MDI proud

You have to look back to 1955 to find a year when someone from Bar Harbor, or to the 1960s, when anyone from Mount Desert or Southwest Harbor, played on a team that won the Maine boys’ basketball state championship. In fact, while girls’ teams have brought home the coveted gold ball four times since island towns joined forces to open Mount Desert Island High School in 1968, the boys had never done it.

Until last week.

Last Friday, the Trojan boys’ varsity team took to the court at the Augusta Civic Center and not only won one heck of a basketball game – they made history at the same time. Anyone who watched the game could not help but be impressed by the way the island team took to the court against Wells High School and dominated the action.

The late, great football coach Bear Bryant is credited with saying “Offense sells tickets, but defense wins championships.” And that was never more apparent than in the effort turned in by the MDI boys.

Sure there were plenty of spectacular shots and skilled ball handling on offense. But defense is where the Trojans really shined. The plans, tactics and policies put in place throughout by the season by Head Coach Justin Norwood and his assistants all came together, resulting in a near-impenetrable defense. The team from Wells was consistently denied a chance to make points, with the scoring gap during the game often reaching more than 20 points.

That MDI defeated a school that beat them during the state football championship last fall made the win all the sweeter.

Of course, the ultimate sports victory is not just the result of what happens on the hardwood. It requires a broad commitment, not just from teachers, administrators, fellow students and supporting organizations, but from the entire community as well.

During tournaments and at playoff times for other sports, a sign often appears near the head of the island that pretty much sums things up. It states: “The last one off the island, please turn off the lights.” Whether in Augusta, watching on TV, listening on radio or following online, all hearts on MDI were with the boys’ basketball team last Friday. We all share in the victory.

This latest display of athletic excellence joins the accomplishments of this year’s track team, as well as the exemplary showings of MDI High School students in arts, music, drama and academic competitions that make us all MDI Proud.

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