6-1 Lynx enjoying strong start

Posted Jan. 07, 2009, at 8:48 p.m.

The Mattanawcook Academy boys basketball team figured to be in a state of transition this winter.

Four starters had graduated off last year’s Eastern Maine Class B semifinalist team, a contingent featuring Bangor Daily News All-Maine choice Derek Libbey, now playing postgraduate basketball at Maine Central Institute in Pittsfield.

And head coach Rick Sinclair, who guided the Lynx of Lincoln to a 67-33 record in five years, left during the summer to become athletic administrator and boys basketball coach at John Bapst of Bangor.

But shed no tears for the remaining Lynx, who improved their record to 6-1 with a 48-47 victory over Central of Corinth on Tuesday night.

“I knew that we had a good chance to get off to a good start,” said Ryan Libby, the program’s former junior varsity coach who was promoted to the varsity post this year. “We were playing some teams we’ve had good success against in the past.”

MA’s lone returning starter is senior guard Brady Vose, the second-leading scorer in the Big East Conference ranks as a junior.

While not benefiting from Libbey’s presence this season, Vose has continued his high-scoring ways — with a 35-point outburst in a 72-64 victory over MDI on Saturday night not only matching his career high but also leaving him as the conference’s top scorer at more than 20 points per game.

“I knew Brady would do his thing,” said Libby. “The key was we needed a couple of other guys to step up and score to take that pressure off Brady.”

That help has come from several sources, among them senior forward Kane McKinnon and junior guard Lance Bernier. McKinnon has averaged double figures in both scoring and rebounding in recent games, while Bernier has also been a timely scorer for the Lynx.

Other key contributors have included Wayne Campbell, Logan Hanington, Shawn Cahill, Devin Delaite, Colt Vicaire and Nate Ireland.

“Even though a lot of these guys didn’t get a lot of varsity time before, they’ve been in the system and been with me, so I think we all felt comfortable going into the season,” Libby said.

MA continues a busy schedule this week, with a home game against Old Town on Thursday before a road game at Bucksport on Saturday.

The Lynx, ranked just 11th in the Eastern B Heal points, also face a rugged second half of the season including two games apiece against Presque Isle and Hermon, one game against twice-beaten Ellsworth and two games against Class C rival Lee Academy.

“If we can protect our home court, it could send us on a pretty good roll, not that these are easy games by any means,” said Libby.

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