Members of the 2017-2018 Mount Desert Island High School junior varsity boys’ basketball team include, kneeling, from left, Steven Pierce, Brennan Hubbard, Cadin Lunt, Kyle Nicholson, Oliver Blank, Jeremy French and Lukas Keene; standing, from left, Coach Kyle McKim, Eli Parady, Nate Philbrook, Porter Isaacs, Chayce Sargent, Erik Merchant, Jack DaCorte and manager Nick Colson. The Trojans posted a 17-3 record this season. PHOTO COURTESY OF LIFETOUCH

Strong team culture leads JV boys to 17-3 season

BAR HARBOR — They call it “The Trojan Way,” and every Mount Desert Island High School basketball player learns it.

The philosophy is simple: No matter who comes and goes, the Trojans have a team culture and bond that keeps them among the state’s best. The result has been deep playoff runs for both the boys’ and girls’ varsity teams even as they have lost key contributors and faced Class B fields loaded with talented opponents.

Yet the success MDI has had as a program in recent years, as many know, goes much deeper than the varsity team’s exploits. After yet another successful season at the junior varsity level for the MDI boys this season, that much is clear.

“We might not always be the most skilled team out there, but we will not get outhustled, and we will not get outworked,” JV Coach Kyle McKim said. “Nobody is going to play harder or faster than us.”

Team members were Steven Pierce, Brennan Hubbard, Cadin Lunt, Kyle Nicholson, Oliver Blank, Jeremy French, Lukas Keene, Eli Parady, Nate Philbrook, Porter Isaacs, Chayce Sargent, Erik Merchant and Jack DaCorte. Pierce, Parady and Merchant also earned minutes as stringers for the varsity team.

After an undefeated season last year, the Trojans returned to their winning ways in 2017-18. In McKim’s first season at the helm after moving up from coaching the freshman team, MDI posted a 17-3 record.

“Going from freshman to JV, I was able to coach the same guys I was coaching last year,” McKim said. “When you’re able to keep a lot of that chemistry and those relationships, it’s a big plus.”

Between its varsity, JV and freshman teams, the MDI boys’ program posted a combined record of 51-9 this season. Including the 2016-17 season, that combined record stands at 117-12.

“We’re lucky to have a lot of success at the youth level and great programs that build smart basketball players at every step,” McKim said. “Everybody from players and coaches have so many resources they can turn to when they have questions or want to discuss strategies. It’s like a room full of walking basketball encyclopedias.”

As always, many members of this year’s JV team will move up to the varsity level next year. Yet with a new crop of talented basketball players from the 17-2 freshman team coming in, the Trojans will be set for success at the JV level once again.

“We know the players we get are going to have high basketball IQs and be well-versed in the game, and we let the results speak for themselves,” McKim said. “The players in the jerseys will change, but the team culture sticks.”

Mike Mandell

Mike Mandell

Mike Mandell is the sports editor at The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander. He began working for The American in August 2016. You can reach him via email at [email protected]

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