BAR HARBOR — Chalk up another successful season for the Mount Desert Island High School junior varsity boys’ basketball team.
Behind the enormous success of MDI’s varsity boys’ basketball team in recent years has been the Trojans’ remarkable success at the JV level. The 2019-20 season was no exception for Kyle McKim’s team, which once again finished among the top JV squads in the area.
MDI concluded the year with a record of 16-6. The strong campaign was the latest in a long line of successful seasons for the Trojans at the JV level after a 17-4 campaign last year, a 17-3 season in 2017-18 and unbeaten seasons in 2016-17 and 2015-16.
“This was another outstanding year for us,” head coach Kyle McKim said. “We played really well together, and as the season went on, everyone started firing on all cylinders.”
MDI began play with preseason scrimmages against Hampden Academy and Brewer before tipping off the regular season Dec. 7 against Houlton. The Trojans played 19 regular season games in addition to three in the annual Scott C. Jellison Memorial Tournament, in which the team finished as runner-up to Ellsworth.
One of the most exciting games of the year came at the very end as MDI hosted Ellsworth on Feb. 11. That game preceded the girls’ preliminary round playoff game between the two schools, and with large fan contingents representing each school, the scene inside Bunny Parady Gymnasium was a wild one as the Eagles and Trojans went to overtime.
“That gave them a taste of what the varsity level is like because you had a loud gym and a great atmosphere in overtime,” McKim said. “We have to be very thankful that Mr. Dow and [Ellsworth Athletic Josh Frost] were able to arrange that for us because they didn’t have to do that for us.”
In another exciting game, MDI took on George Stevens Academy in the Scott Jellison Tournament at Sumner Memorial High School. The semifinal game pitted McKim’s Trojans against a GSA squad coached by Riley Swanson, a member of the 2017 MDI team that won the first Gold Ball in school history.
“That was really cool,” McKim said. “That was a back-and-forth game between two good teams. We scraped by and won by three in the end, but they pushed us all the way.”
Members of this year’s team were Tucker James, Harley Henderson, Joey Minutolo, A.J. Lozano, Alex Fernald, Grady Wellman-Webster, Emrys Miller, Marshall Reiff, Jack Hodgdon, Jack White and Jaden Sevene. Team managers were John Bennett, Nathan Lawson and Wilder Noyes.
In 2020-21, some of the current JV players will move up to the varsity level. The MDI varsity squad will be looking to add some new blood to its ranks next year with five seniors set to graduate, and McKim believes the players Justin Norwood calls upon to make the transition will be ready to contribute.
“We have a lot of skilled kids who can very easily do that,” McKim said. “We’re lucky to have so many great kids come through our program over the years. It’s all about buying into that team culture and mentality, and this group of players did just that.”