AUGUSTA — Like a Mike Tyson fight at the zenith of the former world heavyweight champion’s career, Thursday’s Class C South boys basketball semifinal between Dirigo and Mt. Abram was over in a flash.

A frenzied first 89 seconds set the tone for the remainder of the evening, as the No. 3 Cougars started quickly and didn’t quit accelerating until the final buzzer sounded on an emphatic 66-38 thrashing of the No. 7 Roadrunners at the Augusta Civic Center. Three different players finished with double digits for Dirigo (16-5), including junior guard Dakota Tompkins with a team-high 15.

“It all started with our energy on the bench,” said Tompkins, who scored the first six points of the game, first converting an old-fashioned 3-point play before knocking down a triple from the right elbow. “We just kept it going. Once we kept the lead up, we focused on extending the lead and not letting up.”

That quick 6-0 run at the start set Mt. Abram on its heels the rest of the way, and the woe was compounded by three Roadrunner turnovers on their first three possessions — including a pair of backcourt violations.

And if falling behind 19-11 after one period had Mt. Abram reeling, Dirigo delivered the knockout blow with a 10-2 run in the second quarter that sent it into the break with a 34-17 lead.

Dirigo junior Charlie Houghton capped the quarter with a 3-pointer with 36 second remaining. He finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds, including nine points and five rebounds in the second period alone.


“Charlie’s done a lot of scoring in the last few years,” Dirigo coach Cody St. Germain said. “I think today, we saw what we’ve seen all throughout the year — he’s gotten used to a lot of pressure thrown onto him. He’s gotten better and better as the season’s gone on at moving the ball to other guys.

Mt. Abram’s Kayden Pillsbury, left, plays defense on Dirigo’s Dakota Tompkins during a Class C South boys basketball semifinal Thursday at the Augusta Civic Center. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“By getting the ball out to our 3-point shooters, that opens everything up for him inside. He’s done a really good job of managing the game and picking and choosing his spots to take over.”

Mt. Abram (13-8) averaged 86.0 points per game through the first three rounds of the regional tournament. Houghton’s ability to both score inside and create second and third chances for Dirigo at the offensive end of the floor kept the Roadrunners from ever settling into a rhythm or pushing the pace they wanted to play at.

“We knew we had to control the pace,” Houghton said. “It wasn’t really me having my way, it was the team knocking down the (outside) shots early. Then (Mt. Abram) couldn’t collapse down on me. Once everyone started getting going, I just started finishing.” 

Dirigo led Winthrop by a similar margin after one half in the regular season meeting between those teams, only to see the lead slip away for a Ramblers’ comeback victory.

Dirigo’s Charlie Houghton shoots against Mt. Abram during a Class C South boys basketball semifinal Thursday at the Augusta Civic Center. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

The Cougars learned their lesson, outscoring Mt. Abram 22-8 in the third quarter. Tompkins, Nathaniel Wainwright (14 points) and Trent Holman (9 points) all drilled 3-pointers in a span of 2:21.

“We were ahead by 17 at halftime against Winthrop, the exact same lead, and they beat us,” Houghton said. “We’ve been down that road and we didn’t to go down that road again, especially not in a big game like this.”

Dirigo’s 56-25 lead through 24 minutes was its largest lead of the night.

Payton Mitchell led Mt. Abram with 12 points, while Adam Luce finished with nine.

Related Headlines

Comments are not available on this story.