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Cougar boys rule in undergrad tourney
DIXFIELD -- It’s almost second nature for student-athletes to practice their skills when and whereever an opportunity exists and the Dirigo boys' basketball team is no exception.
A week removed from having played in the state championship game, the Cougars beat Belfast and Oxford Hills in the undergrad tourney at the Kennebec Valley YMCA in Augusta. A tournament like this provides players and coaches with opportunities to gauge where each stands in the total scheme. The players are able to perform among other returning players, while the coaches use the game to evaluate different areas.
Several will play AAU this spring.
"We would have loved to end our season with a win and send our seniors out with a state championship,” said coach Rebecca Fletcher. “We do need to look back at this season, however, and realize how far we came, from having lost all five starters and eight seniors overall, returning only two players with limited varsity experience.”
This team's accomplishments, including being the MVC North representative, first in the Heal Points in Western "C", Western Maine champions, and the state runnersup.
“These have to be acknowledged and looked at with pride. We exceeded what could have been anyone's realistic expectations coming into the season."
Returning starters are guards Josh Turbide and Caleb Turner and post players Ben Holmes and Cody St. Germain. There will be potential increased roles for Travis Frost, Hunter Ross, Jake Dowland, Mitch Stanley and others.
The JV's were 16-1 (didn't play Winthrop) under coach Gary Holman. The Cougars coaches included Kip Fletcher and Greg Gagne.
"Having my father help the program was great. He loves the game and is very knowledgeable," noted Rebecca.
Observers might have noticed the coaches' routine during halftime and post game which is modeled after what Coach Gavin Kane always did.
“We list areas that need to be improved and adjustments that need to be made both offensively and defensively,” said Fletcher. "We also often tell them the number of turnovers we have to that point in the game and our free throw percentage.”
This may include the total number of offensive or defensive rebounds because it could be going well, or depending on the situation, something might need to be done differently.
“A similar discussion happens in the post game,” said Fletcher. “Whether we win or lose, we discuss both offensively and defensively what needs to be improved upon as a team and what is being done well."