PORTLAND, Maine — Caribou High School may only win a state championship in boys basketball every 50 years, but the Vikings sure know how to do it in style.
Five decades removed from Mike Thurston’s shot from beyond the midcourt stripe at the Bangor Auditorium to lift Caribou to the 1969 Class LL state crown, a youthful band of Vikings under a first-year head coach took on their tallest challenge of the winter and outlasted Cape Elizabeth 49-47 in double overtime in Saturday’s Class B title game at the Cross Insurance Arena.
“I don’t think any of us saw this coming from the beginning of the season,” said Caribou junior forward Parker Deprey. “We came off a 6-12 season last year, and nobody was counting on us to do anything this year.
“But it means everything for us to win this game, and not just for the players and the coaches. We’ve had people who’ve lived their whole lives and not seen Caribou win the gold ball, so this feels great.”
Austin Findlen, the lone senior starter for Caribou, scored a team-high 13 points while Duprey finished with 12 and junior guard Alex Bouchard added nine for the 19-3 Vikings, who rebounded from a 3-3 start to win their last 16 games.
Cape Elizabeth (14-8) got a game-high 18 points and 15 rebounds from 6-foot-9 senior center Andrew Hartel before he fouled out with with 2:17 left in the second overtime.
“Give [Caribou] credit for the defensive pressure they put on but we didn’t get the ball reversed enough to both sides of the floor to make them adjust their defense and give [Hartel] more space inside,” said Cape coach Jim Ray, whose team sought its first gold ball since 2015.
“Obviously our goal was to get the ball inside and attack the rim more, and we really didn’t do a very good job of it.”
Making life more difficult for Cape’s top weapon was Caribou’s youngest starter, 6-foot sophomore Sawyer Duprey, who helped limit Hartel to 12 shots.
“We knew he was probably going to be their go-to option,” said Duprey. “Coach (Kyle Corrigan) told me before the game you have to be physical, you have to be strong.”
“I think Sawyer had the game of his life defensively,” Corrigan said.
Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...
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