AUGUSTA — Midway through the winter, Valley boys basketball coach Mike Staples sat down with sophomore guard Harry Louis for a heart-to-heart.

“I really think he’s more of a shooting guard, and I think that’s what he would like to play, but we’ve told him, ‘you are the point guard,’ ” Staples said. “He’s got the skills for it, but I don’t know if he’s really got the heart for it. We sat down, just him and I, and I just told him that was the position we needed him to play. He really has kind of settled into it the second half of the season.

“You saw the evidence of it (Wednesday). When he takes charge and the guys listen to him, we run pretty smoothly.”

Louis scored a game-high 27 points and expertly facilitated the top-seeded Cavaliers transition, paving the path to a 76-36 rout of No. 5 Wiscasset in a Class D South semifinal at the Augusta Civic Center. Valley (16-4) advanced to its third straight regional final, where it will meet St. Dom’s (19-1) Saturday afternoon.

“I think a big part of being a good team is everyone defining their roles,” Louis said. “I tried to figure my role out the best I possibly can. The first half (of the season), I was kind of playing my game but it wasn’t really affecting the team as much. Coach gave me a header, and now I’ve been trying to do what he told me to do.”

Valley led 38-19 at halftime against the Wolverines, but it was in the third quarter that the Cavaliers really stretched their legs. They employed a full-court press for the first time and it paid off with six points from Louis and — perhaps more importantly — four assists. Louis found Fisher Tewksbury and Collin Nichols, among others, for layups in transition.

Valley’s Fisher Tewksbury is introduced with teammates before a Class D South boys basketball semifinal game against Wiscasset on Wednesday in Augusta. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

The buckets were part of a 15-6 Cavs run interrupted only by a pair of Landin Shirey (16 points) three-pointers.

Tewksbury finished with a double-double (20 points, 13 rebounds) despite missing nearly a full quarter due to injury in the first half and was a key component in Valley’s 38-24 rebounding edge over the course of the contest.

“We were moving the ball around, getting good shots and everyone was having a good time,” said Louis, who spread his scoring out with 17 in the first half and 10 in the second. 

Wiscasset (10-10) closed the opening quarter with a 9-2 run to pull within 15-13, but the Wolverines mustered only 12 additional points between the first period’s final buzzer and the final two minutes of the third.

Valley forced Wiscasset into 26 turnovers. When the Wolverines did get shots, they struggled to get them to fall — going just 14 of 47 (29.8 percent) from the floor.

Valley’s Ryon West, left, and Wiscasset’s Tucker Davenport fight for a loose ball during a Class D South boys basketball semifinal game Wednesday in Augusta. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

“Our defense is really what puts our offense on,” Louis said. “When we’re getting steals, you can see it. We’re getting transition buckets.”

Nichols added 10 points and six boards for Valley, with Jared Ricker and Hunter Mills chipping in with eight and six, respectively. Ryon West scored just one point but he did pull down six boards.

After finally being free of the Parker Desjardins and Hunter Cuddy-led Forest Hills era as its regional final opponent, St. Dom’s presents an entirely new challenge Saturday.

“This is a tough team,” Staples said. “St. Dom’s is big, they’re long, they’re quick and they’re athletic. It’s going to take hard work.”

For senior-less Wiscasset, Jevar Garricks ended his day with 10 points.


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