Dirigo’s Alex Gorham maneuvers around Lisbon’s Jonah Sautter during the basketball game Thursday night at Dirigo High School. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)
DIXFIELD — Dirigo’s high-percentage shots weren’t falling at the start of Thursday night’s MVC game with Lisbon. Thankfully for the Cougars, they had the defense to keep the Greyhounds from running away early.
Those shots started dropping in the second quarter. If that wasn’t bad enough news for Lisbon, Dirigo’s defense was tightening its grip even more.
Dirigo outscored Lisbon, 16-5, in the second quarter and rarely let up to cruise to a 54-35 win.
Cooper Chiasson led Dirigo (3-3) with 21 points and 10 rebounds, while Jeremy St. Germain added 14 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks.
“The defense really stepped up a lot tonight,” said St. Germain, a 6-foot-4 junior center. “We just needed to keep shooting (after the slow start). We were getting open shots from the corner every time. Cooper is a very good shooter. And Luke (Lueders) really does a good job of getting to the basket and dishing it off to me.”
Lisbon shot just 2-for-13 in the fateful second quarter, which brought down what would have been an otherwise respectable shooting percentage to 36 percent for the game. The Greyhounds also committed 21 turnovers and had trouble keeping the Cougars, led by St. Germain and Chiasson, off the offensive glass.
“It all started with our defense tonight,” Dirigo coach Travis Magnusson said. “They’ve got some really good players and they shoot the ball well. Chase Clark held one of their key guys to zero (points). Multiple guys held some of their other key guys to single digits. So I just think we did a great job defensively and then offensively stayed patient, kept moving the ball and got good looks.”
D.J. Douglass paced Lisbon (3-2) with nine points, while Jonah Sautter added eight.
“We started out relatively well. We got a little sluggish in the second quarter,” Lisbon coach Jake Gentle said. “You’ve got to give Dirigo all of the credit. They were swarming. They were all around with hands in the passing lanes. They were energetic. Travis does a tremendous job coaching them.”
Leading 11-8 despite shooting just 4-for-15 in the first quarter, the Cougars kicked their offense into gear with back-to-back 3-pointers from St. Germain. Douglass answered a 3-pointer that made it 20-13 Dirigo, but those would be the Greyhounds’ last points of the half.
“We knew that they could really shoot. I think against Boothbay they had 13 threes (in a 64-52 win),” said junior guard Alex Gorham, who had the tough assignment of defending Sautter. “Earlier this week down to Boothbay, our defensive intensity wasn’t really there (in a 65-55 loss), so we knew we had to step it up tonight because (Lisbon) was a stronger offensive team.”
Chiasson fed Gorham for back-to-back hoops to put the margin into double digits, and Chiasson added a pullup jumper to give Dirigo a 27-13 lead at halftime.
Lisbon went inside to junior center Seth Tapley for back-to-back hoops to start the second half and pulled within 10. Consecutive three-point plays by Chiasson and Leuders (nine points, five steals) put the cushion back to a dozen heading into the fourth.
Dirigo sprinted away in the final quarter with an 11-2 run, and picked up some valuable Heal points heading into the holiday break.
“This is a huge win for us,” said Magnusson, whose team also has wins over Oak Hill and Winthrop. “They’re 3-1 coming in and they beat Boothbay. It’s a great way to go into Christmas. We’re really trying to build some momentum.”
Dirigo coach Travis Magnusson psychs up his team during a timeout at a recent game. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)Dirigo’s Luke Lueders hustles ball across the court while Lisbon’s DJ Douglass plays defense during the basketball game Thursday night at Dirigo High School. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)Dirigo’s Alex Gorham goes for a layup as Lisbon’s Seth Tapley tries to block his shot during the basketball game Thursday night at Dirigo High School. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)Dirigo’s Jeremy St.Germainn goes for a layup as Lisbon’s Sean Scott gets a hand on the ball during the basketball game Thursday night at Dirigo High School. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)Dirigo’s Luke Lueders moves the ball down the court during the basketball game Thursday night at Dirigo High School. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)Dirigo’s Jacob Gaudin looks to the basket past Lisbon’s Sean Scott during the basketball game Thursday night at Dirigo High School. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)Dirigo’s Alex Gorham looks past Lisbon’s Hunter Davis for a teammate to pass the ball to during the basketball game Thursday night at Dirigo High School. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)