First-year Winthrop coach Todd MacArthur doesn’t expect overnight success from a squad that returns four players from last season’s 7-11 team.

But he does expect progress, and although the Ramblers’ 0-4 record doesn’t reflect it, he’s seeing some.

“They’re giving me 110 percent,” MacArthur said. “They’re coming together as a team. We’re making mistakes, we’re definitely learning from them.”

Freshman Taylor Morang is starting at point guard. At 5-foot-6 and 125 pounds, he’s often at a physical disadvantage, but he too has shown progress.

“He’s doing a really good job,” MacArthur said. “Hopefully he doesn’t make the same mistake twice. He’s headed in the right direction.”

Morang has also scored well, getting a team-high 15 points against Spruce Mountain and double figures in two other games. Senior Tyler Foster is the team’s leading returning scorer and MacArthur is pleased with his progress, too.

“He’s learning to be a leader,” MacArthur said. “That’s a role he hasn’t had to do in the past. I think he’s learning to play harder.”

Foster is also getting it done on the defensive end. In a close loss to St. Dominic, he held scorer Joe Bryant in check.

“His defensive presence allowed us to compete in that game.” MacArthur said.

The new coach has also immersed himself in the youth program and has made it mandatory all his players participate on Saturdays.

“They have a huge impact on the future of the program,” he said of their influence.

• • •

Hall-Dale took its first loss of the season Tuesday night, dropping a 62-51 decision at Boothbay.

“It was a close game all the way,” Hall-Dale coach Jim Patrick said.  “We got into some foul trouble.”

The Bulldogs played without 6-4 junior Sam Shepherd, who is averaging six blocked shots a game.

The Seahawks took advantage of his absence, getting 14 points and 14 rebounds from freshman John Hepburn and 21 points from Ben Dickinson.

Hall-Dale countered with junior Michael Woods, who scored a game-high 26 points. Woods is part of a four-guard rotation that includes Tyler French, Austin Bechard and Ben Crocker. Most of Woods’ points, Patrick said, were the result of layups and tough defense.

“It’s his defense that’s causing his offense,” he said.

The Bulldogs, who play six of their first eight games on the road, travel to Spruce Mountain and Madison next week.

“We’re playing really good,” Patrick said. “A very fast-paced basketball game with a lot of quick guards and a lot of pressure.”
 • • •

It often takes a loss to point out a team’s weakness and Gardiner coach Jason Cassidy thinks he found one in his team’s 64-53 loss at Medomak Valley last Friday.

“They’re a quality team, we knew that,” Cassidy said. “If we want to finish strong we have to add a transition game. We have a team built for it.”

The Panthers played a triangle and two defense on Gardiner’s Aaron Toman and Jake Palmer. Toman finished with 21 points but the rest of the team struggled in its halfcourt offense. Cassidy brings Tyler Jamison and Dennis Meeehan off the bench and both, he said, fit into a running style of play.
Medomak Valley’s lead was 10 points or less throughout the game.

“If they’re the cream of the crop and we keep improving we’ll be able to make a tournament appearance,” Cassidy said.

• • •

Maranacook is getting good minutes from a strong group of sophomores.

After opening the season with a good effort in an overtime loss against Leavitt, the Black Bears stumbled in losing to Gardiner. Since then, they’ve beaten Morse and Oak Hill.

“I wouldn’t say we’re playing better, but it’s nice to get a couple of wins on the board,” coach Rob Schmidt said.

Sophomore Taylor Wilbur is in the starting lineup and averaging double figures while Brad Worster, Richard Hall and Caleb Jackson are coming off the bench. Hall and Wilbur often alternate at point guard when senior Seth Miller is on the bench.

“They’re having some good minutes,” Schmidt said. “I’m real happy with that sophomore class. The biggest surprise would be Brad Worster. He doesn’t make a lot of mistakes.”

The Black Bears have a bye Tuesday before playing at Camden Hills on Friday, Dec. 30.

“I really like the way this team works,” Schmidt said. “They give everything they have every night.”

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638
[email protected]

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