The MDI High School varsity boys' basketball team celebrates after winning the Northern Maine Class B championship Saturday at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. PHOTO COURTESY OF BARRY GUTRADT

MDI boys are Northern Maine champs



 

Graham Good of Mount Desert Island High School evades Orono High School guards Saturday during the Northern Maine Class B championship at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. The Trojans earned the title by defeating the Red Riots 42-34. PHOTO COURTESY OF BARRY GUTRADT

BANGOR — The last time the Mount Desert Island High School boys’ basketball team won what is now the Northern Maine Class B championship was in 1995 when they defeated Orono High School.

History repeated itself Saturday when No. 2 MDI again defeated No. 4 Orono 42-34 for the Northern Maine title and a trip to the Class B state title game.

The Trojans controlled the game more than the low score suggests and never surrendered the lead or the drive to win the championship.

MDI jumped out to a lead, scoring 10 points in the first quarter to Orono’s six points.

The Trojans gunned it from the beginning and scored four points before getting an answer from the Red Riots.

For the Trojans, Andrew Phelps and Russell Kropff each sank 3-pointers, while Riley Swanson and Aaron Snurkowski each put up two points.

Keenan Collett had four points for the Riots, and Jake Koffman scored two points.

Towards the end of the second quarter, Orono went on a roll, scoring several unanswered points in a row before MDI Head Coach Justin Norwood called the team’s first timeout of the game.

MDI tipped the scales back in their favor, but the Riots nipped at their heels throughout the second frame for a halftime score of 20-17.

Snurkowski shot a tricky 3-pointer, while Swanson, Phelps and Mac Shea all scored two points each.

Graham Good sank one foul shot, but his presence on defense was integral to the Trojans’ success in the first half.

Just seconds into the third quarter, Good performed a reverse layup for two points, and the Trojans would keep up the momentum through most of the period.

Mount Desert Island High School’s Andrew Phelps sails to the basket for a layup at the Northern Maine Class B championship. The Trojan boys will face Wells High School Friday night in the Class B state championship in Augusta. PHOTO COURTESY OF BARRY GUTRADT

Derek Collin and Good scored four points each, while Swanson sank a 3-pointer.

Jackson Coutts made four out of four foul shots for Orono, while Collett shot two for two.

Towards the end of the quarter, the Riots again closed the score gap when Evan Kenefic shot a 3-pointer with seconds remaining for a score of 31-28.

MDI didn’t allow Orono to stay close behind for long and played intensely to widen their lead throughout the final eight minutes of the game.

Swanson went into his preferred quarter to shoot a 3-pointer, while Good and Snurkowski scored two points each.

Players on the sidelines and fans knew they had clinched the win when, with one minute remaining, Kropff was on the wrong end of an intentional foul and scored two of two foul shots. Orono then fouled Swanson, who sank both free throws to give the Trojans a comfortable lead and what would turn out to be the final score of 42-34.

Swanson led the scoring for MDI with 12 points, followed by Good and Snurkowski with seven points each. Kropff scored five points, Collin scored four points, and Shea had two points.

For the Riots, Collett scored eight points, followed by Coutts with seven points.

Norwood was nearly speechless following the game, saying it was “all a blur.” What was clear was the pride and joy he felt for this MDI Trojans team.

Norwood, who sat in the stands as an MDI freshman basketball player when the 1995 varsity team won the school’s first regional title, will now lead his Trojans to the Class B state championship on Friday.

The matchup will be an opportunity for school redemption, as the MDI team will face Wells High School, the same opponent that defeated the Trojans last fall in the Class C football state championship.

Phelps, Rich, Good, Gus Reeves and Jimmy Carroll played on the Eastern Maine championship football team, while five out of 12 players on the Wells roster were members of the title-winning squad.

The Raiders were ranked No. 3 for their 13-5 standing in the regular season and beat favored Yarmouth High School for the Southern Maine Class B title last weekend.

But if the Trojans came out on Friday like they did last weekend – dogged, determined, energetic and fearless – then the Raiders had better not underestimate the strength and speed of this team.

The Class B state championship will be played at the Augusta Civic Center on Friday, March 3, at 7:45 p.m.

 

Championship titles

While the Mount Desert Island High School boys’ basketball team has never won a Class B state championship, former island high schools brought several titles home.

The Bar Harbor High School boys were state champs in 1955, while Mount Desert High School in Northeast Harbor won in 1958, 1959, 1960 and again in 1965, three years before the high schools consolidated.

The 1995 MDI High School team earned a trip to the state finals after defeating Orono High School for what is now the Northern Maine Class B championship but fell to Greely High School in the championship game.

The girls of MDI High School have a storied state championship history, winning in 1997, 2001, 2002 and 2003.

In 2014, the girls made it to the final round but were defeated by Lake Region High School.

Taylor Bigler Mace

Taylor Bigler Mace

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Taylor covers sports and maritimes for the Islander. As a native of Texas, she is an unapologetic Dallas Cowboys fan. [email protected]
Taylor Bigler Mace

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