Friday, February 27, 2015

Black Bears clinch regular season conference championship

BANGOR—The University of Maine women’s basketball team will never forget February 26th. On that day in 2013, they were in a serious bus accident, that ended their season. On Thursday night, they rolled to a 61-41 victory over UMBC at the Cross Insurance Center to clinch the regular season America East Championship.

“This feels amazing, two years ago today we were in a bus crash," University of Maine junior forward Liz Wood said. “It is nice to see how far we have come in those two years. It is amazing to everyone, we amaze ourselves every day on how far we have come.”

University of Maine senior guard Courtney Anderson added, “Two years ago today, we were sitting in the hospital and we don’t know who is with us and isn’t with us. We show up to a room and find everyone who is there, and we are split up in between all of Massachusetts. Today, we are America East regular season champions. We are not satisfied by this, but we are extremely joyful right now.”

The Black Bears took control of the contest early on. They scored the first seven points of the game and never looked back. They went on a 9-0 run to take a commanding 26-10 lead with 5:34 remaining in the first half.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Calais boys headed back to the state finals

Bangor- The Eastern Maine basketball tournament certainly saved the best for last. In one of the best games in recent memory, Tyler Niles scored 29 points as the Calais Blue Devils outlasted the Orono Red Riots in overtime 60-57 to capture its first Eastern Maine title since 2009.

Calais drew first blood in the opening quarter.  In a back and forth game in the first 8 minutes of play, Andre Pauls putback late gave Calais some breathing room and their biggest lead at 17-9.  Nate Desisto and Damian Heeger made back to back to three point shots to finish off the scoring to cut the lead to 17-15 headed to the second period.

Jake Koffman would finish an Orono 8-0 run to tie the game at 17 with a strong move down low.  Heeger would catch fire and he scored half of the Riots next 10 points, 2 field goals including a three pointer and Orono would outscore the Devils 10-5 the rest of the half to take their biggest lead into the halftime locker room at 27-22.

 Paul and Niles would both score 5 points in the third quarter and a Paul three pointer would eventually tie the game at 35 with 2 minutes left in the period. Sensational sophomore Kennan Collett had a solid quarter of play for the Riots making several nice cuts to the basket for 6 points and his last driving basket put Orono up again 37-36, but that was short lived.  On the Riots next possession, Nathan Newell would snatch a steal from Nate Desisto and go the length of the floor for a layup with 1:15 left in the third.  That would be the last points of the third stanza and Calais was clinging to a 1 point lead headed into the fourth.

In a dramatic last quarter, Camron Hines and Desisto opened with baskets for Orono only to be followed up with a 5-0 Calais run with all the points scored by Miles (conventional three point play and a layup).  Miles would score 9 of the 11 Calais point in the final 8 minutes. After trading baskets Calais held a 47-45 lead, until Heeger got fouled and fired up an off balance wild jumpshot that banked in off the glass, he made the free throw to complete the hoop and harm and Orono had a 48-47 lead with 1:42 left.  Miles again 15 seconds later made a tough move down low to put Calais back up a point at the 1:27 mark.  After an Orono miss, Newell got fouled and tried to give Calais a 3 point cushion from the foul line but he missed both with 1:15 left.  Jake Koffman got fouled down low and converted 1 of 2 from the line with 52 seconds left and the game was tied at 49.  A turnover by Calais gave Orono a chance for maybe a final shot with 40 seconds left.  Heeger tried a three pointer but the ball bounced off the rim.  Orono was able to get a jump ball in the wild scramble off the miss shot and get possession again with 27 seconds left.  A Calais steal though with 19 seconds remaining would give the Blue Devils a chance to win it.  Niles shot bounced off the back of the rim with 6 seconds left and in the ensuing scramble the final seconds would tick off the clock and the teams would head to overtime.

