Dazzling shooting performance lifts boys past Washington Academy

BANGOR — The Mount Desert Island High School varsity boys’ basketball team shot an astounding 71 percent in the first half of the Class B North quarterfinal game Saturday morning to stroll to a 79-38 win over Washington Academy. The win gave the Trojans five straight wins and ended a winless streak of 0-6 for Hancock County teams to begin the state tournament.

Whether they were shooting 3-pointers, midrange jump shots, free throws or simple layups, it seemed the basket might as well have been 5 feet for the Trojans. Nothing — not even a 9:05 a.m. start time — could stop MDI from lighting up the scoreboard.

“It seemed like it was going in from just about everywhere,” senior James “Finn” McConomy said. “We just got good looks and kept making them over and over again.”

Washington Academy’s Ching Jim-lin nailed a 3-pointer to begin the game before MDI’s James McConomy responded with a triple of his own to tie the score inside the first 40 seconds. In all, the Trojans used four 3-pointers and a 13-0 run to end the first quarter to take a 20-10 lead after one quarter of play.

Although MDI struggled somewhat offensively to start the second quarter, fouls and mental mistakes began to pile up quickly for the No. 7 Raiders (14-6). After a quick basket and another 3-pointer from McConomy extended the Trojans’ lead to 25-10, the team was able to stifle a Washington Academy offense that was hot in the opening minutes to head to the locker room with a 41-19 lead.

“Finn started off hot, and the rest of the team kind of built on that momentum and took off from there,” senior Andrew Phelps said. “We played smart and we played hard the entire way, and it was just one of those games where the efficiency was there for us as well.”

Phelps started the second half with a layup before a Colby 3-pointer and Derek Collin foul shot put MDI ahead 47-19. The Trojans then led 62-30 after Collin hit a fadeaway at the buzzer to end the third quarter and breezed through an uneventful fourth for a decisive victory.

Phelps led the Trojans in scoring with 19 points, and Collin scored 14. McConomy scored his 12 points on four 3-pointers for an MDI team that made nine total, and Drew Shea and Owen Mild rounded out the Trojan’s top-five scorers with eight points and seven points, respectively.

“Up and down, we have those players who can come out and make plays for us,” MDI head coach Justin Norwood said. “When they’re, they’re really hot, and that’s what we saw this morning.”

With the win, the Trojans have now won five consecutive state tournament games dating back to last season. Even in that remarkable run to the Gold Ball a year ago, MDI didn’t have an offensive performance that resembled this one.

The names on the back of the team’s practice uniforms are somewhat different this time,but MDI is in a very similar position. Just as they did last year, the Trojans will head to the Class B North semifinals with a 16-3 record and the region’s No. 2 seed.

“I don’t think you can compare any team to last year, but we’ve got some good players on this team, too,” Phelps said. “This is definitely up there with the best games we’ve played.”

MDI’s next game will be back at the Cross Insurance Center against No. 3 Presque Isle (14-5) at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 21. The Trojans lost to Presque Isle 53-49 when the teams met in Aroostook County in December but got revenge with a 63-46 win last month in Bar Harbor.

This time, the stakes are much higher. A berth in the regional championship game is on the line, and the loser won’t have another opportunity this season.

“We had a big lead up there [in the first meeting against Presque Isle] and kind of let it get away from us,” McConomy said. “They showed the first time that they’re a good team that can get back in the game against you no matter what the score is. We’ll have to be at our best.”

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]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.