight; Michael Cochrane, seven; Zach Babin, four; and Tyler Rednour and Jason Hughes, both two.

The Panthers were 12-of-21 (57 percent) from the free-throw line, while the Mustangs were 8-of-19 (42 percent) from the charity stripe.

“We were very intense and we had a lot of aggressiveness, which you need when you play a team like [Mount View],” said Medomak Valley coach Nick DePatsy. “But I was very pleased with our rebounding. We didn’t rely on just one guy to do it, we were all hitting the glass so that was good.”

Off a pair of missed Mustang free throws in the fourth quarter, Keller ended up with the offensive rebound and quickly dumped it in to Cochrane for a hoop to cut the visitors’ deficit to 12 points. On the next Mustang possession, Keller knocked down a trey from the wing to bring the visitors within single-digit points at 46-37 with 4:40 remaining in the final stanza.

After MacKenzie hit a shot from close range and Keller made 1-of-2 from the line, Porter canned a triple for Mount View to cut the Mustangs’ deficit to 48-41 with 2:15 remaining.

Then, it came down to foul shots. Blanchard was whistled for an intentional foul and Greenrose knocked down both free throws and the Panthers also regained possession of the ball. Greenrose knocked down 1-of-2 after being fouled again on the ensuing inbounds pass to increase the Panther lead to 52-43.

Cochrane netted a shot from close range to cut the Panther lead to seven points, but Blanchard’s desperation 3-pointer was no good and an intentional foul was quickly called on Babin as the Panthers tried to get the ball into the front court.

That foul sent Babin to the bench with his fifth foul and allowed Durkee to add to the hosts’ cushion at the free-throw line, essentially ending the Mount View rally.

“At the end we got a little lackadaisical with the ball and we knew they were going to come at us and ball-hawk to get steals,” said DePatsy. “But we kept our composure, we had different kids step up and hit some big shots, which is nice. It’s good to see other kids stepping up every night.”

DePatsy mentioned Osier, Vinal and Aubel as three of the players that turned in key efforts for Medomak Valley.

Click for more photos from the Mount View at Medomak Valley game.

Village NetMedia Associate Sports Director Mark Haskell can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail at mhaskell@villagesoup.com.