DIXFIELD — Caleb Turner picked pockets and exploded along the baseline for easy buckets. Josh Turbide and Ben Holmes directed traffic on the fast break and drained 3-pointers. Mitch Stanley exhibited his typical right-place, right-time knack under the basket.
Oh, and Cody St. Germain led all scorers and put down a poster dunk.
Senior Night was Showtime at DeFoe Gymnasium. Should we have expected anything less from Dirigo?
The undefeated Cougars made their farewell episode one for the memory bank with a 69-51 win over rival Mountain Valley.
It was the 74th career win for a senior class that also includes Jake Dowland and Nick Blodgett. Left on the agenda for Dirigo (17-0): A trip to Jay to face Spruce Mountain on Wednesday night; an immediate rematch with the Phoenix for the MVC championship Monday in Augusta; and a run at the elusive Class C state title.
A close-knit group that has made oodles of history added another footnote. It’s the first time Dirigo has beaten Mountain Valley three times in a single season.
“We played great. I don’t think we have a whole lot to think about after this game. We beat a Class B team three times,” Dirigo coach Travis Magnusson said. “We came out and shot the ball well. The way we played tonight, if we play them 10 times we’re probably going to win 10.”
St. Germain scored 17 points to go with five rebounds, four assists and three steals.
He applied the exclamation point with an alley-oop jam in the final minute, drawing a hard foul that left the home crowd and Magnusson clamoring unsuccessfully for an additional call.
“It was worth it,” St. Germain said. “It was an emotional night, but we got the jitters out and took care of it.”
Mountain Valley (10-7) reduced a 22-point deficit midway through the fourth quarter to eight with six minutes left before time and energy turned into enemies.
The Falcons lost to the Cougars by eight points and one point in two meetings at Rumford’s Puiia Gym.
“The kids played hard. I’m proud of them. We got it back down to eight and ran out of gas,” Mountain Valley coach Rick White said. “If a couple of calls here and there went our way, it could have been a little closer. We threw a scare into them again.”
Junior T.J. Frost ended a 10-0 Falcons surge with a 3-pointer from the left corner after St. Germain saved a pass from drifting out of bounds near the scorer’s table.
Turbide and Holmes each finished with 13 points for Dirigo.
Eleven of Turbide’s came in the first half, mostly on the strength of three 3-pointers. Holmes also hit two from long range and had nine points at the break, with the Cougars enjoying a cozy 38-21 lead.
“Our last game in this gymnasium and we wanted to go out with a bang,” Turbide said. “We spread the wealth. Defensively we knew we had to guard the 3-point line and we did that, especially in the first half.”
Turner tallied six of his nine points in the opening half. His four steals fueled separate 10-0 and 7-0 runs to help the Cougars rip it open early.
Dirigo forced 10 turnovers and harassed the Falcons into 7-for-23 shooting prior to intermission.
“That first quarter was a killer. We knew coming in that we needed to weather a storm, which we didn’t do,” White said.
“We were hitting shots early and often, and that definitely helped,” added Holmes. “In the first half we played great pressure defense and forced a lot of turnovers. The second half not so much.”
Zak Radcliffe scored 12 of his team-high 14 points in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter for Mountain Valley.
Jacob Theriault and Ryan Nicols each added 13 points for the Falcons. Theriault hit three of Mountain Valley’s seven 3-pointers.
Frost didn’t start for Dirigo in deference to senior Stanley. He brought 11 points, eight rebounds and three steals off the bench.