Alden Fournier of the Mount Desert Island High School basketball team shoots in last Tuesday's game against Washington Academy. PHOTO COURTESY OF BARRY GUTRADT

Defense remains a strong suit for Trojan basketball

By Mike Mandell and Liz Graves

BAR HARBOR — The Mount Desert Island High School varsity boys’ basketball team held a 4-0 record going into this week’s road trip to take on Caribou and Presque Isle. The defending Class B North champions are integrating new players well, improving steadily and communicating well on the court, Head Coach Justin Norwood said.

He said he was “blown away” by the early season success and keeps daily improvement as his goal for the team.

“I couldn’t be more pleased with how we’ve started out. I never thought we’d beat Oceanside and Washington Academy by the margins we did (62-48 and 79-43). If you had told me before the season we’d beat both those teams, I would’ve been ecstatic with that.”

He said they work hard in practice on defense. Effective defense was a major factor in last season’s success.

“When your defense is playing well, it can really help out your offense. I still don’t think we’re quite where we want to be offensively, but the players are starting to figure it out and catch on.”

The first half of the Washington Academy game last Tuesday was a struggle.

“We weren’t making the shots we usually do,” Norwood said. “In the second half, we turned that around. I thought James McConomy was really handling and passing the ball well for us, and the team as a whole communicated well.”

Norwood and his staff stress the importance of good communication on and off the court.

“The coaches try to point out things in practice that were improved or aided by good communication,” Norwood said. “The kids all know each other, but it is taking a little time having them getting used to playing with each other on the floor. I think the improvement in that area has been great, but we also have a ways to go.”

The Trojans were set to face Caribou Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. and Presque Isle Thursday at 2:30 p.m.

“Going to The County is always difficult,” Norwood said. “We play two teams that have a lot of talent returning who are well coached, in places that are difficult to play in. Playing back-to-back also creates a challenge, as it takes us out of our normal routine.”

Going into the week, Caribou (3-2) stood at fourth in the league. They have lost games to Hermon and Houlton but most recently defeated Old Town 49-40 on Saturday.

Presque Isle (2-1) is third in the standings. All their games have been close: a 63-62 loss to Washington Academy, a 66-60 win over powerhouse Houlton and a 78-72 win over Belfast.




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