WATERVILLE — If this is Parker Desjardins with a sore shoulder, the East/West Conference is in trouble.

Desjardins, a junior guard on the Forest Hills High School boys basketball team, is the offensive catalyst for the Tigers, and has been for some time. Desjardins was a starter and the team’s leading scorer in eighth grade. Earlier this season, he scored his 1,000th career point. Desjardins would have hit the milestone last season as a sophomore had he not missed much of his freshman season with a broken foot.

Whether he’s driving the lane or taking a deep 3-pointer, Desjardins has a nose for the basket. Even after missing Forest Hills’ last three games with a right shoulder injury, that scoring knack, that scoring persistence, was on display in the defending state champion Tigers’ 80-43 win at Temple Academy on Tuesday night.

Desjardins scored a game-high 40 points, nearly matching the Bereans on his own. He scored 17 points in the first half, then 17 more as the Tigers pulled away in the third quarter, then added a pair of 3-pointers early in the fourth before spending the last four minutes of the lopsided game on the bench.

“For him, he’s just been chomping at the bit to get back out there, because sitting for him is not his cup of tea. He’s ‘I play seven days a week and take shot after shot after shot,'” Forest Hills coach Anthony Amero said.

Desjardins injured the shoulder in a fall in the Tigers win over Richmond on Jan. 3.


“I felt my shoulder move in a way it’s not supposed to move,” he said. “It feels a lot better.”

Desjardins wore a brace on his right shoulder, and early in Tuesday’s game, it looked as if he was undergoing a getting-to-know you phase with the new equipment.

“It pulled my follow through to the left side of my body,” Desjardins said about how the brace altered the shot he’s practiced for hours on the hoop above his garage. “It was weird at first, but I got used to it.”

Desjardins didn’t register a point until he hit a layup with 1:12 left in the first quarter. Making that easy bucket was like taking the governor off Desjardins’ basketball engine. He made another layup with 53 seconds left in the first to tie the game at 14-14, then after making a steal, scored again 18 seconds later. Desjardins added another bucket with 7 seconds left to score eight consecutive points and give the Tigers an 18-14 lead, and the lead for good.

Known as one of the top perimeter shooters in Class D, on Tuesday Desjardins did most of his damage in the paint. At 5-foot-10, Desjardins plays bigger, driving the lane with a tenacity that may look out of control, but in total control. Desjardins twists his body, looking for any crease in which to slip past a defender and any angle from which to put up the shot. Maybe he’ll kiss the ball off the glass and bank it in. Maybe he’ll float the shot over a bigger defender so it falls through the cylinder like a raindrop.

Mason (Desjardins, Parker’s younger brother) and Hunter (Cuddy), they spread the defense so well, I have wide open lanes to drive,” Desjardins said.


Cuddy and Mason Desjardins are strong scorers in their own right and must be accounted for by Forest Hills opponents. Cuddy scored 37 points in Saturday’s win over Greater Portland Christian. The first time the Tigers faced Temple, Mason Desjardins scored 35.

“(Mason) really has come into his own. Teams know that changes the defensive philosophy. Before they were leaving him open, and he was our secret weapon a little bit, because we knew what he could do. Now teams have to adjust their game plans, and it’s tough. It’s tough because we’ve got three guys who could put up 35 apiece,” Amero said.

“It wasn’t fun (missing games) but my teammates stepped up,” Desjardins said. “They played great against Greenville (a 60-58 win and the Tigers only game within 10 points of a now 12-0 season).”

Desjardins’ 17 points in the third quarter helped Forest Hills put the game away. Desjardins has had the shoulder brace for a week now, Amero said, and is starting to get used to it. That and adding 25 pounds of muscle to his frame in the offseason has been an adjustment.

“(The shot) looked pretty good in practice, but you get into a game and game speed, you have to get it off a little quicker. I think he was just out of rhythm. It’s funny, he backed up. He took one from a little further out to find his rhythm,” Amero said.

Desjardins is going to find his shot, sore shoulder or not. If he finds it in February, the Tigers can make a run at another state championship.

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