After hitting only 4 of 9 from the foul line in regulation including 3 for 7 in the final quarter, Niles would be impossible for Orono to stop in the 4 minute overtime session.  His tough moves down low forced some fouls by the Red Riots and Miles, with his team in the double bonus, would cash in.  His 9 for 10 effort from the line would give Calais a 58-53 lead with only a minute remaining.  Orono would get 1 for 2 from the line from Koffman to cut it to 58-54 with less than 20 seconds left. Paul would hit 2 of 2 from the line to make it 60-54 but a Jackson Coutts three pointer would make it 60-57 with only 2 seconds left on the clock.  After an Orono timeout, all Calais had to do was inbound the ball, but Newell was called for a team control foul for pushing off on Desisto and Orono had life and one more chance to send it to a second overtime.  Desisto would take the pass and fire up an off balance three at the buzzer from the left wing, but the ball hit off the side of the rim and the Blue Devils escaped.

Orono, who finishes their season and improbable tournament run at 14-8, Heeger and Collett both finished with 17 points, Hines had 8 and Desisto also chipped in 6.  For Calais, who improves to 19-2, along with the big night from Niles, Paul finished with 13 points, Kyle Johnson had 6 and Newell also contributed 5.

Calais will now face Dirigo High out of Dixfield, the Western Maine champs are also 19-2, next Saturday night at 8:45 pm at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Medomak Valley Boys take home regional championship

Bangor- The Medomak Valley Panthers boys basketball team proved why they were the #1 team in Eastern Maine Class B most of the year.  Some strong guard play by senior guard Micah Williamson and junior guard Nicholas Depatsy and a huge blocked shot in the closing seconds led the Panthers to the Class B Regional Championship 51-48 over the Winslow Black Raiders Saturday afternoon at the Cross Insurance Center.

Depatsy scored all of Medomaks 9 points in the opening period connecting on two field goals one from three point land and was 4-4 from the line.  But Winslow got 5 of their 9 opening quarter points from senior forward Justin Martin and the score was deadlocked after one.

Martin would give Winslow a 4 point lead with two baskets early in the second but Williamson responded for the Panthers hitting a runner in the lane and burying a three pointer to give Medomak a 14-13 advantage.  Both teams went back and forth, Williamson hit two more field goals including a three in the quarter and had 10 points but Martins 7 for Winslow kept them in the game, down just 25-22 at halftime.

Martin would again turn it on in the third quarter, getting 8 quarter points to give Winslow back the lead but Williamson had the response each time and in a closely contested game the Raiders took a 36-35 lead into the final period.

Free throws by Zach Starr from Medomak, a Colton Spear steal and layup and two more free throws from Williamson would give the Panthers a 41-36 advantage.  Martin would nail two long three point shots to give Winslow back the lead at 46-43 with only 2:46 left to play.  Cameron Allaire would nail one of his two huge shots in the fourth quarter with a leaner in the paint to get Medomak within 1 and then a putback of a missed shot to give the Panthers a 47-46 lead with only 45 seconds left. Winslow regained the lead once again on two Colby Robertson free throws at 48-47 but that was the end of the Raiders scoring.  Starr nailed a huge jumpshot to make it 49-48 Medomak with 22 second left and after a missed shot by Winslow, Allaire would be fouled and sink both free throws with 6 seconds to play to make it 51-48.  Winslows last chance came from their leader, Martin, but his three pointer from the top of the key at the buzzer was blocked by Allaire.

Winslow, who finishes the season at 18-3, they were led by Martin with 28 points and Josh Kervin also chipped in 7.  Medomak, who improves to 19-2, Williamson finished with 18 and Depatsy had 16 and Allaire contributed 7 including the two clutch foul shots and the block of Martin at the end of the game.

Medomak will now face Western Maine Champion Cape Elizabeth next Friday at the Cross Insurance Center in Portland for the Class B State Title, game set for 9 pm.

Houlton's first varsity football game- at Orono- 9/5/14

Houlton's first varsity football game- at Orono- 9/5/14