The Dexter High School boys basketball team celebrates on Feb. 22 after the Tigers' thrilling 50-48 victory over Central Aroostook in the Class C North championship game at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. Credit: Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times

Expect a defensive battle when Dexter and Winthrop meet in the Class C boys basketball state final 8:45 p.m. Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center.

Undefeated Dexter (21-0) allowed only 33.8 points per game during the regular season and limited three North tournament foes to 46.3 points per outing as the Tigers secured their first regional championship since 2005.

Senior guard Nathan Richards paces the Dexter attack while Haedyn Guenther, Robbie Dorman and brothers Will Kuznierz and Brett Kusnierz give coach Peter Murray’s club a deep frontcourt nucleus.

Junior guard Parker Ponte adds an additional defensive presence as well as a timely shooting touch after making game-winning 3-pointers in both Dexter’s 55-52 semifinal victory over Fort Kent and its 50-48 championship-game win over top-seeded Central Aroostook of Mars Hill.

Reigning Class C state champion Winthrop (20-1) made the most of its fifth consecutive trip to the South final with a 39-30 title-game victory over Waynflete of Portland.

Cam Hachey led coach Todd MacArthur’s Ramblers with 19 points, including a 9-of-10 effort from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter.

The Ramblers allowed just 79 points in its three tournament victories, an average of 26.3 points per game.

Ryan Baird, a 6-foot-5 senior who had 21 points, 15 rebounds and five steals in Winthrop’s 40-25 semifinal victory over North Yarmouth Academy, suffered a right ankle sprain in the first quarter of the regional final and left the contest. His status for the state final is unknown.

Ernie Clark

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...