As the season nears the midway point, games begin to take on a greater meaning for teams jockeying to move up the tournament ladder.

In Farmingdale tonight, it will be a meeting of old friends when Wiscasset visits Hall-Dale for a key Western Class C matchup. Hall-Dale coach Jim Patrick and first-year Wiscasset coach Dana Lawrence played basketball together at Gardiner and both also got their coaching careers started there.

Hall-Dale is 5-2 after playing five of its first seven games on the road while Wiscasset is 2-4. The record for the Redskins is a little deceiving since they’ve lost close games to some of the better teams in the Mountain Valley Conference.

“I think maybe they’re starting to buy into Dana’s coaching philosophy,” Patrick said. “He likes to teach that hard-nosed man-to-man defense.”

The Bulldogs have a deeper bench and hope to wear their opponents down. Patrick uses a nine-man rotation and generally subs every four minutes which allows his team to play an uptempo offense and defense.

“When you’re deep it’s easier to win close games,” Patrick said. “Every night it’s a different two or three guys.”

In Tuesday’s win against Madison, juniors Zac Plummer and Sam Shepherd scored 17 and 13 points, respectively. Shepherd also added 16 rebounds and five blocked shots.

“Sam’s been really consistent lately,” Patrick said.

• • •

Maranacook (3-4) cold use a win tonight at home against Oceanside (4-3) a first-year school that is a combination of Rockland and Georges Valley. The Black Bears are battling a variety of injuries.

“We’ve got everything from concussions to shin splints to sore hips,” Maranacook coach Rob Schmidt said. “It’s crazy. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Starting sophomore guard Taylor Wilbur has missed two games with concussion like symptoms but Schmidt hopes to have him back tonight. At least three reserves are also out of the lineup. The Black Bears are coming off losses to Camden Hills and Nokomis in which turnovers hurt them. They committed 28 against Camden Hills.

“We handled their press very well but that wasn’t the problem,” Schmidt said. “The problem was when we got over half-court.”

They also played sloppy ball in Tuesday night’s 59-51 loss to Nokomis.

“We got it to four (points),” Schmidt said. “We just couldn’t put a string together and score.”

One bright spot in both games was the play of center Kyle Boucher. The 6-foot-6 center scored 31 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked seven shots against Camden Hills. Against Nokomis, he scored 20 points, had 10 rebounds and blocked 12 shots.

“He was all over the place in the paint,” Schmidt said.

• • •

After a couple of big wins against Cony and Oxford Hills, Erskine (4-3) had a letdown at Brunswick on Tuesday and was beaten 60-39. The Eagles played without center Tyler Belanger who banged heads with a teammate in practice Monday and sustained a cut that required 13 stitches.

“In all honesty it probably wouldn’t have made a difference,” Erskine coach Ben Willoughby said. “They played well and we did not play well.”

The Eagles host Skowhegan (2-5) which is coming off wins against Messalonskee and Brewer. The Indians are led by 6-4 senior Levi Barnes who is one of the more explosive scorers in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference’s Class A division.

“This kid can score 35 or 40 on any given night,” Willoughby said.

Willoughby is undecided if he’ll have senior Shyler Scates guard Barnes. He guarded Cony’s Walker Cooper in a big win over the Rams recently and also turned in a strong offensive game.

Scates leads the team in scoring at 14 points a game, but he’s had plenty of help from Tom Grady, Devin Duncan and Belanger,

“We had four players in double figures against Oxford Hills,” Willoughby said. “The key for us this year has been balance.”

• • •

A win tonight at home against Bangor could turn Cony’s season around. Cony (2-5) are is off a loss to unbeaten Hampden in which it led at the half.

“I think their size wore us down after a while,” Cony coach Tim Bonsant said. “We got some good looks in the second half, we just couldn’t knock them down.”

Bonsant is looking for a consistent scorer to complement senior Greg Cooper. Senior Josiah Hayward has had some big games — 26 points against Mt. Ararat — and at other times has struggled.

“He didn’t play much last year,” Bonsant said. “I think he’s still getting used to the Class A game. I think he’s getting better every practice.”

Junior Zach Lachance has heated up lately from the perimeter and has hit seven 3-pointers in his last two games. Bonsant said. Sophomore Alex Neill and juniors Chandler Shostak and Kyle Elvin are also playing well.

“We’ve really improved since the beginning of the year,” he said. “I just think the league is unforgiving.”

Bangor (6-2) has struggled a bit since losing three players, including two starters due to training violations. The Rams are coming off a loss against Lawrence, but still are formidable along the front line with 6-7 Patrick Stewart and 6-4 Ellis Throckmorton in the lineup.

“They’re huge,” Bonsant said. “We’ve got to be able to box out.”

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

[email protected]


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