BAR HARBOR — Planning a trip to the other side of the state wasn’t what Kyle McKim expected to be doing the morning of June 21, but a change of plans presented him with a welcome opportunity.
Less than 24 hours before a scheduled summer basketball tournament at Fryeburg Academy was set to begin, McKim got a call from Mount Desert Island High School’s varsity head coach, Justin Norwood. A team from another school had dropped out at the last minute, and he wanted to know if McKim, the JV coach, could throw together another.
The Trojans already had a team composed primarily of older players on the boys’ varsity squad scheduled to head to Fryeburg, but to give the tournament a workable number at eight teams, a fill-in was also necessary. Knowing what a beneficial experience a summer tournament would be for MDI’s younger players, McKim got to work.
“We starting making calls and letting everyone know we needed to get a team together,” McKim said. “We weren’t sure how many kids we could get together in the summer on such short notice, but we wanted to do what we could.”
By the end of the day, MDI had nine kids set to go to Fryeburg. The teams left the next morning with the younger group packing players and parents into a convoy of five cars to head to the Maine-New Hampshire border town.
“I think it says a lot about the kids who play for this program and how committed they are to each other and to the team,” McKim said. “It’s not easy this time of year when school’s out because people are doing other things, but the fact we were able to have the kids and their parents do that shows a lot of commitment.”
The tournament gave both MDI teams a chance to compete against new opponents. Ellsworth was also in attendance, but most of the teams present were from southern Maine and New Hampshire.
The Trojans responded to those tests well. The older squad went undefeated en route to beating Ellsworth on June 23 for the championship. The younger team held its own against varsity competition and even posted an upset victory that morning against New Hampshire’s Berlin High School.
“It’s always good to see how you look against new teams and new styles because it teaches you how to handle things you maybe haven’t seen before,” McKim said. “The biggest thing you can do in the summer is ask yourself, ‘OK, are we getting better?’ We definitely did that.”