A perfect 8-0 record has the Winthrop Ramblers at the top of the Mountain Valley Conference and Class C South standings. And they may be on the verge of getting even better.

Coach Todd MacArthur said he hopes to have senior guard Nate Scott back in the fold some time during a four-game road stretch the Ramblers have Jan. 14-24.

Scott, a 5-foot-9 senior guard, is recovering from a broken leg suffered in the Class D South football final. He will be joining an already deep backcourt led by Jacob Hickey and Bennett Brooks.

“It’s a great problem to have. There are a lot of coaches that wouldn’t complain about it,” MacArthur said. “He’ll find his way into the rotation. He brings a lot to us.” 

Last year, Scott and Brooks split time at point guard, with Scott taking over the starting role late in the season and during the tournament after Brooks was hobbled by a sprained ankle.

MacArthur is particularly grateful that Scott’s biggest impact when he returns should come at the defensive end.

“Defensively, we’re not as good as we were last year, and that’s the growth that we need before tournament time,” MacArthur said. 

“The biggest thing we’re going to get out of (Scott) is ball pressure. He really dictates where the ball is going to go,” he added. “I’m looking forward to having that because defensively we try to do some things knowing what the ball is going to do and he can accomplish that.”

Putting up points

Junior Kyle LaRochelle caught fire this week, averaging 27.7 points in three games for the Rangeley boys.

LaRochelle scored a career-high 32 points in a 57-40 win over Pine Tree Academy on Wednesday. He set a new career-high two days later with 35 points in a 65-51 loss to Vinalhaven on Friday.

The Vikings caught on a bit the following morning when the held LaRochelle to “only” 16 points.

“He had a hard time today,” Rangeley coach Jeff LaRochelle said following Saturday’s game. “They did a box-and-one on him.”

Jeff LaRochelle wasn’t surprised to see that defense, but the Lakers hadn’t had time to practice facing it yet. And, he pointed out, it’s a lot easier to teach the ways to combat it in practice than in huddles during short timeouts.

The Vikings went away from the box-and-one in the fourth quarter, and paid for it. Kyle LaRochelle scored nine of his 16 in the period, and the Lakers managed to overcome a late 12-point deficit to win 55-53.

Young Ramblers

Seniors have been the foundation for the Winthrop girls’ basketball program’s building project that included a season in JV two years ago.

With a 3-3 record so far this season, which already equals their 2015-16 win total, the Ramblers’ seniors have every reason to be excited about seeing rewards for sticking with the program. But they’re also excited about the players who are brand new to the program.

“We’re really excited for a lot of the newcomers,” Bri McClure said.

Several freshmen and sophomores play quality minutes for Winthrop. In its latest game, a 45-38 win over Hall-Dale on Thursday, Winthrop’s youth put on a show. Freshman Kena Souza led the Ramblers with 14 points. Another freshman, Aaliyah Wilson-Falcone, had the team’s second-highest scoring output with eight points. Another freshman, Jillian Schmelzer, was next with seven points.

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