Dirigo, Mountain Valley boys' basketball capsules
RIVER VALLEY -- Games are played in order to improve and both the Dirigo and Mountain Valley boys' basketball teams have done that and qualified for their respective tournaments.
Mountain Valley finished 12-6, earned a No. 4 seed and played in a Class B quarterfinal playoff game last Saturday at the Portland Expo against Spruce Mountain. There were mixed feelings entering playoffs.
"I have a little bit of concern because we have not played to our potential for three out of the last four games," said MV coach Tom Danylik. "However, we know the things that we need to work on and the kids are focused. When you get to this part of the season you have to look at it as a whole. We did some great things this year that have put us in a great playoff position. Now it comes to desire and execution."
The Cougars (17-1) earned No. 3 seed and played at the Augusta Civic Center. The Cougars had earned the top seed the previous four years.
I feel good with our team right now," said Dirigo coach Travis Magnusson. “This might be the most improved team I have ever coached. We are a different team than we were at the beginning of the season. We got a tough draw in the playoffs, but I think we are ready. If OOB wins, they are one of the best teams in Class C.''
Dirigo played Boothbay last Thursday in the Mountain Valley Conference championship game at the Civic Center. The Seahawks was the lone team to beat Dirigo during the season.
Dirigo's uptempo offense, which averaged over 70 points a game, promptly took control of games with double-digit runs in the first half. They get to the free throw line and have had several 20-plus wins.
"I think Boothbay showed us three things that we really needed to work on. I don't think losing is a good thing, but it showed us what we need to work on. Those things were a surprise to me so it's good we learned it in the regular season and not the playoffs," said Magnusson.
The offense was led by Riley Robinson (15.8 point a game), Robbie Babb (14 ppg, 7.2 rebounds) and Travis Frost (11.2). On rebounds, Dylan Kidder and Kaine Hutchins average 6.7 and 5.8. Assist leaders were Frost (6.3) and Hunter Ross (4.9).
Dirigo utilized a pressure defense that creates havoc; steals Travis Frost (5.8), Ross (4.7) and Robison (2.7). Look for Tyler Frost, Chad Snowman and Gavin Arsenault.
"Are defense is really good right now,” said Magnusson. “We have come a long way in this area. Our players have improved a lot.
They have got better throughout the year. Our offense and transition game has improved. I think our mental focus and conditioning has also improved.''
Mountain Valley has been led offensively by Jake Theriault (17.9 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 2 apg, 2 spg); Ryan Nicols (8.7 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 2.2 apg, 2 spg); Adam Volkernick (6.8 ppg, 3 rpg); Dom Haines (9.2 ppg, 3.4 rpg) and Milo Jodrey (4.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg).
The Falcons need to take care of the ball and can’t afford to get into foul trouble because of a short bench with Sean Murphy and Ryan Stickney.
Teams gear up to stop Theriault, so Falcons needed balance. This included having off the ball movement, aggressive on offense, especially in transition. They outscored opponents, 57.4 to 48.5.
"There is always good and bad that comes out of close games," said Danylik, referring to overtime losses to Hall Dale and Spruce Mountain. "The good part is that you get a feeling of being in that situation and a tense environment. If you have not done it all season it is a tough thing to adapt to. The kids know what it takes to win close games and also what to avoid so we are not on the other end."
The Falcons were blown out by Dirigo in the regular-season finale, but the score was not indicative of play, and Danylik added a positive spin.
"The only good thing to come out of that game was motivation to be better. I told the kids that they will never forget the pain of that loss, but they need to use it as motivation because winning in the playoffs can erase some of that pain."
The defense has been pretty consistent, minus the Dirigo game.
"Rebounding is another story," said Danylik. ''When we show up and want to rebound and want to work hard, we are a dangerous team. We just need to make sure we want to do that every night.''
DIRIGO BOYS' VARSITY BASKETBALL TEAM -- From left in the front row are Riley Robinson, Travis Frost, Hunter Ross and Chad Snowman. In the middle row are Gavin Arsenault, Dylan Kidder, Isiah Brown and Clay Swett. In the back row are Jenn Smith (mgr.), Robbie Babb, Caine Hutchins and Tymeka Cheadle (mgr.). Absent from photo is Tyler Frost. (Times photo by Cherri Crockett)
MOUNTAIN VALLEY VARSITY BOYS' BASKETBALL TEAM -- From left in the front row are Adam Volkernick, Dominic Haines, Colin Merrill, Ryan Nicols, Milo Jodrey, Jake Theriault and Sean Murphy. In the back row are Abby Day (mgr.), Will Cunningham, Tom Marshall, Caleb Gauvin, Ryan Stickney, Brad Marshall, Scott Nicols, Jeremy Pettegrow (mgr.) and Tom Danylik (coach). Absent from photo are assistant coaches Ken Baker and Corey Provencher. (Times photo by Bruce Farrin)