AUGUSTA, Maine — Cody LeVasseur scored just eight points during Schenck of East Millinocket’s post-season surge to the Class D boys basketball state championship.
But the 6-foot-1 senior forward and son of Wolverines head coach Steve LeVasseur proved just as important to the title run as any of his higher-scoring teammates.
Somebody has to do the dirty work, endure the physical battles with much larger opponents to keep them from piling up their own points.
“That’s my job, defense,” said Cody LeVasseur after Schenck’s 65-43 victory over Richmond in Saturday’s state final at the Augusta Civic Center. “I get as many scrap points as I can, but when I come out to play, defense is the first thing on my mind.”
Against Richmond, LeVasseur teamed with frontcourt mates Jared Waite and Terry McCafferty to deny a taller Richmond lineup any con-sistent inside offense, a task made more challenging by the attention Schenck guards Brandon and Eric Theriault and small forward Zach McLaughlin were paying the Bob-cats’ 3-point shooters.
“I think it was probably Cody’s best game,” said coach LeVasseur. “He plugged that middle up. He was undersized, but he moved where he had to move real quickly and he kept a body on [Richmond center Bruce Carver] all game long. He and Jared talk so well on that back line together.”
Richmond shot just 33 percent (4 of 12) from beyond the arc and 38 percent (18 of 48) from the field in the game.
“From watching their games in the [Western D] tournament, we saw they took a lot of 3-point shots,” said McCafferty, “so in our 2-3 zone we had to make sure we stayed outside on their shooters. “
Schenck’s defense, which in-cluded man-to-man and several zones, proved equally stingy throughout the season. The 21-1 Wolverines allowed just 44.5 points per game during tournament play, compared to 42.2 points per game during a regular season in which they finished as the No. 1 seed in Eastern D.
“We’ve been playing the defense for four years,” said Cody LeVas-seur, one of three seniors (along with Waite and McCafferty) among Schenck’s top six players, “so we pretty much know what’s coming most of the time.”
That final defensive effort against Richmond was fueled in part from a quick-strike Schenck offense that raced out to an 11-0 lead in the state final.
“When we jumped out like that, you could just see the confidence in the kids grow,” said coach LeVas-seur. “It picked them up so much. Defensively, we were bouncing, we got three or four steals and some fast-break layups, and we just kept it going.”
Kept it going, indeed, all the way to the program’s first state title since winning the Class C crown in 1994.
“We talked all week about com-ing down [to Augusta] and playing good defense and attacking the boards, and we did,” said coach LeVasseur. “We stifled them on defense, they just never really got anything going, and for us to jump out like we did on offense, that was a big plus in helping our defense work.”