The loss of two senior starters to injury could have a devastating effect on the Hall-Dale boys basketball team, but there may some hidden benefits, too.
The Bulldogs lost 6-foot-6 center Sam Shepherd to an ankle injury last Thursday against St. Dominic while forward Zac Plummer sustained a knee injury against Wiscasset on Tuesday. Shepherd is an all-around scorer, rebounder and shot blocker who takes away a lot of opposition’s drives to the basket, while Plummer is a solid rebounder, scorer and defender as well.
“A major part of our offense ran through Zac Plummer,” Hall-Dale coach Chris Ranslow said.
Shepherd’s left foot was in a walking cast this week and he’s expected to miss a little time.
“I don’t have a timetable, unfortunately,” Ranslow said. “It’s going to be more than a week, that’s my best guess.”
Plummer’s injury could be much more serious. He’s expected to see a specialist this week and his season could be in jeopardy. The Bulldogs were 6-4 in Mountain Valley Conference play going into Thursday night’s game at St. Dom’s.
“Whoever is next on the depth chart needs to step up,” Ranslow said. “It’s going to be an opportunity for somebody to step forward.”
Sophomore Wesley Lapointe took advantage of his chance Tuesday night against Wiscasset when he scored 16 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and blocked five shots.
“He does things on the basketball court that you can’t teach,” Ranslow said. “He’s a wonderful offensive rebounder.”
Senior Harry Cheung has gained more minutes in the absence of Shepherd and Plummer while senior guard Mike Woods took up some of the scoring slack with 27 points against Wiscasset. A lot of the burden will fall to the team’s sophomores. Brian Allen has been a solid starter all season while Bryson Camp and Lapointe have alternated in and out of the starting lineup along with guard Nat Crocker.
Hall-Dale was in fourth place in the Western Maine Class C tournament standings but that could change in a hurry over the last seven games.
“Any game can go any way,” Ranslow said.
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Maranacook began a three-game home stand Thursday night against Belfast in hopes of climbing the Western Maine Class B tournament ladder. Coach Rob Schmidt has gone away from the platoon system he employed around midseason and is going with a rotation of eight or so players. Sophomore Cam Brochu has also moved into the starting lineup.
The Black Bears were 5-6 entering Thursday’s game and are at their best when 6-8 center Kyle Boucher gets the ball in the paint to score or kick it back to shooters.
“It definitely needs to be a balance,” Schmidt said. “We can still do a better job of getting the ball to him in the post more often.”
After Belfast, the Black Bears host Winslow at 1 p.m. on Monday.
“That certainly is going to be a big challenge,” Schmidt said.
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Gardiner (3-7) will need a couple of big wins to get into the Eastern Maine Class B tournament. The Tigers have played everyone tough and lost three games on shots in the waning seconds.
“It’s inexperience, really,” Gardiner coach Jason Cassidy said. “We’ve got a lot of young guys who are getting a lot of minutes for us.”
The Tigers graduated all five starters from last season’s Eastern Maine championship team, but did return seniors Tyler Jamison and Dennis Meehan, who were sixth and seventh men, respectively. They’ve carried the load along with another senior, Jensen Orewiler. Junior Trevor Austin has also been a pleasant surprise.
“(He’s) stepped up and played defensive stopper for us,” Cassidy said. “He’s 6-2 but he’s about 250 (pounds). Against a taller guy he can play behind him.”
Sophomores Brad Weston, Seth McFarland and Brad Bailey all getting plenty of minutes and have each had their moments.
“We’re looking for Weston, McFarland and Bailey to step up with a little more consistency,” Cassidy said.
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Richmond is 5-7 heading into tonight’s game at Seacoast Christian in South Berwick. The Bobcats have struggled against Valley and Forest Hills been played competitive against the rest of the teams on their schedule.
“We’ve had some growing pains, that’s for sure,” first-year coach Jon Spear said. “Our shooting was really slow to start the season.”
Senior Cameron Emmons and Randy Moody, along with junior Sean Bernier, have been steady performers. So have some of the newcomers, including first-year senior Eddie Stewart and Xavier Trask. Stewart transferred from Wiscasset while Trask hasn’t played for a couple of seasons.
“He just all of a sudden has gone to the basket,” Spear said of Trask.
Freshman Mike Stewart, Eddie’s brother, has taken over the starting center position and played well.
“Learning how to drive to the hole has been big for us,” Spear said. “Also learning we can put pressure on other teams.”
Gary Hawkins — 621-5638