Eastern Class B boys: Medomak Valley ends a long drought
BANGOR — Medomak Valley boys´ basketball coach Nick DePatsy called a timeout in the second quarter. As his players rushed to the bench, DePatsy stood there, arms folded, and glared.
"We weren´t running our offense," DePatsy said. "We were rushing it and we were off balance.
"We knew if we could get the ball inside, and get somebody to step up and hit some shots "
The Panthers finally responded and rallied in the fourth quarter to beat Mt. Desert Island 56-50 on Saturday and win the Eastern Class B championship at the Bangor Auditorium.
Top-seeded Medomak Valley (19-2) advances to the state title game at 9 p.m. Friday at the Cumberland County Civic Center against Falmouth.
MDI, the third seed, is done at 17-4.
Panthers guard Jonathan Henrickson-Belloguet led his team with 16 points, one of the four Medomak Valley players in double figures, with Ryan Ripley (13 points), John Murray (11) and Brandon Soper (10).
The Panthers needed the balance, as MDI played a tight defense on Medomak Valley´s post players, the 6-foot-8 Murray and 6-5 Ripley.
"We thought we put ourselves in a good position to win," said MDI senior 6-5 center Adam Gray, who scored 15 points and played solid defense.
"Murray is one of the best players in the state and we did a pretty good job him. But they hit a couple of shots when it mattered."
Murray, a semifinalist for the Mr. Basketball award given to the state´s top senior, was held to two free throws in the first half and was 0 of 6 from the floor.
"It was a little frustrating," Murray said, "but if I´m not doing good, I get the ball to Ryan. And our guards came up big."
Meanwhile, MDI guard Jon Phelps was snapping off jump shots or driving in for layups, as 14 of his 21 points came in the first half.
"We just tried to put different looks on him," said DePatsy.
Led by Phelps, the Trojans moved from a 15-12 first-quarter deficit to a 29-23 halftime lead. MDI was shooting 50 percent (12 of 24 with three 3-pointers), while Medomak Valley was 35 percent (9 of 26 with one 3-pointer).
Medomak Valley began working the ball into the post in the third quarter but the Panthers still trailed, 39-36.
Then Medomak Valley created a perfect storm of outside shooting and defense. Soper hit a 3-pointer, and Murray also swished a shot from beyond the arc. Henrickson-Belloguet converted a layup off an inbounds pass, and Soper scored another 3-pointer.
The Panthers were pulling away from MDI, which managed only one field goal in the fourth quarter.
With 12 seconds left, Murray sank two free throws for a 54-40 lead. MDI missed its next shot. Boone Olsen rebounded and hit his two free throws.
This will be Medomak Valley´s first appearance in the Class B state championship game since 1980, when the Panthers beat Schenck.
Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or: