There was plenty of offense, with Riley Robinson and Dylan Kidder combining for 44 points, while the team’s defensive pressure was equally effective in a 74-52 triumph over Madison at DeFoe Gymnasium on Monday.

Dirigo (10-1) entered the contest with a chip on its shoulder after having lost to Hall-Dale last Friday. It was the Cougars’ first MVC regular-season setback of the season.

Madison bore the brunt of Dirigo’s frustration.

The Cougars’ execution was evident in the second quarter, when Robinson and Kidder scored 18 of the 20 points in the frame to help Dirigo pull ahead by double digits. A 12-3 run produced a 30-17 lead midway through the period, with Robinson finishing fast breaks and Kidder dribbling in on the baseline and scoring on an underhanded lay-up.

“We were able to get out and run,” said Robinson, who scored 26 points, had eight assists and three steals. “That allowed us to score off our transition game.”

Madison (5-5) was able to stay within striking distance behind four 3-pointers in the first half, two by Jared Miller (nine points) and one each by Derek LeBlanc and Dustin West (six rebounds). The Bulldogs made nine of 25 shots in the first half, but was mostly limited to one shot per possession.

“We weren’t happy with our defensive transition game in the first half,” Madison coach Mike Packard said. “Of course, what also hurt was only getting one shot and done. But, credit Dirigo. They played us hard and deserved to win.”

Dirigo made 10 of 17 shots in the second quarter and received strong hustling plays by Kidder, who finished with 18 points and six rebounds.

Nick St. Germain scored following a bullet pass from Kidder to give Dirigo a 38-22 lead at half time.

“Yes, we sure do like to run,” Dirigo coach Travis Magnusson said. “But, we really focused on our halfcourt defense because we hadn’t played that well against Hall-Dale. If (the outlet) was there, then we would run.”

This style of play provides Dirigo with options of either going inside or stepping outside.

“We need to decide when to go big or small,” Magnusson said. “Nick St. Germain (six points, four rebounds) is giving us good productive off the bench, as is Clay Swett (seven rebounds), and they give us size. We still need to work that out, but the good thing is we have not peaked, yet.”

The explosiveness carried over with Gavin Arsenault lofting-up a high-arching three-point basket from long range to put Dirigo ahead 43-22 early in the third quarter. The wealth was spread with baskets by Kane Hutchins (11 points, seven rebounds), St. Germain (six points), Swett, Seth Child and Gavin Hebert.

Madison refused to quit and trimmed the deficit to 14 points in the fourth quarter. Nicholas Morales drained two treys and Mark Linkletter (nine points) added a trey. Dirigo made nine of 10 free throws and shot 52 percent, but committed 10 of its 20 turnovers in the fourth quarter.

“No one likes to lose,” Robinson said. “We did not play that well at Hall-Dale and it cost us, but we (refocused) tonight and picked up a ‘W’.”


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