The 2009-10 season was a good one for the Winslow High School boys basketball team. The Black Raiders won 12 games and reached the preliminary round of the Eastern Class B tournament.

Coming into the 2010-11 season, coach Scott Wood felt the Black Raiders could do better.

“One of our goals was to get one of the top six spots, and not have to play our way to Bangor,” Wood said. “Every night you have to be ready.”

Winslow did just that, going 15-3 in the regular season to claim the No. 5 seed in the regional tournament. The Black Raiders went on to finish 16-4, reaching the East B semifinals for the first time since 2004.

Along the way, the Black Raiders overcame a three-game midseason losing streak and picked up key wins against some of the top teams in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference.

For his work in guiding Winslow to its best season in seven years, Wood is the Morning Sentinel Boys Basketball Coach of the Year. Also considered were Mike McGee of Lawrence, Carl Park of Nokomis and Peter McLaughlin of Messalonskee.

Winslow opened the season by winning eight consecutive games. “Before Christmas, we played some close games and made some comebacks,” Wood said. “I look at it like, the more wins you get early, in the first five or six games in the season, that’s money in the bank. You have those while you improve.”

A stretch of three straight wins on the road in early January — at Lincoln, Oak Hill and Gardiner — showed Wood that his team had the potential to make a run in the playoffs.

“When we won at Gardiner, I thought, ‘Wow, we might have something special here,’ ” Wood said.

There was the one hiccup in the regular season, a three-game losing streak that began with a loss to eventual undefeated state champion Camden Hills. After close losses to Medomak Valley and Maranacook, Winslow started a second eight-game win streak with an important victory against a good Leavitt team.

“To bounce back against Leavitt, that showed we had potential,” Wood said.

In the playoffs against Medomak Valley, Wood showed the ability to adjust. The Black Raiders worked the ball inside against the Panthers, and that opened up guard Justin Murray on the perimeter. Winslow avenged the regular-season loss with a 64-58 win over Medomak.

“We came out in this game really ready to go,” senior Mike McCann said following the win. “In the regular season, they came out on a 13-0 run on us.”

Wood credited his assistant coaches — Jimmy Poulin, Wally LaFountain, Pete Bolduc, Rusty Mercier and John Nivison — for much of the Black Raiders’ success.

“Day in and day out, I learn a lot from them,” Wood said. “Having a group of guys who understand what we’re trying to do makes it so much easier.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

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