Dane Vanzura of the Mount Desert Island High School varsity basketball team shoots Saturday in the team's home game against Oceanside. PHOTO COURTESY OF BARRY GUTRADT

Boys down Oceanside in wild finish

BAR HARBOR — It’s been rare that the Mount Desert Island High School varsity boys’ basketball team has been challenged on its home floor in recent years. But the Trojans got all they could handle Saturday in what would be the closest game of the season for both teams.

Mount Desert Island High School basketball player Drew Shea plays Saturday in the team’s home game against Oceanside.PHOTO COURTESY OF BARRY GUTRADT

MDI defeated visiting Oceanside 45-43. James McConomy’s 3-pointer with seven seconds left on the clock sealed a valuable win for the Trojans, which kept hold of second place in Class B North with the win.

“It was a tight game the entire way,” MDI Head Coach Justin Norwood said. “I was really happy with how our players made the right plays on offense and defense when the pressure was on.”

Playing for the first time in nine days, MDI’s offense was sluggish out of the gate. Nevertheless, the Trojans’ defense kept Oceanside at bay and found itself trailing by four points after the opening quarter.

The defensive battle continued in the second quarter, but two Colby Lee baskets provided a momentum swing for MDI (6-1). The Trojans outscored the Mariners 11-7 in the second quarter, and the game was tied at 15 heading into halftime.

“Oceanside is a young team, but they came out firing right away,” Norwood said. “We knew they were going to play a lot better than they did the first time we played them, and they certainly did that.”

In the second half, McConomy hit a trio of 3-pointers. His efforts spearheaded a 17-point MDI scoring outburst in the third quarter, after which the Trojans led Oceanside (5-2) 32-28.

Oceanside, though, went on an 8-3 run early in the fourth quarter to pull ahead with less than six minutes to play. MDI eventually regained the lead, but two Oceanside free throws put the visitors back on top with 20.6 seconds remaining in the game.

With time winding down, Andrew Phelps found McConomy open on the left wing. McConomy sank the shot with ease for the 45-43 win.

“We got it to Andrew, who made a good cut and a nice pass to set it up,” Norwood said. “The whole play couldn’t have been much cleaner from start to finish.”

Derek Collin and McConomy finished as MDI’s top scorers with 13 and 12 points, respectively, and Drew Shea scored six. Andrew Phelps and Lee scored five points each, and Eli Parady and Owen Mild combined for the Trojans’ remaining four.

The win gave MDI another key victory over a team that could be among its challengers when the state tournament begins next month. Oceanside has gone 5-0 aside from its season sweep at the hands of the Trojans, who defeated the Mariners 62-48 when the teams met Dec. 15 in Rockland.

MDI was set to face rival Ellsworth (4-4) on Wednesday evening in the first of four consecutive road games. The team’s next scheduled games are against Orono on Monday, Jan. 15, at 6:30 p.m. and against John Bapst on Wednesday, Jan. 17, at 5 p.m.

“When you go on the road like that — especially in those Monday games after the weekend — that can throw you out of your rhythm,” Norwood said. “We have to take care of the ball and do the little things right to stay on track.”

Mike Mandell

Mike Mandell

Mike Mandell is the sports editor at The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander. He began working for The American in August 2016. You can reach him via email at [email protected]

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