BANGOR — If things had been a little different, Dalton Gregoire would not have been at Cross Insurance Center on Saturday, at least not in a Forest Hills basketball uniform. As a junior, Gregoire stepped away from hoops to give snowmobile racing a try. This season, Gregoire rejoined the Tigers.

“I love snowmobiling, and my brother was racing. I gave it a try. Basketball is big deal in Jackman, so I came back,” Gregoire said.

Back, and with the rest of his Forest Hills teammates, now Jackman basketball royalty. With Saturday’s 70-65 win over Schenck of East Millinocket, Forest Hills took the Class D state title. The win capped a perfect 22-0 season for the Tigers, winning their first gold ball since 2015 and third since 2013.

Forest Hills’ Brandon Gilboe kisses the Golden Ball after defeating Schenck in the Class D state championship game Saturday at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. Morning Sentinel photo by Michael G. Seamans

Schenck, the No. 4 seed in the Class D North tournament, ends the season at 14-8.

The game was a lesson in everything Forest Hills does well. The Tigers ran, played tight defense, and shared the ball. Four players scored in double digits for the Tigers. Gregoire and Parker Desjardins each had 18, while Brandon Gilboe and Jakob Rivas each scored 15 points.

“It’s an unselfish as a group you could ever ask for,” Forest Hills coach Anthony Amero said. “The term they use is one or one more. It means ‘I’m open.’ They get him the ball. They don’t even have to look. That’s just credit to those kids playing a lot of ball together in the off season.”

A different player led the Tigers in scoring in each quarter. First, it was Gilboe, who scored 10 points in the first quarter. Forest Hills fell behind early, as Schenck was able to maintain the tempo and run with the Tigers for a while.

“It’s very hard to defend us, because we never know who’s going to pop off. I got 10 quick, then Parker in the fourth. It’s hard to figure out who’s who,” Gilboe said.

Down 16-14 after one quarter, the Tigers scored the first seven points of the second to take the lead for good. Offensively, the second quarter belonged to Gregoire, who scored six points to help Forest Hills go to the break with a 33-24 lead. The Wolverines turned the ball over nine times in the second quarter, as the Tigers’ pressure and pace started to take effect.

“We played their style of ball early. We couldn’t get in a rhythm. We had some calls not go our way. Too many fouls, too many mistakes. We did some things we don’t typically do,” Schenck coach Derrick Thompson said.

With Forest Hills focused on stopping Travis Thompson and Tyrone Davis, the Wolverines went to freshman Kaden Hannon for offense. Hannon scored a game-high 22 points, including a Class D state championship game record six 3-pointers, before fouling out with 4:51 left in the game.

“I knew they would bottle up Ty and Travis. They have the horses to do that. I told Kaden, come out and shoot. They’ve been daring teams to shoot threes all year,” Thompson said.

Rivas scored 11 points in the third quarter, helping the Tigers increase their lead to 54-39 going to the fourth. Desjardins scored nine points in the fourth, as Forest Hills held off a Wolverines rally. Desjardins was 7 for 9 at the line in the fourth quarter.

“Like Amero says, they’re going to hit a wall. They’re going to hit a wall. You’ve got to keep going,” Gilboe said.

“When they run, they run. They know what they’re doing. So no, we don’t play anybody like that. Plus you’ve got Desjardins who can handle the rock. He drives the ball better than we thought. We tried to take away his three, so he drove it,” Thompson said.

Forest Hills Consolidated varsity basketball coach Anthony Amero enters the locker room to celebrate the Class D state title with his team Saturday at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. Morning Sentinel photo by Michael G. Seamans

Rivas fouled out with 6:29 left in the game and Forest Hills ahead 57-45. Amero and his assistants had a choice to make. Replace the ball-handling speedster Rivas with eighth grader Mason Desjardins, a better shooter, or the bigger Jeremiah Hale, who could rebound. They went with Hale, who grabbed two boards down the stretch.

“Hopefully, we could run that clock quick enough,” Amero said.

Schenck made five 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, setting a Class D state game record with 11 threes, but could get no closer than the five-point margin of victory. Travis Thompson added 20 points for the Wolverines before fouling out with 47 seconds left.

As the final seconds ticked off the clock, Gilboe turned away from the court toward the Forest Hills fans. With the ball in his right rand, Gilboe extended his arms in victory.

Travis Lazarczyk – 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TlazarczykMTM


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