BANGOR — If things had been a little different, Dalton Gregoire would not have been at Cross Insurance Center on Saturday, at least not in a Forest Hills basketball uniform.

As a junior, Gregoire stepped away from hoops to give snowmobile racing a try. This season, Gregoire rejoined the basketball team.

“I love snowmobiling, and my brother was racing. I gave it a try. Basketball is big deal in Jackman, so I came back,” Gregoire said.

His teammates are happy he returned. Gregoire and Parker Desjardins each scored 18 points as Forest Hills won the Class D state championship with a 70-65 victory over Schenck of East Millinocket.

The win capped a 22-0 season for the Tigers, who won their first Gold Ball since 2015 and third since 2013.

Schenck, the No. 4 seed in Class D North, ends the season at 14-8.

The game was a lesson in everything Forest Hills does well. The Tigers ran, played tight defense and shared the ball. Brandon Gilboe and Jakob Rivas joined Gregoire and Desjardins in double figures with 15 points apiece.

“It’s unselfish as a group you could ever ask for,” Forest Hills Coach Anthony Amero said. “The term they use is one or one more. It means ‘I’m open.’ They get him the ball. They don’t even have to look. That’s just credit to those kids playing a lot of ball together in the offseason.”

A different player led the Tigers in scoring in each quarter. Gilboe had 10 points in the first quarter, though Forest Hills fell behind early, as Schenck was able to maintain the tempo and run with the Tigers for a while.

“It’s very hard to defend us, because we never know who’s going to pop off. I got 10 quick, then Parker in the fourth. It’s hard to figure out who’s who,” Gilboe said.

Down 16-14 after one quarter, Forest Hills scored the first seven points of the second to take the lead for good. Gregoire had six points to help the Tigers go to the break with a 33-24 lead. Schenck turned the ball over nine times in the second quarter, as the Tigers’ pressure and pace started to take effect.

“We played their style of ball early. We couldn’t get in a rhythm. We had some calls not go our way. Too many fouls, too many mistakes. We did some things we don’t typically do,” Schenck Coach Derrick Thompson said.

With Forest Hills focused on stopping Travis Thompson and Tyrone Davis, the Wolverines went to freshman Kaden Hannon for offense. Hannon scored 22 points, including a Class D state championship game record six 3-pointers, before fouling out with 4:51 left.

“I knew they would bottle up Ty and Travis. They have the horses to do that. I told Kaden, come out and shoot. They’ve been daring teams to shoot 3s all year,” Thompson said.

Rivas scored 11 points in the third quarter, helping the Tigers increase their lead to 54-39 going to the fourth. Desjardins was 7 for 9 at the free-throw line in the fourth as Forest Hills held off a Wolverines rally.

“Like Amero says, they’re going to hit a wall. They’re going to hit a wall. You’ve got to keep going,” Gilboe said.

“When they run, they run. They know what they’re doing. So no, we don’t play anybody like that,” Thompson said. “Plus, you’ve got Desjardins, who can handle the rock. He drives the ball better than we thought. We tried to take away his 3, so he drove it.”

Rivas fouled out with 6:29 left and Forest Hills ahead 57-45. He was replaced by Jeremiah Hale, who grabbed two key rebounds down the stretch.

“Hopefully, we could run that clock quick enough,” Amero said.

Schenck made five 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, setting a Class D state final record with 11, but could get no closer than the five-point margin of victory. Travis Thompson finished with 20 points for the Wolverines before fouling out with 47 seconds left.


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