Cougars pull away in second half, 65-35
DIXFIELD -- There is always plans being made in an effort to slow down the opposition and throughout the first half, Mount Abram coach Trevis Knapp was pleased with the effort. However, it was Dirigo that still had a higher gear.
The Cougars pulled together to turn up the tempo in the third quarter, as T.J. Frost scored 10 of his game-high 16 points to break open the boys' basketball game en route to a 65-35 triumph against the Roadrunners at Defoe Gymnasium.
Also reaching double figures for Dirigo was Riley Robinson and Hunter Ross with 15 and 11, respectively.
"The objective is to slow them down," said Knapp, who graduated from Dirigo in 2005. ''We have a couple different defenses to use on them, but that's easier said than done because they have a way of making you pick up the pace.''
Mount Abram had pulled to within three points but Dirigo simply took over by scoring 20 of the next 22 points to take a 47-26 lead at the end of the third quarter. Robinson made a free throw, Ross (four assists, four steals) made two baskets, sandwiched around a Frost three pointer.
“We didn't have any energy in the first half," said TJ Frost, who added five rebounds, five assists and four steals. “Coach fired us up during halftime and it showed it third period. We harassed their ball handlers and also was able to get the ball inside to our big men.”
On the ensuing possession, Ross stole the ball and was fouled in the act of shooting. He made the first one and missed the second, but Robbie Babb (eight points, seven rebounds) rifled in and scored on a rebound. Frost drained another trey and a basket.
“In the second half, we got up in their faces,” said Dirigo coach Travis Magnusson, who had stressed that a goal is for the team to continue to improve each game. "We wanted to force them into making mistakes and we needed to raise the tempo of the game."
The Roadrunners stayed within striking distance throughout the first half, led by the inside play of center Ian James (14 points). The Cougars had trouble against the sagging zone defense. Kaine Hutchins, Robinson and Gavin Arsenault each drained treys in the second quarter.
The Cougars, who shot 43 percent, had nine turnovers, but was 11 of 25 from charity stripe.