Cougar boys remain unbeaten in thriller
DIXFIELD -- TJ Frost drained a crucial three pointer for the eventual winning shot as the Dirigo boys' basketball team rallied to remain unbeaten with a thrilling 57-53 triumph against Spruce Mountain at Defoe Gymnasium
Spruce Mountain was able to maintain pace, with guards Zach Bonnevie and Jake Bessey (18 points) down the stretch, but seven missed free throws on the front end of one-and-ones proved to be extremely costly. The Cougars were able to maintain their focus and had tied the game at 51-51 on a Josh Turbide (nine points) basket with 3:19 left to play. Following a Phoenix turnover, the Cougars had regained the lead when Ben Holmes scored on the weak side, off a bullet pass from Turbide.
“We really didn’t make too many adjustments in the second half,” said Dirigo coach Travis Magnusson. “They worked hard and we worked hard. I thought we had gotten some good baskets off our transition game in the first half, but they were able to get back and shut us down in the second half.”
Caleb Turner and Frost (three treys, seven assists) ignited the fast break. Early in the fourth, Cody St. Germain (20 points, three treys, 12 rebounds, three blocks) blocked a shot, hustled back and drained a trey for a 50-42 lead.
SM raced back with a 7-0 run, ending on a Bonnevie trey with 4:35 to play.
“Missing those free throws hurt,” said Spruce Mountain coach Chris Bessey, as the Phoenix also missed their last five shots. “We tried slowing (pace) down but it didn’t work for the most part. Both teams worked hard and they had some big shots.”
The Cougars' big contributors were Mitch Stanley and Hunter Ross, who each provided some quality minutes. Stanley scored seven of his 12 points in the third quarter, including two baskets following offensive rebounds and a conventional three-point play.
“Mitch Stanley turned it around for us,” said St. Germain, who drained a trey to give the Cougars a 47-37 lead at the end of the third quarter. “Mitch made some big baskets and pulled down some rebounds.”
Ross, a 5-8 guard, was active on defense which hindered the Phoenix back court from running set plays. In the second quarter, Ross stole the ball at midcourt and scored on a lay up.
“We played defense against their flex offense well,” said Magnusson. “This was a well-played high school basketball game.”