Photo By Hugh Bowden

MDI boys nip Coastal 46-45 to win Sheriff’s Cup Tourney

Photo By Hugh Bowden

The Mount Desert Island “A” team, above, narrowly beat out a team from Blue Hill to win the 13th annual Hancock County Sheriff ’s Cup basketball tournament. It was the fi rst time the youth MDI players had beat Blue Hill in recent history. The event took place last week and drew youth players in grades 6 to 8 from eastern and northern Maine.

{youtube}8rEgPF2JcPY&list{/youtube} ELLSWORTH — A foul shot by Riley Swanson with about 10 seconds to go provided the winning margin as the Mount Desert Island “A” team nipped the Coastal Thunder of Blue Hill 46-45 to win the boys’ championship in the 13th annual Hancock County Sheriff’s Cup basketball tournament.

The event, which stretched from Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon, drew 20 girls’ teams and 15 boys’ teams of players in grades 6-8 from throughout eastern and northern Maine.

The MDA “A” boys and the Houlton girls emerged as tournament champions, with Houlton downing the Nokomis Wildcats 48-34 in the girls’ final.

On the boys’ side, a Hancock County team was the winner for the first time since 2003, when an Ellsworth team claimed the title for the third consecutive year.

“Win, lose of draw, this is the way to end a tournament,” said Sheriff Bill Clark as he presented awards to the MDI and Coastal teams following their championship contest.

Both teams sailed through the tournament without a loss, with MDI “A” downing Houlton 66-55 and Coastal besting Ellsworth 54-38 in the Sunday morning semifinals.

MDI reeled off 10 unanswered points to take an early 14-5 lead and held a 24-16 edge at halftime after Coastal’s Max Mattson hit a rebound putback at the buzzer.

But Coastal chipped away at the lead in the second half, and with 2.44 seconds to go, the Thunder had evened the score at 41-all.

Baskets by Aaron Snurkowski and Swanson pushed the MDI lead to 45-41, but Coastal’s Jarrod Chase hit one of two free throws and Beckett Slayton knotted the score at 45-all, netting a three-pointer with 30 seconds to go.

Twenty seconds later, Swanson put MDI back in front with his free throw, leaving Coastal with the ball and 10 seconds to go.

But just before Taylor Schildroth launched a three-pointer that dropped through the net, Coastal coach Matt Mattson called a time out and what would have been the winning basket was waved off.

The Thunder put the ball in play with 1.9 seconds on the clock, but could not get another shot off before time ran out.

Swanson led all scorers with 21 points and Snurkowski had 10 for MDI.

Chase scored 15, Schildroth 14 and Slayton 10 for Coastal.

The tournament opened with pool play, allowing every team to play at least a couple of games before the elimination round began on Saturday afternoon.

Competition took place at four gymnasiums: Ellsworth High School, two at the Ellsworth Elementary-Middle School and the Down East Family YMCA.

Numerous volunteers assisted Sheriff’s Department personnel with the various tasks involved in running the tournament.

Sheriff Clark said this year’s event likely will net more than $10,000 for the Sheriff’s Charities Fund.

“We try to gear most everything toward the kids,” he said. “The big recipient is the annual Christmas for Kids.”

The fund also contributes to the annual Machias Savings Bank Thanksgiving turkey drive and private donations are sometimes made to assist families dealing with emergencies, said Clark.

The tournament got its start as a fund-raiser for the department’s DARE program, he said, and transitioned to the Charities Fund when the full-time DARE program was scaled back.

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Hugh Bowden

Hugh Bowden

Executive Editor
Hugh writes editorials, covers Hancock County sports and helps out where needed in The American's editorial department. When he's not on the sidelines, he enjoys playing jazz and tennis. [email protected]