May 24, 2019
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MDI shuts down Wells to win ‘B’ boys basketball state title

Ashley L. Conti | BDN
Ashley L. Conti | BDN
Wells' Matt Sherburne (left) and Mount Desert Island's Graham Good battle for a loose ball during their Class B boys basketball state championship game at the Augusta Civic Center on Friday night. The Trojans beat the Warriors 59-39. Ashley L. Conti | BDN
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AUGUSTA, Maine — The Mount Desert Island Trojans ended decades of gold-ball frustration Friday night, blitzing past Wells 59-39 to win the Class B boys basketball state championship at the Augusta Civic Center.

Coach Justin Norwood’s club used a run of 17 consecutive points between the end of the first half and early in the third quarter to pull away from the Warriors.

Junior guard Andrew Phelps scored 16 points and Graham Good — one of nine seniors on the MDI roster — added 15 points, 13 rebounds and five steals — to lead the Trojans’ to the most significant victory in school history.

“It’s crazy what you can accomplish with hard work and just being dedicated throughout the season and offseason,” said Phelps. “I don’t even realize what’s happened yet.”

The state title is the first in boys basketball for MDI since the high schools on the island consolidated in 1968. The last state crown for any boys team on the island came when Mount Desert of Northeast Harbor won the Class C championship in 1965.

“I don’t know if I can put it into words,” said Norwood, himself an MDI graduate. “We’ve got an island full of basketball people with a rich tradition. We’ve had a high school since 1968 and no gold balls until now. This is pretty awesome.”

MDI (19-3) also gained a measure of revenge for a 44-0 loss to Wells last November when the two schools met in the 2016 Class C football state championship game.

“The players sort of had it in the back of their minds,” said Phelps, who quarterbacked the MDI football team. “But coach told us to just focus on basketball and not worry about football. That’s over and done with. This is the here and now.”

The Wells basketball team ended its season with a 16-6 record.

Good amassed nine points, eight rebounds and four steals in the first half alone as MDI built a 27-15 lead thanks to a run of nine straight points to end the second period.

“We were prepared,” said Phelps. “We worked hard all week and we knew what we were doing so we had the confidence to come out and play our game and shots just fell.”

Wells narrowed an 18-8 deficit early in the second quarter to 18-15 with a seven-point run that included a 3-pointer by Owen Berry, a follow-up shot by Deandre Woods and two Cameron Cousins free throws.

But the Warriors went scoreless over the final 3:05 of the half, with MDI’s offense capitalizing on several Wells turnovers.

First Phelps drove the lane for a three-point play, then Good twice took steals in for layups around two free throws by senior forward Riley Swanson as the Trojans took control.

MDI then extended its run with the first eight points of the second half, with Good scoring twice — once after another steal — and Phelps burying two 3-pointers off assists from Swanson. The Trojans’ lead grew to 35-15 before Berry ended Wells’ 5-minute, 21-second scoreless drought with a runner from the lane with 5:44 left in the third period.

MDI’s biggest lead was 41-17 late in the third quarter before Wells made a modest comeback behind Berry, who scored 11 of his team-high 14 points after intermission.

Berry’s 3-pointer from the left corner with 4:18 left in the game rallied the Warriors within 47-34, but an MDI defense that allowed less than 36 points per game during its regional tournament held Wells in check the rest of the way.

“I had never been a head coach in a state game, and these kids had never been in this situation before so I didn’t know what to expect,” said Norwood. “But our kids played awesome.

“Four straight games (defensively) under 40 (points). We’ve been pressing all year long and we pressed all night tonight, and they only played seven guys and I felt like we wore them down in the end.”

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