AUGUSTA — A stunning 3-point assault is usually enough to get a two-time reigning state champion a tournament win.

It got the Dirigo Cougars close for a while, but not enough to take the lead — and when it stopped, the Mt. Abram boys basketball team ended the game with a rampage.

Mt. Abram survived a barrage of 12 3-pointers before pulling away late to earn a 69-47 win in a Class C South quarterfinal game Monday. The Roadrunners ended the game on a 20-3 run after the Cougars’ hot shooting finally wore off to earn a semifinal date with Carrabec on Thursday.

“Everything they were throwing in the ocean was going in,” said Mt. Abram head coach John Chase. “I gave them the talk at halftime about Brad Stevens and the law of averages and that they weren’t going to keep making them, but for a while, they did, and we had to keep up.”

Mt. Abram’s Payton Mitchell (3) dishes off the ball against Dirigo defenders from left, Brady Philbrick, Dakota White and Owen Smith during the Class C South boys basketball quarterfinals Monday at the Augusta Civic Center. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

Bryce Wilcox poured in a game-high 24 points for Mt. Abram, which also got 20 points from Cam Frost-Grey and 13 from Payton Mitchell. Dirigo scored 17 points (12 of which came on 3-pointers) from Nathan Philbrick and 10 points from Nathaniel Wainwright.

Philbrick got hot early for Dirigo, which got out to a 12-11 lead with the junior sharpshooter scoring 10 of those 12 points. Yet even with the Cougars making four 3-pointers in the opening quarter, top-ranked Mt. Abram (17-2) led 18-17 behind nine points (all on 3-pointers) from Wilcox.


Baskets from Killian Pillsbury and Mitchell to start the second quarter gave Mt. Abram the first two-score lead of the game, but triples from Dirigo’s Ryan Wing and Travis Wright kept it tight at 24-23. The Roadrunners then found some separation, outscoring the No. 8 Cougars 12-4 over the final four minutes of the first half.

Dirigo’s (11-9) 3-point onslaught didn’t stop in the third quarter as it hit three more from beyond the arc over the first 4:10. Still, even with two more 3-pointers in the fourth, the Cougars couldn’t get closer than 49-44 early in the period before Wilcox and Frost-Grey took over to fuel a dominant Mt. Abram spurt to close out the game.

“This team is so athletic and fun to watch, and they showed it there,” said Chase, whose team got countless points on steals and transition layups late with Frost-Grey, Mitchell and Wilcox moving the ball. “The name Roadrunners really fits them because thev’re really got one speed, and that’s run, and that’s what they do.”

Mt. Abram’s win guarantees a new state champion in Class C after Dirigo won the past two titles. The Cougars went 18-5 en route to the 2022 title before going 21-1 to repeat last year, a run that included a 71-63 win over the Roadrunners in the regional semifinals. It was, Chase said, Mt. Abram’s first-ever tournament win over Dirigo.

Last year’s loss to Dirigo stuck with Mt. Abram, which led the Cougars 49-43 after three quarters in that matchup before Dirigo rode a strong fourth to victory. This time, the roles were reversed with the Cougars as the underdogs and the Roadrunners as the top-seeded favorites, and Mt. Abram wanted to play like it.

“We’ve never beaten Dirigo in the playoffs, and that’s something we really wanted to do,” Wilcox said. “We remembered last year, and we wanted to bring it to them. … We had to grind it out, but we stayed back and worked hard on defense. It feels great.”

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