BANGOR — This was not the return to regional tournament play in this city the Maranacook boys basketball team had planned.

The Black Bears have fond memories of the Northern Maine (well, then the Eastern Maine) tournament in Bangor, the place they emerged as regional champs twice in the mid-late aughts. Back in the region again after years in Portland, Maranacook trailed from wire to wire in a 60-52 upset loss to Mount Desert Island.

“We picked a bad game to play our worst game of the season, and it was our worst game of the season,” said Maranacook head coach Travis Magnusson. “(MDI was) very well prepared and knew our stuff really, really well, and that’s a credit to (head coach Justin) Norwood and their kids.”

Jameson Weir had a team-high 15 points for MDI, which also got 13 points from Spencer Laurendeau and eight points and seven rebounds from Jarron Biekert. Keagan McClure had a game-high 16 points for Maranacook as well as seven rebounds, and Brandon Chilton added 13 points.

The start was a rough one for No. 2 Maranacook (15-4), which got its lone points of the first quarter on a Chilton 3-pointer three minutes in as it committed 10 turnovers. Although MDI led just 7-3 midway through the period, the Trojans went on a 6-0 run over the final 2:25 to take a 10-point lead into the second.

“I think it was nerves,” Magnusson said. “That’s what’s great about high school; you never know what’s going to happen, whether you’re going to get your kids best or if they’re going to come out nervous. Ultimately, that’s on me because I didn’t get them ready to play as much as their coach did.”


Maranacook settled into more of an offensive rhythm in the second quarter but couldn’t cut the deficit lower than six points. With Weir terrorizing the Black Bears in the low post for four layups, 10th-ranked MDI (10-10) kept Maranacook at arm’s length to take a 27-17 lead into the locker room.

“Jameson’s footwork is really good; he’s become a very, very good player,” Norwood said. “Jarron, I’ve talked to him a long time about how he has a basketball body that kids would kill for, and when he’s focused and locked in like he was tonight, he can do some really impressive things.”

MDI then exploded for 21 points in the third quarter, leading by as many as 22 before a late 3-pointer from McClure cut it to 19. The Black Bears then cut the deficit back to nine with 3:10 left to play, but the Trojans were solid from the free-throw line the rest of the way to close out the upset.

Maranacook showed plenty of fight in the final quarter, further cutting the deficit to seven points with 42.1 seconds to play on a 3-pointer from McClure . Ultimately, though, the offensive spurt the Black Bears had hoped to find came too late as the team’s 21-point fourth quarter went in vain.

Coming into Class B North after spending recent years in B South, Magnusson said, made Maranacook a bit of an unknown. The Black Bears, he felt, were capable of going all the way in this tournament, but he also knew a fatal slip-up early in the tournament was a possibility.

“I think we are a team that could lose by 15 points in this game but could also go and win a state championship,” Magnusson said. “People will laugh at that, but I firmly believe we could win a state championship with this team. We just did not play our game, but part of that is because they’re well-coached and took us out of it.”

As for MDI, the Trojans will take on third-ranked Old Town (17-2) in Wednesday’s Northern Maine semifinals. The Coyotes were thoroughly impressive in Friday’s earlier quarterfinal game, taking down sixth-ranked Hermon 58-34 with point guard Grayson Thibeault back in the lineup.

It will be a monumental task for MDI against an Old Town team that was at the top of the Class B North standings before Thibeault’s injury. Then again, for a No. 10 seed that had to win a prelim game to get here, so was simply earning a spot in the semifinals in the first place.

“We play tough in every game, and we really believe we can beat any team,” Weir said. “We’re excited to keep on playing, and we just have to play tough defense and then play our game on offense.”

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