BUNKER HILL — Even with longtime Indiana hoops coach Basil Mawbey courtside with North Miami’s boys basketball squad, it still wasn’t quite enough to halt Maconaquah’s winning streak over the Warriors.
The Braves opened their season with a 54-48 victory over their Miami County rival on Friday night, Mac’s 16th straight victory in the series. North Miami, which Mawbey is in his first season coaching, last beat the Braves in 2009.
Maconaquah coach Tim Maiben improved to 8-0 over the Warriors with the win in what was the Three Rivers Conference opener for both squads.
Maconaquah never trailed after the first quarter, and held off the Warriors’ late push as the game wound down.
“Really, we got a couple good looks around the basket late and we were able to convert,” Maiben said.
North Miami (1-2) got within a point, 45-44, with 3:49 to play. Mac outscored the Warriors 9-4 down the stretch to pull out the win.
“We’re happy with a lot of the game,” Mawbey said. “We’re not happy, obviously, with the outcome.
“You see these five shots we missed in the paint in the fourth quarter, if we make one or two of those and we tie it or maybe even get the lead and we missed five of them. We can’t miss little easy shots.”
The sophomore duo of Brayden Betzner and Hayden Maiben combined for 27 points for Mac. Betzner hit five triples on the night, scoring 16 points to lead the Braves and adding a team-best nine rebounds. Hayden Maiben added 11 points including a pair of 3s.
“I think any time we can get them open looks that’s going to be a great part of the offense but I’d like to see us with better ball movement,” Tim Maiben said. “There were some possessions where we had good ball movement and others where we kind of held on a little too long.”
The teams were tied 12-all at the first stop. The Braves opened the second frame on a 10-2 run but the Warriors responded with an 8-0 run to tie the game 22-all. Back-to-back triples from Betzner and Hayden Maiben gave Mac a 28-22 lead at the half.
“I felt like we had too many turnovers,” Tim Maiben said. “I honestly don’t know how we went into halftime ahead. We let them go on two different runs that I didn’t like seeing, mainly due to turnovers.”
After the Braves took the game’s biggest lead at 37-27 with 2:18 to play in the third, North Miami again responded with a run, this one a 9-0 spurt to get within 37-36 at the third stop.
Tristan Working and Braxton Beall finished with 16 points each for North Miami.