THORNDIKE — One has to navigate many hilly, twisty roads through Maine’s back woods to find Mount View High School. But the Mustangs’ boys basketball team hopes the road to a championship is straight and narrow.

Mount View begins its Class C North title journey on Monday, when it faces second-seeded Fort Kent in the quarterfinals at Bangor’s Cross Insurance Center.

“We’re excited,” Mustangs coach Brandon Hurd said after Wednesday’s 57-38 win over Penobscot Valley in a C North prelim game at a packed, noisy Mount View gymnasium. “We haven’t been there for a couple years. … This has been our goal from the get-go, and now that it’s happening, we’re going enjoy it, and make the most of it.”

Mount View (13-6) is in its first year in Class C after playing in Class B last year, when they went 9-10 and lost in the prelim round. But don’t think the Mustangs have been using Class C teams as punching bags in search of an easy title: 15 of their 18 regular-season foes this winter played in Class B.

And of the three Class C games Mount View played, one was a 60-52 win Feb. 5 over Mt. Abram — which just happens to be the top seed in Class C South. The loss is one of only two suffered by the Roadrunners all season.

“Oh, that was amazing,” said senior guard Noah Hurd, son of coach Hurd, who admitted his team circled that game on their schedule before the season even began. “We had a giant crowd and that was all you can ask for. That night, everyone was clicking, offense and defense.”


Mt. View is powered by its senior backcourt of Hurd and Wyatt Evensen, a pair of spark plugs who have played together since the third grade. Evensen scored 16 points in Wednesday’s win, and Hurd — who joined the school’s 1,000-point club earlier this season — added 13.

But there’s more to this duo than keeping the scoreboard operator busy. While running the point, Hurd can fire a bounce-pass out of the corner of his eye, render an opponent sprawling to the floor with his expert dribbling, as he did Wednesday, and pick off opponents’ passes like a hawkish defensive back.

One of his best passes Wednesday came in the third quarter, when he threaded a baseline pass through the packed Penobscot Valley defense to — who else? — Evensen, who converted the easy layup.

“Since we’ve played together, we basically knew and bonded together so well,” Noah Hurd said. “It’s just easy to know where he is at all times.”

Evensen is no slouch on defense, either. Less than a minute before he converted Hurd’s bit of wizardry, he picked off an errant PV pass in the Mount View lane, rushed downcourt, breezed through a couple defenders and made the layup.

Mount View boys basketball coach Brandon Hurd encourages his payers during a Feb. 15 practice in Thorndike. Anna Chadwick/Morning Sentinel

“We go as they go, so when those two are playing well, it’s only a good thing for our team,” coach Hurd said.


Added Evensen: ““We just know where we are on the court at all times. We’ve got trust in each other, so that definitely helps. I know he can make a shot when he’s feeling it.”

Forward Ben Osborne and swingman Wyatt Bennett also have been valuable contributors this season. Osborne had 10 points and six rebounds in Wednesday’s win, and Bennett had eight points and five boards.

There have been some bumps in the road this season — on Jan. 6, Mount View lost 67-59 to Lincoln Academy, which finished second in Class B South, after leading by six points to the start the fourth quarter — but the Mustangs hope the traveling is safe from this point forward. Mount View won its only state championship in 1987, and the yellowing banner that hangs in the gym is a not-so-subtle reminder.

“We were certainly challenged during the regular season with a B-heavy schedule,” said coach Hurd, who is in his first year on the boys’ sideline after guiding the girls last season. “We’ve been keeping an eye on C North, so they’re no strangers to us. But we knew that we’d be battle-tested, and that’s only going to make us more ready for this playoff push.”

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