BANGOR — After the game, and after all the pictures and interviews, the Old Town boys’ basketball team practiced dunking the ball at one end of the floor Friday night.
The Coyotes didn’t have any dunks in the game. They didn’t need them.
That’s because Old Town had Eric Hoogterp, who scored 26 points to lead the Coyotes to the Class B state championship with a 64-39 win over Poland at the Cross Insurance Center
Old Town, a longtime Class A program, captured its first state title since 1991, when it beat Biddeford in the Class A final.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Coach Brian McDormand. “We had a hard-working group. We’re not done yet. We have some good players waiting their turns.”
“No one thought we would be here but we were,” said Hoogterp, who transferred from Hermon at the beginning of this school year. “We started to pull away in the second half.”
Hoogterp is a junior, as are fellow starters Nick Cowen and Adam Richardson. Hoogterp, a 6-foot-2 point guard, scored 15 points in the first half as Old Town opened a 28-18 lead.
Poland showed some life in the second quarter, then again at the start of the third when it scored the first five points to close to within 30-25.
The Coyotes then went on a 7-0 run, helped when Josh Gary of Poland was called for a technical foul for holding onto the rim.
Garvey Melmed made two from the line after the technical, then Cowen scored for a four-point swing. The next time down the floor, Hoogterp sank another long 3-pointer, his fourth and final one of the game. All his 3s were well beyond 3-point range.
No big deal for Hoogterp.
“I practice them all the time,” he said. “I knew I had to step it up because Garvey (Melmed) was in early foul trouble. He’s been our leading scorer.
“I didn’t have a good Eastern Maine tournament, so I wanted to play well.”
Old Town (18-5), which never trailed, grabbed a 9-0 lead. Poland’s first basket by Alan Young came with 2:14 left in the first quarter.
The Coyotes came out with a half-court press that took Poland out of its game. At the head of the press was 6-4 Mitchell Cole. The Knights eventually solved it, but the press helped set the tone.
“We can do a lot of things defensively,” said McDormand. “Mitchell does a lot of things for us defensively. It took Poland a while to figure it out but they did figure it out. We tried to focus of C.J. Martin.”
Old Town played a box-and-one on Martin, who scored 26 points in the upset of Greely in the Western Maine final. Martin didn’t score in the first quarter but finished with 17 points.
“I knew things looked good for us early,” said Hoogterp. “When we play defense and rebound like we did, we’re usually in pretty good shape.”
McDormand said he was waiting for a game like this from Hoogterp.
“He killed us when he played for Hermon. When he gets to the rim like he did tonight and when he shoots like he did, he’s tough to stop.”
Poland (13-9), which like Old Town came from the sixth seed to get to the state final, saw its magical run end.
“Old Town stepped up and hit some early shots,” said Poland Coach Tyler Tracy. “They outworked us early and I didn’t do a good job preparing us for their triangle-and-one defense. I thought they would do something funky.
“We had moments in the game when we looked like we could make a run. No one really got going. We missed a lot of shots and foul shots, and we got beat on the boards.”
Poland was playing in its first basketball state final.
Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at: