BAR HARBOR — The Mount Desert Island boys basketball team isn’t blowing everybody away this winter, but who can argue with the bottom line?
Junior guard Caleb MacDonald scored 11 points Thursday night to lead six Trojans with seven or more points as coach Justin Norwood’s club improved its record to 12-1 with a 55-48 victory over stubborn Old Town at Parady Gymnasium.
The win was the third straight by MDI since suffering its only loss to unbeaten Ellsworth, and was the sixth straight victory by seven points or less for the Trojans, who built an 11-point lead at the end of the third quarter and then withstood an Old Town comeback during which the 4-9 Coyotes had the ball trailing by three points entering the final minute of play.
“We haven’t really been able to put a full game together yet this year,” said MDI coach Justin Norwood. “A lot of it has to do with just having so many injuries and sicknesses and different things happen to us that we really haven’t had the chance to jell yet, but I think you can see in spurts that we can be very, very competitive with anybody.”
MDI, ranked fourth in Eastern B after the win, outrebounded Old Town 36-23, and that inside strength produced a number of second-chance baskets as well as trips to the free-throw line, where the Trojans made 19 of 28 attempts compared to just 2 of 7 for the more perimeter-oriented Old Town squad.
Ryan Lynde added eight points for MDI, while Jayson Burke had seven points and a game-high 12 rebounds and Nick Shaw, Nate Chisholm and Sam Joy also scored seven points each.
“A lot of things have carried us so far, but I think the depth has been the biggest thing,” said Norwood. “And one of the best things about this team is that nobody cares who gets credit. Sometimes we lose focus on that, but when we have that focus that says ‘I don’t care if I’m not playing, I’m going to cheer my teammates on,’ or ‘I don’t care if I’m shooting or not,’ we can be very difficult to guard because we’ve got a lot of guys who can play.”
Garrett Libby led Old Town with 11 points, while Matt Melanson scored 10 points and Kyle Abbott added eight points and five steals.
Old Town jumped out to a 12-6 first-quarter lead behind six early points by Libby, but the 6-foot-4 Lynde came off the bench to score six points in the first 3:15 of the second period as MDI forged a 14-14 tie.
Shaw also scored six points in the quarter as the Trojans subsequently moved out to a 25-20 left before Old Town sophomore Cameron Archer made a 3-pointer with one second left in the half.
MDI threatened to break the game open in the third quarter, outscoring Old Town 15-4 over the final five minutes of the period to take a 42-31 lead. The Trojans’ defense rose to force seven turnovers by the Coyotes, and 3-pointers by MacDonald and Dennis O’Neil also helped MDI create some breathing room.
But Old Town, hoping a victory might put it back in contention for a playoff berth, got two 3-pointers by Gabe Melmed to regain some momentum, and a jumper and a layup by Melanson — the latter basket coming off a fullcourt pass from Archer — followed by a Brian Guay layup drew coach Brian McDormand’s club within 51-48 with 1:17 left.
A 10-second backcourt violation by MDI after a timeout then gave Old Town the ball, but Melanson missed a jumper from the wing and Chisholm and Ben Walls each made two free throws in the final minute to seal the win for the Trojans.