Gardiner assistant coach Art Warren continues to contribute to the team behind the scenes, submitting detailed scouting reports to head coach Jason Cassidy.
Warren, a former middle school principal and high school basketball coach, was diagnosed with ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, three and a half years ago. He spent much of last season in the gym at Gardiner practices and hit the road to scout games, but this year is primarily confined to his home.
He watches games of opposing teams on TV or the Internet and also looks at tapes of each Gardiner game.
“He’s as good as ever with the scouting reports,” Cassidy said. “He analyzes us and everyone else for us.”
Warren submits typed scouting reports to Cassidy of each opponent.
“He’s typing it with two knuckles, but it’s as accurate as ever,” Cassidy said.
Warren is also being treated for cancer, which went into remission for several years but resurfaced a few years ago.
“To talk to him on the phone you’d never know,” Cassidy said. “His spirits are very high and he’s focused on our program.”
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Maranacook was playing its best basketball of the season a couple of weeks ago when it beat Camden Hills to start a three-game winning streak. Since then the Black Bears have dropped three straight to fall to 6-9.
“The problem is we’re not putting points on the board,” Maranacook coach Rob Schmidt said. “We’re just in a slump. I can’t put my finger on it, it’s very strange to me.”
In Tuesday night’s 65-43 loss to Medomak Valley, leading scorer Taylor Wilbur finished with four points while 6-foot-8 center Kyle Boucher scored 10.
“He got forced away from the basket on quite a few shots,” Schmidt said of Boucher. “They collapsed on him with a weak-side defender. We’re not hitting from the outside so we’re not opening up the middle.”
Boucher’s counterpart, 6-7 John Murray, finished with 27 points.
“Murray hit some tough shots,” Schmidt said. “He hit some shots with Boucher right on him.”
Schmidt has moved freshman Kent Mohlar into the starting lineup and said he’s playing well if not scoring a lot. The 5-1 guard is no longer swinging down for junior varsity games.
Maranacook hosts Nokomis (7-7) at 2 p.m. Saturday. The Warriors have struggled of late as well.
“They’re up and down just like we are,” Schmidt said.
After Saturday, the Black Bears finish their season at Leavitt and at Gardiner. They’re in ninth place in the Western Maine Class B standings — 12 teams qualify — and in need of a win.
“We’re in there, but if we lose out I think we’re done,” Schmidt said.
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After close loss upon close loss, the Messalonskee High School boys basketball team earned a pair of big wins this past week. With victories over Lawrence and Brewer the Eagles jumped from 10th place in the Eastern A standings and out of the playoffs all the way to sixth and back into the tournament field.
“We moved up quick,” Messalonskee coach Pete McLaughlin said. “We knew this stretch of games was to be big for us.”
The wins over Lawrence and Brewer broke a string of loses in close games for the Eagles (8-7). This season, Messalonskee has lost a pair of overtime games to Bangor, lost by two points to Edward Little, by six points to Lewiston, and by four points to Brewer
The close loses never deterred the Eagles’ work ethic, McLaughlin said.
“The guys, I’ve got to give them all the credit. We come to practice, and we talk about how we need to improve,” McLaughlin said. “Every day, they come and work out.”
The Eagles have played recently without senior center Elijah Steele, who suffered a badly sprained ankle against Oxford Hills on Jan. 11. Steele returned and played limited minutes against Lawrence and Brewer, but sophomore Nick Mayo stepped up and played very well. The 6-foot-5 Mayo scored 23 points against Brewer.
“Mayo has been playing lights out since Elijah went down,” McLaughlin said. “He’s filling a lot bigger shoes than a sophomore typically would.”
Junior guard Jordon Holmes has been steady offensively, and junior guard Ryan Erskine has played strong defense, typically guarding the opponent’s top player, McLaughlin said.
“It’s been a huge team effort,” he said.
Travis Lazarczyk contributed to this report
Gary Hawkins — 621-5638