BAR HARBOR — The Houlton High School Shiretowners made the Mount Desert Island High School varsity boys’ basketball team work for each point Saturday. But the Trojan boys got the final say with a 57-47 victory. The win puts them 4-1 on the season.
Junior forward Russell Kropff paced the Trojans in scoring with 14 points, while Graham Good and Riley Swanson each chipped in 12.
MDI Head Coach Justin Norwood said that his squad is a “momentum team.” Once lost, momentum is hard to regain. The key is maintaining the effort.
“But the kids did a good job of pulling it together in the fourth quarter and getting the win,” Norwood said.
Houlton jumped ahead with an early lead. Despite three-pointers from MDI’s Aaron Snurkowski and Swanson, the Shiretowners kept a lead through the first quarter, which ended with a score of 13-10.
The Trojan defense came on strong in the second quarter and allowed only 4 more points by Houlton. Meanwhile, MDI racked up 16 during the rest of the half.
Good and Colby Lee contributed points, and Snurkowski sank free throws to take the score to 26-17 at halftime.
The Shiretowners gained on offense in the third quarter, racking up 15 points compared to MDI’s 12, slashing their deficit to 6.
According to Norwood, his team struggled in the third. “The kids have high expectations of themselves,” which causes them to “get in their own head a little bit when things don’t go well.”
Sustaining a good attitude throughout the game is “one of those intangible things that you can’t drill,” he said. He says time and again his emphasis is on the value of playing together as a team. “We tell the kids culture beats scheme. It doesn’t matter how you do in defense or offense. If you’re not on the same page, it doesn’t matter.”
Andrew Phelps ran coast-to-coast in the third quarter, Good gathered four more points, and the Trojans led 38-32.
Houlton cut the lead to three by converting free throws before MDI’s Kropff and Phelps each replied with three-pointers. With less than a minute left to the end of the game, Swanson chipped in additional points, and Gus Reeves and Phelps sank free throws to help MDI cruise to a 57-47 victory. The Trojans were 8-8 from the free-throw line.
MDI 49 – John Bapst 38
The Trojans headed to Bangor on Dec. 16 to take on the John Bapst Crusaders. MDI built a 15-point lead at halftime on their way to a 49-38 victory.
Phelps led MDI with 13 points. Good posted 10 points. The Trojan boys were 9-12 from the free-throw line.
MDI is set to travel to Aroostook County to play Presque Isle on Dec. 29 and Caribou on Dec. 30.