February 18, 2013

BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT NOTEBOOK: Richmond set for unfamiliar opponent

Morning Sentinel Staff


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The Richmond girls faced six of the other eight Western D playoff teams during the regular season.

One of the two they didn't face -- Hyde -- awaits them in the semifinals.

"It's good to see new blood," said Richmond senior center Jamie Plummer. "We love playing new people."

The No. 2 Bobcats (15-3) and No. 3 Phoenix (17-1) play at 10 a.m. Thursday.

Hyde coach Richard Polgar said his team watched Richmond host Rangeley on Jan. 15.

"We scouted them against Rangeley just to see those teams," Polgar said. "I wanted the team to see what these teams were all about. We knew the road would at some point go through them."

* * *

The Hyde girls took advantage of 32 Valley turnovers in a 48-28 win in a Western D quarterfinal Monday morning.

It was a tough ending to the season for the No. 6 Cavaliers (5-14), who played the Phoenix tough in a regular-season meeting. Hyde defeated Valley 52-42 at the end of January in Bingham.

Hyde coach Richard Polgar said the team was without injured 5-foot-10 forward Diamond Brown, which forced him to change the game plan against the Cavaliers.

"We were a little light in the post so we went with a 3-2 defense," he said. "The offside guard had to get to the paint on the shot and for the most part it worked."

The Phoenix also played tough defense on Valley guard Teagan Laweryson. The junior guard, despite finishing with a team-high 15 points, was often double-teamed and struggled to get good looks.

"We shadowed her," Polgar said. "We played good pressure defense on the perimeter. We had to make sure we knew where (Laweryson) was on the court at all times."

* * *

There are well over a dozen places to eat within a quarter mile of the Augusta Civic Center, offering everything from fast food to full course meals. But the staff at the Civic Center is trying hard to satisfy the needs of tournament fans in the building.

"We've expanded a little bit," assistant director Earl Kingsbury said. "We've decided on a hot deli bar, offering hamburgers with different toppings. Then we have panini and we also hot pastrami and roast beef and we'll make it right there for you."

The deli bar is the latest addition to the pizza, hot dogs, fries, chicken, sandwiches, ice cream, popcorn and drinks that are already offered. And Kingsbury said he considering a salad bar for next year. Tournament food sales account for 45 percent of all food sales at the Civic Center throughout the year and all of it is cooked or prepared on the premises.

The big seller, though, remains, the chicken fingers and french fry combination plate. On a busy day, Kingsbury said they sell about 600 of those and about 300 on a slower day. The staff on hand varies from 12 on a fairly slow day like Monday afternoon to as many as 20.

* * *

Fans may have been surprised by Dirigo freshman Riley Robinson, who scored a game-high 20 points in the Cougars' 50-47 win against Old Orchard Beach on Monday. But Dirigo coach Travis Magnusson has seen that sort of performance from his 6-foot guard all season.

"He's had a great year," Magnusson said. "He's averaged 15 a game for us. He made some big shots, but the biggest thing was those four foul shots. For a freshman coming in, it can be tough to shoot in those pressure situations."

Robinson made four free throws in the final minute to put his team ahead or keep it there. He also hit a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter when it looked as if the Seagulls had grabbed the momentum and broke free for a layup down the stretch to draw the Cougars to within a point.

"He's played a lot of basketball," Magnusson said. "He didn't miss a game this summer."

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