Cougar boys rally to shoot down Seagulls
AUGUSTA -- The ability to execute can never be underestimated and the Dirigo boys' basketball team would certainly agree after having been pushed to the brink in a Class C quarterfinal playoff game.
Riley Robinson scored 12 of his game-high 20 points in the final 6:47 of the fourth as the Cougars rallied down the stretch for as 50-47 win against Old Orchard Beach.
The Cougars defense was tested by OOB guard Joe Gildard (12 points) and the Dirigo offense was its own worst enemy (24 turnovers), a majority on lazy passes. The Seagulls led 42-36, following as three pointer by Tyler Scott, with less than five minutes to play.
"We just needed to execute,'' said TJ Frost, who had six points and three assists. "We had trouble against OOB's 2-3 extended zone, but had seen it during season, especially in practice from guys who don't receive enough credit, like Joe Casey."
Dirigo quickly closed gap (seven of 13 shots in fourth quarter) on Robinson's third trey and a fast break basket by Hunter Ross, but the Seagulls scored four points to lead 45-41. Robbie Babb (12 points, six rebounds) made a basket and Robinson (seven rebounds) added a free throw. OOB led by one point when Babb grabbed a rebound and threw to Chad Snowman, who found Robinson streaking up the right side and his layup put Dirigo ahead to stay.
"Our goal was to get Quincy Grace in foul trouble," said Ross, who did sit the entire third quarter. "But his replacements did a good job and we hadn't expected it. It was gut check time for us."
On the ensuing possession, Frost grabbed a rebound and Robinson made on two free throws with 26.5 seconds left. Grace (nine points) scored, but on the inbounds, Robinson was fouled and sank both free throws.
''Riley was cool in those pressure situations,'' said coach Travis Magnusson, referring to the freshman making the final four free throws. ''I don't even think the ball hit the rim (nothing but bottom of the net).''
“The four seniors sat back and surveyed the situation,” said Ross, referring to Babb, TJ, Snowman and himself. ''We just knew that we didn't want it to be our last in a Dirigo uniform. Besides, we've got the greatest fans and it was inspiring to look up and see half of Dixfield cheering (led by Eric Snowman) in the stands.''