April 23, 2019
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After hard foul, Old Town basketball player may sit out tourney semifinal

OLD TOWN, Maine — Old Town High School senior Mitchell Cole’s availability for Wednesday night’s Eastern Maine Class B boys basketball semifinal is uncertain after he absorbed a hard foul late during the Coyotes’ quarterfinal victory over Caribou last Friday night at the Cross Insurance Center.

Cole’s mother, Terri Stewart-Cole, who reached out to the BDN on Monday, stated on Facebook that the 6-foot-4-inch forward “fell to the floor, was knocked out, split his chin open [and] had six stitches, ending his senior year tourney time more than likely after the incident,” in which her son was grabbed from behind while driving toward the basket for a fast-break layup during the fourth quarter.

Cole attended but did not participate in the team’s practice Monday, Old Town coach Brian McDormand said. Cole is scheduled to see his primary care physician Tuesday.

“Mitch still isn’t feeling great,” McDormand said. “He’s going to be evaluated [Tuesday] and we’ll see where we go from there, but there’s a good possibility he might not play.”

Caribou senior guard Dayne Savage was ejected from the game after the play, and Maine Principals’ Association rules provide that any student-athlete ejected from a contest is subject to suspension for his or her team’s next countable game.

If that game is the final game of a season, as was the case with Caribou’s loss to Old Town, the student-athlete would be subject to suspension for the next countable game he or she would participate in during a subsequent sports season.

MPA executive director Dick Durost indicated Monday afternoon that any decision on possible additional disciplinary action likely would be left to local control.

“We certainly want to give the school the opportunity to deal with the incident,” Durost said. “I’ve had several conversations with Caribou administrators and am confident they are going to deal with it appropriately.”

School is not in session during February vacation week.

Stewart-Cole urged additional disciplinary measures be taken in the matter.

“We need and should not take no for answers, and need for the MPA to actually make a stand that this type of behavior will not be tolerated,” she said.

McDormand said he received a telephone call from Caribou boys basketball coach Chris Casavant on Monday morning.

“We talked for a good hour,” McDormand said. “He was apologetic. It’s part of a coach’s job to be responsible for his players just as I am with my players, and he felt bad because a kid got hurt.

“It was unfortunate, the kid was pretty frustrated for sure, but it wasn’t premeditated. It’s just something that happened.”

Third-ranked Old Town, the defending Class B state champion, was on its way to a 64-55 victory over Caribou when the incident occurred. The Coyotes (18-1) are scheduled to face No. 2 Winslow (17-2) in the regional semifinals at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday.

Cole, a top reserve on Old Town’s 2014 state title team, moved into the Coyotes’ starting lineup this winter and recently was named to the Big East Conference all-defensive team.

Old Town and Caribou have had an intense basketball rivalry during the last two years, with Old Town defeating the Vikings in overtime to win last year’s Eastern B championship game.

The teams met twice during the recently completed 2014-15 regular season, with Old Town winning both at home (66-42) on Dec. 20 and at Caribou (60-53) on Jan. 3.

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