It always is dangerous and a bit foolish to predict how a basketball campaign will play out based on a handful of early-season games because many factors can change the dynamic of winter's weekly court outcomes and, thus, the final official tournament standings, but most involved with the sport agree that, when all is said and done, Mount Desert Island and Oceanside should play a role in this year's Class B North boys hoop championship quest.

That is why the Friday night, Dec. 15 regular-season game — only the second for the Mariners and third for the Trojans — was so anticipated.

As it turned out, the game was exciting and tight throughout the early stages, but the Trojans proved more consistent — and connected on more of shots — to earn a 62-48.

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The game was circled on the schedule because the Mariners spent recent years in Class A North and annually challenged for regional and state championships in that class. Oceanside dropped back to Class B this year.

And, of course, MDI (3-0) is the defending state Class B champion.

With Friday's loss, Oceanside dipped to 1-1. The Mariners had not played an official game since a week earlier when it opened the season with a home victory over Waterville, but had a second game postponed on Tuesday, Dec. 12 due to inclement weather.

The talented opponents will face off in what will be a Heal Point-worthy rematch on Jan. 6 at 5 p.m. at MDI.

Friday's contest was tight in the early going. The Trojans led 12-10, 28-27 and 39-32 at the quarter breaks.

Keying the Mariners, who got plenty of good scoring looks but struggled overall shooting from the floor, were Cooper Wirkala and Michael Norton Jr. with 16 points; Jack Lombardo, eight; Trevor Reed and Jack Freeman, three; and Leo Reid and Amos Anderson, one.

The game marked the return of Norton, who had missed the team's first game with a high ankle sprain. The senior showed he was back and ready to play with an emphatic dunk off a steal with 3:01 left in the fourth quarter.

That dunk sent the Mariner crowd into a frenzy and appeared to give Oceanside the momentum to make a last-ditch comeback, but that emotional lift proved fleeting as the Trojans proved too steady and resilient.

The Mariners netted six treys, including three from Wirkala, and 11-of-18 foul shots (61 percent). Wirkala scored 10 points in the first half and six in the second, while Norton tallied eight in both halves.

For MDI, Andrew Phelps tallied 13 points; Owen Mild, 11; Finn McConomy, Drew Shea and Derek Collin, eight; Brett Duley and Colby Lee, four; and Eli Parady and Dana Vanzura, two.

The visitors made only one 3-pointer, that from Shea, but were content to work for higher percentage two-point hoops. MDI finished 15-of-24 (63 percent) from the free-throw line, including 11-of-14 (79 percent) in the fourth quarter.

Phelps (11 points) and Mild (7 points) keyed for the visitors in the second half. Phelps, McConomy and Mild combined to make 11-of-13 foul shots (85 percent) in the final eight minutes.

Additional statistics for the Mariners included Reed (7 rebounds, 3 steals), Wirkala (2 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals), Norton (6 rebounds), Josh Peaco (6 rebounds), Anderson (4 rebounds), Reid (3 rebounds) and Freeman (3 rebounds).