February 20

CENTER COURT: Maranacook storms past Dirigo

The Black Bears reached the Western C final with an 87-71 win partly built on a 24-point, 11-rebound effort from junior guard Cam Brochu.

By Bill Stewart bstewart@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA — Taylor Wilbur has carried the Maranacook boys basketball team to more than a handful of key victories this season.

Thursday night, it was Cam Brochu’s turn to play that role.

The 6-foot-1 junior guard was a factor at both ends of the court, scoring a team-high 24 points and grabbing 11 rebounds as Maranacook ran past Dirigo 87-71 in a Western C semifinal game.

Wilbur finished with 21 points while Kent Mohlar added 19.

No. 5 Maranacook (16-5) will next play No. 3 Waynflete (17-2) in the regional championship at 8:45 Saturday night.

“We’re very balanced,” Maranacook coach Rob Schmidt said. “We’re hard to stop because you can’t focus on one player.”

Riley Robinson scored a game-high 28 points for Dirigo, which finished 18-2. He fouled out with a little more than a minute left after picking up a technical.

Maranacook trailed by as many as nine points — 29-20 — early but it closed the half on a 20-7 run and never looked back.

Wilbur, who needed five 3-pointers to tie the Western C tournament record of 13, hit his first shot from beyond the arc early in the third quarter to give Maranacook a 48-40 lead.

The Black Bears pushed the lead into double digits thanks to 3-pointers from Caleb Jackson and Richard Hall.

Brochu then collected an offensive rebound — one of five on the night — and banked home a layup to give Maranacook a 65-49 lead late in the third.

Dirigo rallied in the fourth, pulling within 72-68 after Robinson buried two free throws.

However, Maranacook closed the game on a 15-5 run.

Brochu punctuated the run with another offensive rebound putback in the final minute.

“Cam is a great athlete,” Schmidt said. “He has a nose for the ball and is strong to the basket.”

Wilbur drew tight coverage once he crossed half court.

With no room to shoot from behind the arc, Wilbur turned his attention to driving the lane for inside baskets. He helped the Black Bears go up 10-4 when he hit a 12-foot pull up jumper and then drove to the basket for a layup.

The teams traded baskets in the first quarter, which featured five lead changes alone.

Robinson, meanwhile, was in a groove early. He scored eight points in the first quarter, including a 3-pointer with 1:15 left in the quarter that gave the Cougars a 14-13 lead.

Robinson then scored five quick points early in the second — including a conventional 3-point play — to help Dirigo surge ahead 29-20 midway through the quarter.

But the Black Bears didn’t go away. Instead, they responded with a 14-3 lead to grab a 34-32 lead.

Brochu started the run with an inside basket and he capped it with a 3-point play. In between, Mohlar buried a 3-pointer and Wilbur carved a path to the basket for a layup.

Kaine Hutchins scored two unanswered baskets to give Dirigo a 36-35 lead, but the Black Bears went into halftime with a 40-36 lead when Wilbur hit a pair of free throws and Brochu drained a 3-pointer from the off wing with 20 seconds left.

Bill Stewart — 621-5640 bstewart@centralmaine.com Twitter: @billstewartkj
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