AUGUSTA — Years from now, Ben Allen can tell his children that he once made every shot he took and scored a game-high 22 points in a huge win for Winthrop High School at the Augusta Civic Center. The kids may not believe it, but if they do, they probably won’t believe that both Allen and his coach named one of his teammates as the game’s Most Valuable Player.

While Allen shot 9 for 9 from the floor on Saturday morning, Winthrop’s Matt Sekerak made sure Dirigo’s Riley Robinson didn’t do the same thing. Sekerak led a defensive effort that held Robinson in check, and Allen helped shoot Winthrop to a 67-53 Mountain Valley Conference boys basketball victory at the Augusta Civic Center.

“Ben’s such a good jump shooter,” said Winthrop coach Todd MacArthur, whose team improved to 7-0. “When he gets going, he can really get going. He works on his jump shot all the time.”

“I’ve always felt comfortable playing here, and I definitely enjoy coming here every time we do,” Allen said. “Today was a big game, and we knew that.”

Robinson is a big-time scorer and all-around player for the Cougars, but Sekerak helped keep him from getting in a flow. Robinson shot 4-for-14 on the day and finished with 15 points. Eight of those points came in the fourth quarter, which began and ended with Winthrop ahead by 14.

“Matt really understands angles, and then he stays on his feet,” MacArthur said. “And Matt really enjoys playing Riley. He does a good job of not allowing him to get touches on the block, and he did a great job tonight. Many people in here probably don’t realize he’s probably our player of the game.”

“Riley Robinson is one of the best players in the conference, probably one of the best players in the state,” Allen said. “Matty did a fantastic job. Riley’s usually up in the 30s. For Matty to hold him to what he did and play as hard and as well as he did — player of the game for Matt Sekerak defensively.”

The outset of the game was a bit of a mirage, as Dirigo (5-2) opened with 3-pointers by Robinson, Kaine Hutchins and Tyler Frost to lead 11-2 before the game was three minutes old. As the first quarter unfolded though, Dirigo starters Clay Swett, Gavin Arsenault and Hutchins sat down with two fouls. Winthrop went from behind 13-4 to ahead 17-15 at the end of the first quarter on a last-second jumper from the corner by Dakota Carter (12 points).

Anthony Owens, a 6-foot-5 backup center, helped the Ramblers sustain their edge in the second quarter. Owens finished with 10 points and six rebounds, and also blocked two Dirigo 3-pointers, including one by Robinson.

“He gave us incredible minutes,” MacArthur said. “That was the mismatch on the floor. We talked about in our huddle, there was two things that were going to win that game: Anthony was one of them and containing Riley was the other one. We definitely did a good job on both fronts.”

Still, the score was 25-25 with less than three minutes to play in the half. Then Allen started shooting, and everything went in. Allen made jumpers and layups, and was 7-for-7 in the second quarter. By halftime Winthrop was ahead 35-29.

“I shot one, and I was like, ‘All right, I made my one jump shot for the half. Good half,'” Allen said. “I shot the second one, the third. I just kept throwing them up there, and they were going in. The guys got me open. You got to give it to the guys for setting good screens and stuff like that.”

Allen actually had only one field goal attempt in the second half, but it was a 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter and came right after Arsenault hit a three to get Dirigo within 50-39. The Ramblers always had an answer, particularly thanks to a 33-9 edge in free throw attempts. That produced some bizarre statistics, like Winthrop guard Taylor Morang finishing with two field goal attempts, but still ending up with 12 points because he was 10 of 14 from the line.

Dirigo coach Travis Magnusson was called for a technical foul with 5:42 to play in the game and the Cougars trailing by 17, and his team’s final push came soon after. Dirigo went on a 9-0 run to get Winthrop’s lead down to 61-51 with 2:12 still to play, but the Ramblers settled down after that. It’s only a few weeks until they play Dirigo again — this time in Dixfield, on Jan. 19.

“It’s a short turnaround, and I’m sure that there’ll be some adjustments made on both parts,” MacArthur said. “So it should be another dogfight, and we’ll go at it again.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

Twitter: @Matt_DiFilippo

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