AUGUSTA – There have been whispers about Boothbay Region High School’s current starting five since they were in grade school, getting to know each other’s game at the local YMCA.

The whispers escalated into a howl that could be heard from here to the shoreline Saturday night, when No. 2 Boothbay rallied in the fourth quarter to drop No. 1 Dirigo, 52-45, and pick up its first Western Class C boys’ basketball championship since 2001 at Augusta Civic Center.

Matt Sceviour scored nine of his team-high 13 points in the second half for Boothbay (19-2), which will meet defending state champion Calais at Bangor Auditorium in the Class C finals at 9 p.m. next Saturday.

Kris Noonan added 12 points and 14 rebounds. Owen Johnson, who missed last season with a knee injury, notched seven of his 11 points in the decisive fourth period and hauled down eight rebounds. Johnson took home the Harry C. Edwards Award, symbolic of the outstanding player and sportsman in the tournament.

“I’m not sure how we won the game, to be honest,” said Boothbay coach I.J. Pinkham, who along with Dirigo counterpart Gavin Kane is one of only nine Maine coaches who can claim more than 400 victories. “We lost in the semifinals two years ago and the finals last year. Maybe it was our turn.”

Boothbay avenged both of its Mountain Valley Conference regular-season losses in the space of three nights. Thursday’s 71-46 rout of Winthrop also evened the score after a close loss to the Ramblers in last year’s regional final.

After years of toiling in the shadow of the sisters, cousins and neighbors who brought their school 11 straight girls’ sectional titles, Dirigo (19-2) stepped to the brink of its first boys’ crown since 1983. The Cougars led 40-36 at the end of the third quarter before going cold in the fourth, missing nine of their final 10 shots.

“There are peaks and valleys in a game like this,” Kane said, “and that unfortunately was one of them for us.”

Mike Holmquist scored 15 points and seven rebounds in the final game of his career for the Cougars. Tom Knight, a 6-foot-10 sophomore, also scored 15 points while yanking down eight rebounds and blocking five shots

“Two of these in three days is tough to take,” said Kane, who coaches both teams at Dirigo and saw his girls lose in Thursday’s semifinal to Mt. Abram. “Hopefully we’ll be able to be look back in a couple of weeks and see that we won 19 games and that we had a great season.”

Dirigo rallied from eight points down in the second quarter. Wesley Gagnon’s bank shot 3-pointer with three seconds remaining halved Boothbay’s six-point edge to a more precarious 22-19 at halftime.

Holmquist put Dirigo in prime position to take command with a fabulous third quarter. The senior swingman lit up Boothbay for 13 points. His third 3-pointer of the period found the bull’s-eye from the left corner with three seconds remaining to give Dirigo a 40-36 lead.

Boothbay countered with an 8-0 run to christen the fourth. Sceviour started the surge with his second 3-pointer of the half. Noonan hit the first of two free throws to tie it at 40 and stuck a baseline jumper courtesy of Pat Norton (nine points, eight rebounds) to reclaim a two-point advantage.

“We told ourselves right from the beginning that if we got behind, we were going to come back,” Norton said. “Nobody was going to stop us.”

Johnson upped the margin to four with an authoritative drive along the right baseline and a reverse lay-up.

Dirigo twice trimmed the deficit to three on a free throw by Knight and a pair of freebies from Colby Knapp. Knight whittled it to two, 47-45, when he converted down low after a time out on an inbounds play with 1:23 to go.

The rally fizzled when Johnson sank four more free throws in the final 73 seconds and corralled a big defensive rebound at the other end. The Seahawks enjoyed a significant advantage on the boards, beginning with 15 offensive caroms in the first half.

“We knew that a key was not giving them second and third chances,” said Kane.

Roy Arsenault added seven points for Boothbay. Defensively, Sceviour helped the Seahawks clamp down and limit Dirigo’s starting backcourt of Josh Daley and Spencer Berry to two points.


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