In the aftermath of Messalonskee’s 67-65 season-opening overtime win at Mt. Ararat on Friday, talk around Messalonskee centered around Nick Mayo’s 41 point, 16 rebound effort. Specifically, did Mayo set a single-game school record for scoring?

Head coach Peter McLaughlin said he’s not sure. Messalonskee’s records are not complete, McLaughlin said, so he’ll do some research to learn if Mayo broke the record. In the meantime, Friday’s game was a good example of what the Eagles can expect to see defensively from opponents all season as they try to contain the 6-foot-8 Mayo.

“Going into the year, we expected to see a variety of zones,” McLaughlin said.

Mt. Ararat used a box and one, a 1-2-2, and a 2-3 zone to defend Mayo, who has the range to shoot a 3-pointer or play on the low blocks like a traditional big man. Very little worked for Mt. Ararat. Mayo shot approximately 70 percent from the floor, McLaughlin said, and also was 17 for 20 at the free throw line.

“We got him the ball and let him go to work,” McLaughlin said.

Mayo was the only varsity veteran who started for Messalonskee, but McLaughlin liked what he saw out of his young team, particularly defensively.

“We had good shot selection. Our youth showed at times,” McLaughlin said. “Defensively, it was an entire team effort.”

• • •

Madison is off to a 3-0 start, and the Bulldogs are doing it with defense.

In the first three games of the season, Madison did not allow more than 36 points. That came in the season-opening, 73-36 win at Telstar. The Bulldogs followed that up with a 79-29 win over Carrabec, and a 58-29 win over St. Dominic.

Madison has a tough game on Friday, when it plays at also undefeated Boothbay (2-0).

• • •

With just one senior on the roster, defending Western D champ Valley is a young team. The Cavaliers showed their a talented team with a season-opening 75-43 win at Buckfield. After a slow start, Valley started hitting open shots against the Bucks’ zone defense, and pulled away.

“We started out pretty sluggish. I thought Buckfield outplayed us early on,” coach Luke Hartwell said. “We found open looks versus their defense.”

The junior trio of Cody Laweryson, Collin Miller and Luke Malloy accounted for 52 of Valley’s 75 points. The Cavaliers host Vinalhaven this weekend for games on Friday and Saturday. Vinalhaven is 0-2 after dropping two games to Forest Hills last weekend. Cody Hamilton, a 6-2 sophomore, is a strong lefty who can play inside and out for the Vikings, Hartwell said.

“We’ve got to play well to beat them,” Hartwell said.

• • •

Like many high school basketball coaches, Winslow coach Jared Browne sits down with each of his players individually when the season ends and goes over his plan for what the player needs to work on during the offseason. Sometimes, that conversation requires Browne to use his power of persuasion to see that the plan gets off the ground.

When Browne sat down with then junior Justin Martin after last season, Martin didn’t need any convincing, and his offseason regimen has taken his game to another level.

“He’s a really smart kid. He knew what he had to do,” Browne said. “The big thing for him was getting physically stronger. He spent a lot of time in the weight room this summer.”

Martin muscled his way to a strong start for the Black Raiders in last Friday’s season opener, dominating both ends of the floor with 30 points and 20 rebounds in a 73-57 win over Maranacook.

In addition to bulking up, Martin built up his skill level as a member of Carl Parker’s all-star AAU 17-and-under squad, the Maine Athletic Club, which finished 11th in the AAU Division I Grade 11 National Championships.

“He played against some of the best players in the country and that’s how you get better. You get better playing against great competition, and you can tell. From the beginning of summer basketball to now, you can see how much better he’s gotten just by playing against guys that are a lot bigger, a lot stronger and more physical.”

In his first season playing for Parker and third overall in AAU, Martin played alongside Winslow teammate Nason Lanphier, Messalonskee’s Nick Mayo, Matt Murray of Cony and Houlton’s Kyle Bouchard, among others.

“Playing with the best players in Maine really helped my confidence and my play and ability to play under pressure,” Martin said.

Against Maranacook, Martin seemed to be bursting with confidence, especially slashing to the hoop. It’s an aspect of his game that, in the past, he has shown in flashes, but never relied on to the same extent as posting up or jump shooting.

“I don’t know if he’s been very confident with it the last couple of years,” Browne said. “Again, it goes back playing AAU. He’s a 6-foot-6 player, and you’re not going to post up a whole lot at the national level at 6-6. So he played a lot of the wing. He played a lot of wing for us this past summer, too. We know that’s how he’s going to help us. He can post up. He can slash. He can shoot. He’s a great all-around player.”

• • •

Around the state: Defending Class C state champion Houlton opens the season on Friday at home against Mattanawcook Academy. It’s the first of five striaght home games to open the season for the Shiretowners… Defending Class A state champ Portland opened the season with a 72-38 win over Massabesic… It was a yo-yo start to the season for defending Class D champ Hodgdon. The Hawks defeated Katahdin by 23 points (60-37), then lost to Washburn by 37 (73-36).

Staff writer Randy Whitehouse contributed to this report.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM


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