January 2

HIGH SCHOOL BOYS BASKETBALL NOTEBOOK: Maranacook finally healthy

Guards return to bring Black Bears to full strength.

By Gary Hawkins ghawkins@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

It’s taken the entire season to date for the Maranacook boys to get healthy and it’s beginning to show up on the court.

KENNEBEC JOURNAL/

MORNING SENTINEL TOP 10

1. Hampden

2. Falmouth

3. Bonny Eagle

4. Portland

5. Greely

6. Oceanside

7. Morse

8. Brunswick

9. Cheverus

10. Winslow

Weekly Honor roll

• Cony senior Mitchell Bonenfant scored 18 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and hit the game-winning shot in a 54-53 win over Mt. Ararat.

• Gardiner junior Seth McFarland scored 22 points in a 67-62 win against Nokomis and 18 points in a loss to Oceanside.

• Maranacook senior Taylor Wilbur scored 34 points, including six 3-pointers, in a win against Lincoln Academy.

• Gardiner junior Brad Weston had 17 points, five rebounds and three steals in a loss to Oceanside.

• Winthrop freshman Jacob Hickey scored 16 points in a 46-37 win against Lisbon.

• Hall-Dale junior Wesley Lapointe had 11 points, 11 rebounds and three steals in a win against Oak Hill.

The Black Bears are coming off an encouraging 55-52 win at Medomak Valley on Monday night and prior to that they took down Lincoln Academy at home 93-77.

Maranacook is 5-2 going into Friday night’s game against unbeaten Morse in Bath and will get a good sense of where it stands among the teams in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference’s Class B division.

Guards Caleb Jackson and Kent Mohlar each missed the first few games of the season with ankle injuries. Jackson is at full strength while coach Rob Schmidt is bringing Mohlar off the bench until he’s fully recovered.

Both are good 3-point shooters and their presence on the floor has taken some heat off senior guard Taylor Wilbur.

“Team can’t just focus on him,” Schmidt said.

Wilbur is averaging 28 points a game and has already knocked down 28 3-pointers. Schmidt said he’s an even better player than he was a year ago.

“He’s stronger, that’s a huge difference,” Schmidt said. “He can finish when he gets hit. He’s also extended his range on his jump shot. He’s just a very good athlete.”

Junior Cam Brochu is giving the team a nice lift on the boards, averaging nearly 11 rebounds a game, although fouls have been a problem.

“He plays so aggressive, so physical,” Schmidt said. “He’s going to pick up a few fouls.”

The Black Bears expect to see a zone defense for much of the game against Morse. The Shipbuilders are taller to a man and rebounding will be a key for Maranacook. So will pace. The Shipbuilders have been at their best when they score in the 50s while Maranacook prefers an uptempo game.

“I think the game will be determined by which team can impose their style,” Schmidt said.

• • •

Hall-Dale is another team that has battled health problems. The 5-1 Bulldogs have survived although they have yet to play the toughest games on their schedule. One of those is Monday night when they host 5-2 Winthrop.

“We seem to finally be getting back,” Hall-Dale coach Chris Ranslow said. “Between the weather and our health it doesn’t seem like we practiced much.”

Ranslow said his players are simplifying the game, learning their roles and consequently playing better.”

They have some outside shooters but play at their best when they stay patient and begin their offense by getting the ball inside.

“When we try to play fast we’re not doing what we do best,” Ranslow said. “When you get the ball inside out the shooter is already set. Our focus is to get it in every time.”

Monday’s game is the start of a tough week for Hall-Dale. After Winthrop, the Bulldogs travel to Boothbay on Wednesday and host unbeaten Dirigo on Friday.

* * *

Gardiner is 3-3 but just two baskets away from being 5-1. The Tigers lost one-point games to both Medomak Valley and Morse.

“In both situations young mistakes kind of cost us the game,” Gardiner coach Jason Cassidy said.

The Tigers are getting solid play from juniors Seth McFarland, Brad Weston and Josh McKelvey and hope to have some added depth with the return of guard Eli Fish and center Jordan Lamb, both of whom sustained injuries before the season began.

Fish was injured in the Cony-Gardiner football game and has yet to play while Lamb has battled a preseason back injury and is getting into shape in junior varsity games.

(Continued on page 2)

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