DIXFIELD — There’s no easy way to prove it, but it’s unlikely that any
basketball team in Maine — regardless of region, classification or
gender — is keeping pace with the Mountain Valley High School boys’
average of 75 field goal attempts.

And so if it had been possible to hear yourself think Tuesday at
sold-out Defoe Gymnasium, you might have discovered the Falcons asking
nobody in particular: So what if our first 10 went clink, rattle and
booing?

“We just keep shooting. That’s our offense,” said Mountain Valley sophomore Izaak Mills. “You can’t stop shooting.”

Mills practiced the preaching he’s heard since the Falcons adopted
hoop’s equivalent of the run-and-shoot offense last summer. He scored
13 of his 16 points in a 4-minute, 22-second span of the fourth
quarter, hoisting undefeated Mountain Valley to a 64-57 victory over
neighbor and rival Dirigo.

Mountain Valley (17-0) trailed by three points to start the final period before Mills went berserk. 

He prefaced the drama with a steal and coast-to-coast layup. Mills’
three free throws after he was fouled in the act of shooting beyond the
arc tied the game at 50.

Mills then drained consecutive 3-pointers, both from nearly the same
sneaker tracks on the right wing and each funneled through Cam Kaubris,
to put the Falcons in front for good.

“People don’t realize that percentage-wise, he’s our best 3-point
shooter,” Mountain Valley coach Rick White said of Mills. “And he
doesn’t care. That’s our philosophy. We don’t care who takes the shots.
The only bad shot is a contested one.”

And both Mills’ treys, like his layup and a short jumper in the
paint that came later, were launched with nary a Dirigo defender at
arm’s length. 

That’s because Kaubris kept the ball long enough to draw the Cougars
(13-4) into a half-court trap. Plus, after scoring nine points in the
second quarter and seven more in the third on his way to a team-high 19
points, Kaubris was a likely candidate to unleash any decisive shot.

Not with a lonely Mills standing in the shadows, though.

“He’s had a couple of big games before this,” Kaubris said. “I knew
he was going to have another one pretty soon. When Jake (Arsenault) got
his fourth foul, we needed someone to step up.”

“They’re not a team you want to play from behind,” said Dirigo coach
Dave Gerrish, formerly in charge at Mountain Valley. “We were fighting
from behind and trying to trap a little bit, and we just didn’t get out
on the shooter. The Mills kid hit a couple of big ones down the
stretch.”

Tyler Chiasson chalked up 20 points, 12 rebounds and five assists in
his final home game for Dirigo, the reigning Western Class C champion
and likely No. 2 seed in the upcoming tournament.

Eric Bolduc added 13 points and six rebounds. Nic Crutchfield combined eight points with six boards.

Dirigo took advantage of Mountain Valley’s early cold snap to lead
by as many as eight, 17-9, on Cliff Turner’s 3-pointer with 1:20
remaining in the quarter.

But Mountain Valley hit five of its last six shots in the period,
capped by Brady Fergola’s inside bucket and Mills’ first trifecta of
the night, to get within three.

“I remember Andy Bedard missing his first six shots in a state
championship, and he wound up scoring 53 in that game,” said Kaubris,
whose father, Matt, coached the Falcons to that Class B title in 1994.
“He and Coach White and my sister (former Dirigo and Bowdoin College
star Alexa) all give me the same advice, that all of us just need to
keep shooting.”

Mountain Valley snagged its first lead at 23-20 on Kaubris’
traditional 3-point play after one of Mills’ six steals. Bolduc’s own
3-point play briefly restored the Cougars’ edge before the half, but
Kaubris’ two free throws sent the teams to the locker rooms knotted at
31.

Dirigo twice went up by five points in the third quarter before
Kaubris’ personal 7-3 run (3-pointer, fadeaway jumper, steal and
breakaway deuce) steadied the Falcons’ deficit at 48-45 before the
horn.

“I knew somebody had to do something, or they were going to play
that stall-ball,” said Kaubris. “And nobody does that better than Coach
Gerrish.”

Mountain Valley awaits the Falmouth-Cape Elizabeth game later in the
week to find out whether it will be the No. 2 or No. 3 seed in Western
B.

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