RUMFORD – Different year, new name, same team, same result in the Mountain Valley Recreational Basketball League.

And so it went this season as the River Valley Merchants, formerly Morgan Concrete, captured yet another crown in the Mountain Valley Rec League. They made it a clean sweep of the league, also going undefeated during the regular season.

Led by league MVP Todd Wheeler, past MVP Scot New, Kevin Gallant (2nd in MVP voting), Craig Milledge (playmaker of the year) and sky walker Eric Canwell, the Merchants solidified their dominance in men’s league basketball over the last decade.

There have been a few new faces over the years, as the likes of Ryan Casey and Wayne Sevigny, to name two, have been replaced by Zach Fergola, Scot Haines and Steve Collette. But this main nucleus of players has shown its resilience throughout.

Showing their character, the Merchants also received the league’s Sportsmanship Award.

In capturing the championship, Merchants (sponsored by Todd Wheeler Excavation, Trendsetters, Laid Back Installers and Oxford County Sheriff’s Department) beat upset-minded Dan’s Automotive, who had stunned second-place Dave’s Sauna of South Paris in the semifinals.

Dan’s was led by Dan Thibeault, Mark Cyr, Rory Dupuis, Adam Curato and league Most Improved Player J.T. Taylor.

Dave’s Sauna also had a league award winner, as Will Graiver was awarded Defensive Player of the Year.

The league’s best wishes also go out to Will’s father, Dave Graiver of Dave’s Sauna, who is courageously battling cancer.

The final was a close game most of the way until Merchants took over part way through the second half and cruised to an 82-65 victory. Canwell led the winners with 32 points. Gallant (14 points), Wheeler (12) and New (11) supported the effort.

With a halftime score of 33-31 and Dan’s actually taking the lead several times in the game, an upset loomed. But some costly turnovers, some forced shots by Dan’s, and solid rebounding and defense in the second half by the Merchants led to the final outcome. Dan’s was led by Thibeault’s 16 points, Curato’s 15, Taylor’s 11 and Dupuis’ 10.

The league would also like to recognize Carmine Ferrante and Steve Lapointe for doing a great job all year officiating games.

Some of the leagues players also participated in an all-star game with the Mountain Valley Falcons senior boys and recent alumni this past on Tuesday as preliminary game to The Harlem Rockets show.

On March 28th, 29th and 30th, the league will host its annual invitational tournament for the benefit of The American Lung Association of Maine, when teams from rec leagues in Central and Southern Maine will compete in an A and B format program.

For more information, please contact Eddie Paterson at 364-9352 or [email protected]

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