The midpoint of the high school basketball season is proving just as unpredictable as its outset — save for the fact that perhaps the home-court advantage is alive and well.
The Bucksport Golden Bucks, who have won more than four games in a season just once in the last four years, improved to 4-6 under first-year head coach Josh Tripp with a 61-59 double-overtime victory over 7-2 Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln.
Foxcroft Academy, which won just five games over the last three seasons combined, earned its fifth victory of the season with a 42-27 victory over visiting Caribou.
But likely the most notable outcome came in northernmost Maine, where Madawaska sent Calais to its first regular-season loss in nearly four years with a 49-32 victory over the Blue Devils.
Calais had won 59 consecutive regular-season games since a 65-50 loss to Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln on Jan. 31, 2005, and had 65 consecutive games overall against regional foes since a 52-32 loss to Penquis of Milo during the 2005 Eastern Maine Class C quarterfinals.
The latter streak included nine Eastern Maine tournament games en route to state championships in 2006 and 2007 and a third straight EM crown last winter.
Coach Don Deschenes’ Madawaska club took control early in the foul-plagued matinee, with its rangy 2-3 zone defense relegating Calais to the perimeter and limiting the Blue Devils to just 11 field goals during the contest.
“Things just went our way,” said Deschenes, who also credited his team’s ability to overcome Calais’ full-court defensive pressure as crucial to his team’s success. “It’s a long trip to come up here.”
The Owls also benefited from balanced offense, as 6-foot-5 junior center Jamie Cyr led the way with 12 points and 13 rebounds while 6-3 sophomore forward Deejay Gendreau added 11 points and 10 rebounds. Madawaska also got 10 points from 6-2 senior Brandon Bosse and nine points from 5-10 guard Adam Desrosier.
“It’s special for us,” said Deschenes. “It shows the kids that anything is possible.”
While Calais was playing just its fifth game of the season — the 4-1 Blue Devils faced 7-1 Narraguagus of Harrington on Monday night — Madawaska surpassed the midpoint of its schedule with its game against Calais, as the victory improved the Owls’ record to 6-4 entering Monday night’s game against Van Buren.
The victory over Calais also should prove quite beneficial in generating Heal points for Madawaska, which finished 10-8 a year ago but failed to qualify for the Class C playoffs because of a schedule heavy in Class D opponents.
The Owls also own a win this season over Houlton, which led the most recent Eastern Maine Class C Heal points thanks in large part to an early season victory over Presque Isle, 10-1 and ranked among the leaders in Eastern B.
“Beating Calais is very important for us for Heal points, because I’m sure they going to win a lot more games,” said Deschenes, whose team has won six of its last eight games since opening the season with back-to-back losses to Houlton and Eastern Class D-leading Fort Fairfield.
Madawaska is scheduled to travel to Calais for the rematch on Jan. 24.
“Our kids are excited about playing them again,” said Deschenes.