April 06, 2020

Crusaders tip hardy Huskies> Mathien tough down the stretch for Bapst

BANGOR – Mike Mathien has one small complaint about his role on the John Bapst boys basketball team.

The problem arose as the junior center stood at the foul line with a one-point Bapst lead and nine seconds left in the Crusaders’ game against Maine Central Institute at Eastern Maine Technical College’s Johnston Gym Saturday night.

“I always get the pressure shots,” Mathien said. “It [stinks], but that’s the way it is.”

There’s a good reason why Mathien takes those stress-filled shots – because he makes them.

Actually, Mathien made just the first shot, but it was all John Bapst would need to secure its 54-52 victory over the Huskies of Pittsfield.

“He’s our go-to player,” said Bapst coach Bob Cimbollek. “If you have to have someone on the line, you want Mike. He had a heck of a game in the second half. They couldn’t stop him and our kids did a good job getting the ball to him, too.”

Mathien poured in 33 points, scoring 13 of Bapst’s 14 points in the fourth quarter alone.

The Crusaders had battled back from a 13-point second quarter deficit to within two at the start of the fourth quarter when Mathien began his barrage.

After Mathien scored to cut MCI’s lead to 43-42, he knocked in the go-ahead basket with 5:81 left in the game. He scored Bapst’s next two baskets and made the next shot and four free throws.

Scott Tremble made a free throw for a 51-46 Bapst lead, the Crusaders’ biggest of the evening.

MCI’s Scott Giallombardo scored on a jumper for the Huskies but Bapst held its lead with 47 seconds left when MCI’s Mike Susi was called for a hold and Mathien made both free throws.

Susi hit two shots for the nailbiting 53-52 John Bapst lead but he was called for his fifth foul with nine seconds left. Mathien’s shot gave the Crusaders the two-point lead, and Scott Giallombardo’s desperation shot and miss gave John Bapst the win.

“We prepared all week for defending that kid,” said MCI coach Bill Brooks. “We said if he starts making shots we’ll adjust and give him a different look. We kept adjusting and he kept making his shots.”

Mathien wasn’t as commanding the first half. The Crusaders got Mathien the ball inside but he couldn’t find the basket, shooting 3-for-11.

“I was off on all my shots,” Mathien said. “I think it was the angle I was shooting. They were hitting the rim and just not going in for me.”

With Mathien quiet from the floor in the first quarter the Huskies jumped out to a 17-8 lead by using a tenacious full-court press and quickness to run the floor.

MCI continued to control the pace in the second quarter and solidified its lead to 24-11. But as Mathien found his shot at the end of the period, John Bapst cut MCI’s lead to 28-22 at halftime.

“We got the ball inside to Mike and that’s money in the bank,” Cimbollek said.

Part of the Crusaders’ first-half problems was the MCI guard tandem of Josh Plamondon and Jeff Giallombardo. They each finished with 10 points and combined for 11 in the first half. Bapst was able to shut them both down in the third and fourth quarters by slowing the game with a zone defense.

“They had to stay in the gaps and they couldn’t use their one-on-one quickness,” said John Bapst guard Bill Ford. “That was pretty much the answer. Then we switched to a 2-3 zone when they had to shoot the outside shot and that forced them to take bad shots.”

Crusaders 54, Huskies 52

MCI (3-4) John Bapst (6-2)


O’Brien 1 1 0 0 2 Healey 2 2 1 2 5

J.Giallmbrdo 4 9 2 2 10 Kirkpatrick 0 1 2 2 2

Vad 2 6 2 3 6 St. John 0 0 0 0 0

Smith 1 6 2 2 4 Ford 1 4 2 3 4

S.Giallmbrdo 2 5 0 0 4 T. Tremble 0 0 0 0 0

Susi 3 4 0 0 6 T. Mathien 1 5 4 5 6

Collins 2 4 1 1 5 S. Tremble 0 0 4 6 4

Cummings 2 7 1 6 5 Schelling 0 0 0 0 0

Plamondon 4 16 2 3 10 Owen 0 0 0 0 0

M. Mathien 12 25 9 13 33

Totals 21 58 10 17 52 Totals 16 37 22 31 54

Maine Central Institute 17 28 42 52

John Bapst 8 22 40 54

3-pt. goals: MCI (0-2): Plamondon 0-2; John Bapst (0-1): Ford 0-1

Preliminary: John Bapst JVs 48, MCI 37

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