AUGUSTA — The top seed going into the Class C South tournament, the Winthrop boys basketball team certainly looked like it Monday night.

Jared McLaughlin scored 18 points, grabbed five rebounds and had three steals, Cam Wood added 17, six boards and four blocks and Winthrop aced its first test of the postseason, defeating No. 9 Dirigo 67-51 at the Augusta Civic Center.

Winthrop, now 18-1, will face No. 5 Traip, which defeated No. 4 Boothbay 70-60, Thursday in the semifinals.

“They’re a really good team. We just came out and played our game,” McLaughlin said. “There’s a lot of pressure (as the No. 1 seed), but we’re comfortable. We like playing in this pressure, we like these big games.”

Dirigo, which got 15 points and six rebounds from Jeremy St. Germain and 14 points from Chandler Redmond, fell to 8-12.

“Winthrop’s a really tough team to come back against,” coach Cody St. Germain said. “Getting out to an early deficit was huge. … That’s really tough against a team that’s so good defensively and cleans up the boards so well.”

Winthrop’s Cameron Wood looks to the basket during Monday night’s Class C South quarterfinal basketball game in Augusta. Dirigo’s Jack Lavorgna watches the play for behind him. Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn

The Ramblers quickly jumped all over their Mountain Valley Conference rivals. McLaughlin knocked down a pair of 3-pointers and had eight points in the first three minutes, staking Winthrop out to a 10-3 lead, and the Ramblers rode that momentum to a 17-11 advantage by the end of the first quarter.

In the second, Wood took over. The 6-foot-8 center had Winthrop’s first four points, six of its first eight and seven overall as the Ramblers worked to a 31-19 advantage at the break, denying Dirigo a field goal over the last 3:53 of the half.

“It doesn’t matter (who scores most). We just work together as a team,” Wood said. “If (McLaughlin’s) feeling it, get him the ball. He’ll shoot and make it. If I’m feeling it in the paint, then give me the ball. It doesn’t matter. Anybody on the team can score at any given moment.”

The Ramblers stretched the gap in the third. Sam Figueroa had a putback and Beau Brooks scored his team’s next three baskets as Winthrop used a 13-5 run to open the quarter and mount a 44-24 lead.

Winthrop’s Jared Mclaughlin powers to the basket during Monday night’s Class C South quarterfinal basketball game in Augusta. Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn

“I liked the way we came out at halftime,” said coach Todd MacArthur, whose team also got eight points apiece from Brooks and Cam Hachey. “That third quarter, I thought we had a heck of a run, and I thought it was initiated by Beau Brooks’s aggressiveness.”

McLaughlin said it was important for the Ramblers to slam the door shut on the Cougars.

“We know what we need to do,” he said. “Second half, you can’t let them get back into it, because everything settles down at halftime and it’s pretty much a new ballgame every half.”

Dirigo didn’t get within 14 points the rest of the way.

“To come back against a team like that, that’s full-court pressing you the whole time, is really difficult,” coach St. Germain said. “I think our boys held in with composure, being down 12 at halftime, and coming back out and really competing.”

It wasn’t perfect. The Ramblers hadn’t played since winning the MVC championship Feb. 9, and MacArthur said that rust showed – particularly on the defensive side.

Winthrop’s Jevin Smith looks past Dirigo’s Alex Gorham to the basket during Monday night’s Class C South quarterfinal basketball game in Augusta. Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn

“The defensive effort probably wasn’t the best. I was expecting a lot better effort defensively,” he said. “We’ve obviously got things to work on and fix before Thursday, but this team’s the type of team where they take their negatives, they take their weaknesses that they did in games. I’ll have their attention tomorrow in terms of what we need to do better.”

Of course, MacArthur acknowledged, just having that tomorrow was the bottom line.

“Anytime in this tournament (where) you win and you move on, it’s a heck of a lot better than saying goodbye to your team,” he said. “We’ll take an ugly win over a pretty loss any day of the week.”

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM

 


Comments are not available on this story.

filed under:

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.