BLUE HILL — Senior guard Elias Springer hit two three-pointers, stole the ball and netted a pair of free throws in the final four minutes Tuesday night as the George Stevens Academy Eagles rallied from a seven-point deficit to nip the Deer Isle-Stonington Mariners 35-33.
With the win, the Eagles improved to 3-0 on the young season while the Mariners are now 1-3.
GSA took a 7-2 lead in the first period but the Mariners pulled ahead with a strong second quarter effort, included an 11-0 run midway through the period.
The Eagles, playing without injured junior Nick Doolittle and junior Nick Kane, who was sidelined by illness, had little success penetrating the Mariner zone defense, settling mostly for shots on the perimeter.
But some of those shots began falling in the third period.
A foul line jumper by Michael Bryant, a rebound put-back by Springer and a three-pointer by Cameron Lawson gave the Eagles a 22-20 lead, and the two teams matched basket for basket through the rest of the quarter.
The Mariners opened the fourth period with consecutive driving lay-ups, two by senior Joe Carter and another by junior Dylan Brown, to take a 33-26 lead with 4:59 to go.
But they never scored again.
Springer hit consecutive three-pointers, and junior Tom Crowe drew an offensive foul by the Mariners’ Carter as he made yet another drive to the hoop with 1:34 to go.
Seconds later, Springer picked off an errant dribble and was fouled as he drove to the basket.
The second of his two free throws provided the go-ahead point for GSA with 1:13 to go.
The Eagles added one more point on a foul shot by Pierre Dillon with 34 seconds left.
After taking a time out with 14 seconds on the clock, the Mariners had one last opportunity but a shot from the perimeter fell short as time ran out.
“I didn’t feel we executed very well until the end of the game,” said GSA coach Dwayne Carter. “But we changed some things up at the end and the guys did exactly what we needed done.
“Defense got it done at the end,” he continued. “When Tommy [Crowe] took that charge, the momentum turned.”
Carter acknowledged the difficulties posed by the Mariner zone.
“They play defense really well,” he said. “They’re quick and they play really aggressively.”
Springer finished with a game-high 20 points, including four three-pointers.
Carter led the Mariners with 12 points and Evan Rollins chipped in with eight.