Wednesday, March 12, 2014
By Bill Stewart
AUGUSTA — Taylor Wilbur has carried the Maranacook boys’ basketball team to more than a handful of key victories this season.
Thursday night, it was Cam Brochu’s turn to play that role.
The 6-foot-1 junior guard was a factor at both ends of the court, scoring 24 points and grabbing 11 rebounds as Maranacook ran past Dirigo 87-71 in a Western Class C semifinal.
Wilbur finished with 21 points, while Kent Mohlar added 19.
No. 5 Maranacook (16-5) will play No. 3 Waynflete (17-2) in the regional final at 8:45 p.m. Saturday.
“We’re very balanced,” Maranacook Coach Rob Schmidt said. “We’re hard to stop because you can’t focus on one player.”
Riley Robinson scored 28 points for Dirigo (18-2). He fouled out with a little more than a minute left after picking up a technical.
Maranacook trailed by as many as nine points in the second quarter but it closed the half on a 20-7 run and never looked back.
Wilbur, who needs four 3-pointers to tie the Western Class C tournament record of 13, hit his first shot from beyond the arc early in the third quarter to give Maranacook a 48-40 lead.
The Black Bears pushed the lead into double digits, thanks to 3-pointers from Caleb Jackson and Richard Hall.
Brochu then collected an offensive rebound – one of five on the night – and banked home a layup to give Maranacook a 65-49 lead late in the third.
Dirigo rallied in the fourth, pulling to within 72-68 after Robinson buried two free throws.
Maranacook, however, closed the game on a 15-5 run. Brochu punctuated the victory with another putback in the final minute.
“Cam is a great athlete,” Schmidt said. “He has a nose for the ball and is strong to the basket.”
Wilbur drew tight coverage once he crossed half court.
With no room to shoot from behind the arc, Wilbur turned his attention to driving the lane for inside baskets. He helped the Black Bears go up 10-4 when he hit a 12-foot pull-up jumper and then drove to the basket for a layup.
The teams traded baskets in the first quarter, which featured five lead changes.
Robinson, meanwhile, was in a groove early. He scored eight points in the first quarter, including a 3-pointer with 1:15 left that gave the Cougars a 14-13 lead.
Robinson then scored five quick points early in the second to help Dirigo surge ahead 29-20.
But the Black Bears responded with a 14-3 run to grab a 34-32 lead. Brochu started it with an inside basket and capped it with a three-point play. In between, Mohlar buried a 3-pointer and Wilbur carved a path to the basket for a layup.
Kaine Hutchins scored two straight baskets for Dirigo, but the Black Bears went into halftime with a 40-36 lead after Wilbur hit a pair of free throws and Brochu drained a 3-pointer from the wing.
Bill Stewart can be contacted at 621-5640 or at: