CARIBOU — Two three-point field goals from Riley Swanson in the final 16 seconds of the game Monday put the final score of the Mount Desert Island High School varsity boys’ basketball game a lot closer to reflecting the balance of power between the teams.
This time, it was a 60-56 Caribou victory. MDI was led by Swanson with 20 points, tying Caribou’s Dayne Savage for the game high.
The MDI boys are 0-5 on the season so far, but have improved enough that their last two games were close ones. The score was often tied, or one team up by only a point, until the Vikings pulled ahead in the final three minutes of the game.
It was a low-scoring first quarter as both teams used defensive pressure. The Trojans’ first field goals reflected the teamwork they’re building: Aaron Snurkowski scored first, Swanson scored on a Russell Kropf assist, and Drew Rich scored assisted by Drew Reeves. Reeves and Graham Good each had steals against the fast Caribou forwards.
In the second quarter, the Trojans pulled ahead for the first time, 15-14, on free throws from Reeves. Rich scored on an Andrew Phelps assist, and Jake Boumil added a two. Defensive pressure from Reeves, Good and Phelps forced turnovers and kept the score close up to a 19-19 tie. Caribou hit a three at the buzzer to put Caribou up 22-19 at the half.
The teams stayed neck and neck for the third quarter. MDI was able to capitalize on many of Caribou’s missed shots. Snurkowski and Swanson each sank three-pointers. Good added his own basket along with steals and rebounds.
Twelve of Caribou’s 25 points in the fourth quarter came from the free throw line as both teams passed the 10-foul mark. Kropf strung together four points in a row to tie the game 46-46 with three minutes to play. After that, MDI struggled as Caribou picked up those free throw points and took a 60-50 lead. Coach Justin Norwood wasn’t going to let that score stand. He called two time outs in the final 30 seconds and planned the attack for Swanson’s two threes. The final score was 60-56.
“We showed a lot of improvement again,” Norwood said. “Our press is getting better. The key is staying in control when we get into traps.”
He’s also pleased that the team is getting to know each other’s habits and trust each other more on the court. “We’re starting to get there,” he said.
The boys are set to host fifth-seed Ellsworth Saturday at 3:30 p.m.