Form — and tradition — held, however, with Dirigo outlasting Wiscasset, 66-56, in Monday night’s quarterfinal clash of Mountain Valley Conference rivals at Augusta Civic Center.
Sophomore Riley Robinson registered 31 points and 10 rebounds for the Cougars (18-1). Gavin Arsenault added 11 points and Dylan Kidder 10. Point guard Tyler Frost dished out seven assists, drew four offensive fouls and made two steals.
Robinson even drew some good-natured ribbing from Dirigo coaches and teammates for drawing a pair of offensive fouls.
“I’m pretty sure those are the first two charges I’ve taken in my life,” Robinson said. “I think we took seven charges tonight, and when you do that, they’re not going to want to drive to the basket.”
The Cougars advanced to the semifinals for the ninth straight year and will face No. 5 Maranacook at 8:30 p.m. Thursday.
Matt Craig and Chandler Longfellow paced the Wolverines (11-9) with 15 points apiece. Dale Peaslee chipped in 13.
Dirigo dismissed Wiscasset by the eye-catching margin of 92-52 on the road during the regular season. Two of the Wolverines’ top players didn’t suit up, however, and the retooled underdogs played far more like a top-four seed than a preliminary round survivor.
“They were missing Peaslee and (Travis) Padilla, and tonight Longfellow shot the ball extremely well,” Dirigo coach Travis Magnusson said.
It was even until midway through the second quarter, when Dirigo went on a binge of 13 unanswered points and took a 36-24 lead into the locker room.
Arsenault’s putback gave the Cougars the lead for good to launch the run. Robinson delivered a 3-point play, and Frost and Arsenault cashed in down low.
Robinson capped it with two free throws and a jumper from the right elbow before Longfellow ended Wiscasset’s drought with a 3-pointer.
“There are some nights I’ll look at the book and say, ‘He scored 30?’ He’s just a scorer, and he does it a lot of different ways,” Magnusson said of Robinson. “He’s just one of the best sophomores in the state and one of the best players in the state, and he had a really big game tonight. But guys got him the ball, too.”
Wiscasset worked that margin back to six points late in the third before an 8-0 push by the Cougars put it away.
Frost drew two of his charges to keep Dirigo’s lead relatively steady through a lull early in the third quarter.
Dirigo forced 21 turnovers in all.
“My main thing is to play defense and bring energy to the team,” Frost said. “I couldn’t get much going offensively tonight.”
Robinson scored the final six points of the third quarter and had 11 of Dirigo’s 15 in the period.
He was 5-for-6 from the line in the fourth.
“Coach Magnusson always stresses playing with intensity and talking on defense, and I really felt we did that tonight,” Robinson added.