They call him “Practice Mike.”
Sure, lots of Northern Maine basketball fans have heard about Parker Deprey, Sawyer Deprey and Alex Bouchard, all of whom were part of Caribou’s drive to the Class B state championship last season.
On Wednesday night, another lesser known player shone under the bright lights of the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.
Mike Brigman connected for five 3-pointers in the second quarter, helping top seed Caribou build an insurmountable lead on the way to a 73-32 semifinal victory over No. 12 Old Town.
Brigman wound up going 5-for-8 from the 3-point arc on his way to a game-high 17 points, a mark he shared with senior standout Parker Deprey.
“I just come in and play my role, whatever coach thinks is best,” Brigman said.
“You’ve really just got to block out the fans and feel like you’re in an empty gym. I felt like I shot really well.”
The Vikings take a 19-1 record into Saturday’s 3:30 p.m. regional championship game against No. 2 Ellsworth, a 54-34 winner over Washington Academy of East Machias in Friday’s other semifinal.
The upstart Coyotes, who had a handful of players dealing with the flu, finished the season at 11-10.
Deprey pulled down 13 rebounds and added two assists, two steals and a blocked shot. Sawyer Deprey contributed 12 points and six rebounds and Bouchard chipped in with nine points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals.
“We call him ‘Practice Mike’ because he’s usually the opposing team’s best player in practice and he absolutely lights us up every single night,” Caribou coach Kyle Corrigan said.
“This is kind of a glimpse of what he does. He shot the 3 well tonight, but he’s actually really good off the dribble, too.”
Coach Garrett Libby’s Coyotes (11-10) were dealing with a handful of players with the flu. They were paced by eight points and six rebounds from Shawn Hoogterp and five points apiece by Mike Brown (5 rebounds), Ethan Hayes and Matthew Seymour.
Caribou dominated the rebounding 46-27.
Caribou started well, but Old Town hung around well into the second quarter. A rebound basket and free throw by Bryce Richards at the 5:20 mark trimmed the Vikings lead to 22-16.
Over the last 5:02 of the half, Brigman helped Caribou end the suspense. He drained the second and third of his 3-pointers during a 48-minute span, then Ethan Holdsworth made two foul shots to put the Vikings on top 30-16.
Old Town countered with four unanswered points on baskets by Brown and Hoogterp, but Caribou unleashed a 14-1 burst over the last 2:11 of the half. That included two more 3’s by Brigman, who made a contested shot from the top of the key at the buzzer to make it 44-21.
“Hand in his face, the guy didn’t bite on his pump fake, [and] he still found a way to get it in,” Corrigan said.
Caribou prevailed in the only regular-season meeting against Old Town, winning 78-58 on Feb. 1 at Old Town.