Cougar boys' hoop preview
DIXFIELD -- There are times when starting over is necessary and that’s precisely the position the Dirigo boys' varsity basketball team found itself in throughout preseason.
The situation provides a unique opportunity and the current cast of Cougars will be determined to turn things into a positive.
The Cougar program has been successful the past several seasons and last year was no exception. The team compiled an 18-4 record, repeated as regional champions, but fell shy in the State Class "C" championship game to Washington Academy.
The majority of the players graduated, Tyler Chiasson (PG), Eric Bolduc (G), Nic Crutchfield (F), Kyle Hutchinson (G/F), Tyler Gates (G) and Cliff Turner (G).
The lone returning lettermen are sr. guard Spencer Ross and jr. center Cody St. Germain. The duo will be counted on heavily to get the team headed in the right direction. Ross is quick and needs to control the offense. St. Germain is 6-3 and has to be a force in the paint.
“We are very young, but we have some good athletes,” said coach Rebecca Fletcher, who takes the reins over from Dave Gerrish. “A couple of players will be stepping into much greater roles on the varsity squad, and some will be seeing significant varsity action for the first time in their careers.”
The promising newcomers include senior Arik Fenstermacher (G/F) who saw limited varsity time last season. The juniors will be important contributors with Caleb Turner (G), 6-3 Ben Holmes (G/F), Josh Turbide (G), Mitchell Stanley (C) and scrappy Jacob Dowland (F).
The Cougars scrimmaged Class A Lewiston, Morse and Oxford Hills. This hopefully provided Fletcher and JV Coach Gary Holman a chance to properly evaluate the talent.
“Points of emphasis for us will include making sure we commit to the defensive end of the floor consistently,” said Fletcher. “That will be a focal point of ours, having all of our players understand the importance of being very stingy defensively.”
“Offensively we will look to run in transition when the opportunity arises, however, we need to be effective in our half court sets. We will also look to play unselfishly,” said Fletcher.
Dirigo can not afford to take teams for granted. The Cougars travel to Mount Abram this Friday for their season opener.
Fletcher said Boothbay is always in the mix in the Mountain Valley Conference and in Western Maine Class C. They are well coached, which gives them a consistent edge. Coach (I.A.) Pinkham's teams are always fundamentally sound defensively and patient offensively.