AUGUSTA — Dirigo counts on defense, namely forced turnovers, to fuel its high octane attack in boys’ basketball.

There were only two problems on Thursday night. Waynflete didn’t make mistakes, and the Flyers did make shots. The result was a convincing 60-45 victory by the No. 4 seed against the top-ranked defending champions in a Class C South semifinal at Augusta Civic Center.

“They have such good guards that it’s hard to turn them over, and that creates a lot of our offense,” Dirigo coach Travis Magnusson said. “Some of our half court pressure we couldn’t really do against them, so that made it tough. We weren’t as aggressive as we normally are, because we couldn’t be.”

Waynflete (18-2) committed only five turnovers in the game and shot 11-for-16 in the second half on its way to the regional final for the third time in four years. The Flyers will face No. 2 Winthrop at 9 p.m. Saturday.

All six players in the Flyers’ regular rotation made a hefty contribution.

Yai Deng led Waynflete with 14 points, including two 3-pointers, the first of which gave the Flyers a one-point lead at the half.


Abel Alemayo added 13 points, six assists and four steals. Will Nelligan notched 10 points. Willy Burdick drained six free throws in the fourth quarter and finished with nine points.

Christian Brooks contributed six of his eight points in the third period and led the defensive charge with Milo Belleau against Dirigo star Riley Robinson.

“It was just intensity. Robinson is a hell of a player,” Deng said. “Christian Brooks showed out as a sophomore. He tried his hardest, and we just preach help side and team defense.”

Robinson racked up 19 points, nine rebounds and four assists for Dirigo (18-2). He finished his sensational career with 1,969 points and received a standing ovation from fans on both sides of the auditorium as he left the game.

“In my mind, I think he’s the best player that’s ever played at Dirigo, one of the best players in the state,” Magnusson said. “When you get a guy that works as hard as he does, in season and out of season, it’s a pleasure to coach.”

Waynflete trailed 18-11 after Gavin Arsenault’s baseline jumper to start the second quarter. The Flyers answered with a 10-0 run, triggered by back-to-back 3-pointers from Burdick and Nelligan.


Belleau’s jump shot gave the Flyers their first lead. Dirigo took it back on a Robinson drive and a Gavin Hebert 3-pointer, only to watch the 6-foot-4 Deng deliver the surprise dagger at the horn.

“Even though we’ve got experienced players, it’s something different to play on this court against this team, especially because we faced them in a very similar situation last year,” Waynflete coach Rich Henry said. “The guys were keyed up, you could kind of tell in the first quarter, but they did a magnificent job in the second quarter and the second half.”

Alemayo drained two 3-pointers and Brooks made hay in the low post to create more space in the third period.

After Clay Swett’s layup cut the gap to 38-32 with 1:30 left, Waynflete scored the next dozen to put it away early. Deng scratched out seven, including another of the Flyers’ seven 3s.

“What we didn’t do a great job at is keeping guys in front of us. We got a little too far away from our guys on key possessions, but they still had to make the shots,” Magnusson said. “They made a ton of shots. We had some matchup problems, but when we went zone they hit a couple of shots, too, so what are you going to do?”

Cooper Chiasson canned two 3-pointers as Dirigo embarked on its typical start. It was 8-2 after a long pass from Robinson to Luke Lueders for a layup.


Robinson scored eight in the period, including a 3-point play to put the Cougars up 13-6. He also hit a 3-pointer as time expired.

“He’s a class player, and they’re a class program,” Henry said. “We just tried to contain him and make him work for his shots. There’s no way you can stop him. You just try to manage the fouling and keep him off the line and from scoring 3-point plays.”

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