High school boys basketball

Familiar foes: Mariners hold tough against Winslow for league crown

Wirkala's impressive second quarter gives Mariners just enough cushion
By Zack Miller | Feb 11, 2018
Photo by: Zack Miller Oceanside's Michael Norton Jr., left, looks to glide past Winslow's Hunter Campbell during a Feb. 10 high school boys basketball game at Cony in Augusta. The Mariners outlasted the Black Raiders 65-58 in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B championship game.

Augusta — There is an old adage that goes: “It’s not about how you start, but how you finish.”

The Oceanside boys basketball team reversed that order a bit on Saturday night, Feb. 10 as the Mariners started strong in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B championship game against familiar foe Winslow, but, their finishing touch was not as great, though good enough.

In the end, the Mariners outlasted the Black Raiders 65-58 to win the league crown at Cony High School.

Click for photos from this game.

Watch video below.

Interestingly, the opponents know each other well and will get more acquainted in the near future. The Mariners and Black Raiders met twice during the regular season and for a third time in Saturday's league final. They will square off a fourth time this winter in the in the regional tournament.

On Saturday, Oceanside led 10-7 after the first quarter, 39-24 at halftime and 47-39 at the end of the third quarter.

“We made a little run, and made a few shots,” said Mariner coach Matt Breen. “We were fortunate enough to hang on. We didn’t execute down the stretch like we should have, but that’s part of the growing process and we’ll learn from it.”

There are no secrets between the two Class B North squads. The teams met during the regular season twice, with the home team winning both contests.

Oceanside won 59-47 on Jan. 2 and Winslow prevailed in the second match on Jan. 15, by an almost identical score — 57-49.

In Saturday's league finale, Cooper Wirkala led Oceanside, and all scorers, with 25 points, while Mike Norton Jr. added 18; Trevor Reed, 12; Amos Anderson, six; and Jack Lombardo, four.

Michael Wildes keyed Winslow with 16 points; Colby Pomeroy, 14; Jackson Morneault, 11; Hunter Campbell, 10; Keenan Janeski, four; and Spencer Gordon, two.

The Mariners finished 16-of-21 (80 percent) from the free-throw line, while the Black Raiders were 4-7 (57 percent) from the charity stripe. That was key, since Oceanside outscored Winslow 16-4 from the charity stripe, but was outscored 54-49 from the floor.

Oceanside started the contest like a bullet shot from a gun.

Pomeroy opened the game with a 3-pointer, but after that it was all Mariners. Reed scored the first bucket for Oceanside, after he corralled the rebound from a Lombardo missed 3-point attempt.

Norton Jr. got a put-back bucket of his own the next time down the court to give the Mariners the lead, followed by two buckets by Anderson, and another made shot by Norton, which completed a 10-0 run, and put Oceanside on top 10-3.

Winslow scored four unanswered points to close the first quarter, but the second stanza saw the Mariner offense go into high gear, thanks to the hot shooting of Wirkala.

The 6-foot 5-inch guard poured in 17 of his 25 points, which also included 13 straight points for his team.

“You know Coop can go off,” Breen said. "We just need people to step up and make plays when its their turn.”

Oceanside took a 15-point lead into halftime, and the Mariners needed every bit of that cushion the rest of the way.

The hot shooting of the first half was non-existent in the second half and seemed to migrate to Winslow’s locker room.

The Black Raiders came out firing, and hitting, to the tune of 15 third-quarter points, while Oceanside netted just eight, as the Mariner lead shrank to eight.

Wirkala’s hot streak came to an end, as he tallied one point off a free throw, while Norton added two points, and Reed five in the third stanza for the Mariners.

Wildes tried to lead the Black Bear comeback, as he scored nine points in the final frame, but the Mariners made their free throws down the stretch.

The Black Raiders fouled late in the game, as they continued to chip away at Oceanside's advantage with just minutes to play, but the strategy backfired.

Coach Matt Breen’s club scored nine of the team’s 18 fourth-quarter points from the charity stripe, which proved the difference.

There is still one more match to be played between the opponents, though. The teams will meet for a fourth, and final, time this season, in the quarterfinals of the Class B North playoffs, on Saturday, Feb. 17 at 1:35 p.m. at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.

Just because the opponent have played three times this year, does not mean either of the squads have completely tipped their hand.

“We did not run any plays, and I’m sure they (Winslow) did not run any (that you will see Saturday in the regional tournament),” Breen said. “I’ve seen some of the stuff they run and they didn’t show any of it tonight.”

“It’s unfortunate the two teams couldn’t come out and just battle like they would in a real game,” Breen said. "Both teams played hard and it was entertaining.”

Oceanside versus Winslow boys basketball
Oceanside versus Winslow on Feb. 10 in boys basketball at Cony in Augusta. (Video by: Zack Miller)
Oceanside student fans travel well — as they are out in force at the league championship game in Augusta. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Oceanside's Trevor Reed, right, and Winslow's Ryan Gagnon, among others. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Oceanside's Michael Norton Jr., left, Cooper Wirkala, back, and Leo Reid, right, along with Winslow's Hunter Campbell (5) and Spencer Gordon, right, among another. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Oceanside's Trevor Reed, front, Michael Norton Jr. and Leo Reid, along with Winslow's Spencer Gordon. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Oceanside's Cooper Wirkala, left, and Winslow's Michael Wildes. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Oceanside's Cooper Wirkala, left, and Winslow's Michael Wildes. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Oceanside's Cooper Wirkala, left, and Winslow's Michael Wildes. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Oceanside's Michael Norton Jr., left, and Winslow's Keenan Janeski. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Oceanside's Trevor Reed, left, and Winslow's Justin Laflamme. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Oceanside's Michael Norton Jr., left, and Amos Anderson, right, along with Winslow's Keenan Janeski. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Oceanside's Cooper Wirkala, front. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Oceanside's Michael Norton Jr., left, and Winslow's Spencer Gordon. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Oceanside's Trevor Reed. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Oceanside's Jack Lombardo (10) and Winslow's Jack Morneault (15), among others. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Oceanside's Leo Reid, left, and Winslow's Colby Pomeroy. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Oceanside's Michael Norton Jr., left, and Cooper Wirkala hold the league championship plaque. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Members of the Oceanside High School boys basketball team, champions of Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B for 2017-18. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Comments (1)
Posted by: Gary W. Skarka | Feb 12, 2018 09:58

Congratulations Oceanside!!  Congratulations to Coach Breen and his staff.  They always produce a winning product!!

 



If you wish to comment, please login.