July 24, 2019
BANGOR DAILY NEWS (BANGOR, MAINE

Katahdin uses tough defense to beat Easton> Cougars play Valley next

BANGOR – The kind of defensive pressure that Katahdin exerts on its opponents isn’t that rag-tag, run-and-gun, wall-to-wall kind of pressure that leaves a team suddenly stunned and trailing.

Katahdin’s defense – the piece of its game that paved the way to a 55-37 win over Easton in the Eastern Maine Class D championship game on Saturday, is more subtle than that.

Coming at you from multiple looks, this “D” isn’t flashy.

But make no mistake: Slowly, patiently, and ineoxorably, this “D’ will get you.

Maybe it won’t hold you to four first-quarter points, or 10 points in the first half, like it did on Saturday, but it’ll get you. Count on it.

The Cougars of Sherman Station forced 26 turnovers – nearly all of those while thoroughly disrupting Easton’s halfcourt offense – and limited the Bears to just 27 percent shooting in the game (15 for 15).

In the first half, the Cougars were even more bloodthirsty, holding Easton to 4-for-23 shooting (17.4 percent) and running up a 22-10 lead. The Bears never got any closer the rest of the way.

Top-seeded Katahdin (19-2) will face Western Maine champ Valley of Bingham for the state title at 3 p.m. Saturday at Augusta Civic Center. No. 6 Easton finishes up at 14-7.

“It was all defense,” said 6-foot-4 senior Ryan Robinson. “That’s what wins most of our ballgames. We don’t score real high … it’s always our defense that pulls it out for us.”

Robinson scored 13 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and was one of the defense’s catalysts, as the Cougars didn’t let their size advantage keep them from defending tenaciously.

Robinson, 6-4 junior Chris Robinson and 6-3 classmate Dan Cullen shut down the Easton inside attack not by playing behind the Bears and blocking shots, but by stepping into passing lanes and making sure the ball never got close to the hoop.

Junior guard Brandon McCarthy, who paced the offense with 24 points and 10 rebounds, said the quickness of the Katahdin post players makes it tough for opponents.

“You’ve got to block cuts. That’s the name of the game,” McCarthy said. “You can’t let them get to where they want to be. If you do that, you’ve won, and hopefully you get some steals. That’s the way it worked [today].”

Did it ever.

The Cougars allowed the Easton frontcourt starters just 22 shots at the hoop and gave up just 16 points to that trio.

“Defense will keep you in games when your offense is not clicking,” Katahdin coach Bill McAvoy said.

Though they struggled a bit on their own offensive end, Katahdin pounded the glass hard enough to make up for a 39-percent shooting day.

Katahdin outrebounded the Bears 49-37.

“Physically, they’re just a little bit stronger than us,” Easton coach Scott Young said. “They pushed us all over the court. Basically, they put us in the position we didn’t want to be instead of us putting them where they didn’t want to be.”

The championship was the first in any class for Katahdin since 1985, when it won the Class C crown.

Easton guard Marcel Chalou pointed out the fact that both teams will return most of their rosters next year – Katahdin loses just Ryan Robinson while Easton’s only seniors are Matt Hopkins and Mike Ireland.

“We just couldn’t handle them this time,” Chalou said. “All I’ve got to say is, hey, we’re only juniors. We’ll be back.”

Cougars 55, Bears 37

Easton boys (14-7) Katahdin (19-2)

Name G AG F AF TP Name G AG F AF TP

Hopkins 4 14 1 1 9 Stevens 0 1 0 0 0

Chalou 0 3 0 0 0 Perry 0 2 0 0 0

Osgood 2 7 1 2 5 C. Robinson 4 6 0 0 9

Perry 2 4 1 2 6 McCarthy 10 21 3 4 24

Carlow 1 6 0 0 3 R. Robinson 5 13 3 3 13

Ireland 0 3 0 0 0 Willigar 0 0 0 0 0

Lamoreau 2 9 1 3 5 Atkinson 0 1 0 0 0

Blackstone 3 6 0 1 6 McNally 0 2 0 0 0

Hewitt 0 1 1 2 1 T.Rodgerson 0 1 1 2 1

Carbone 1 1 0 0 2 Cullen 2 6 0 1 4

St. Jean 0 1 0 0 0 Heath 0 1 2 2 2

Cyr 0 0 0 0 0 Cyr 0 0 0 0 0

Kelley 1 2 0 0 2

Kelley 1 2 0 0 2

D.Rodgersn 0 1 0 1 0

Totals 15 55 5 11 37 Totals 22 57 9 13 55

Easton 4 10 25 37

Katahdin 11 22 40 55

3-pt. goals: Easton (2-13): Hopkins 0-2, Osgood 0-2, Perry 1-3, Carlow 1-4, Ireland 0-2; Katahdin (2-11): Perry 0-1, McCarthy 1-5, R. Robinson 0-2, Atkinson 0-1, Heath 0-1


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