Wol Maiwen has been wowing basketball fans with his thunderous dunks all season. But the Edward Little sophomore became an internet sensation virtually overnight thanks to one that he missed.

During the Red Eddies’ 77-53 win at Noble on Jan. 6, the 6-foot-4 Maiwen tried to dunk an alley-oop pass from teammate Samatar Iman on a breakaway. He went up a little too strong, however, and the ball bounced high off the back of the rim.

Still hanging from the front of the rim with his left hand, Maiwen, who has a 6-foot-9 wing span, reached back with his right hand, caught the ball and jammed it through successfully on his second attempt.

“I guess it was just instincts kicking in,” Maiwen said. “I wasn’t really thinking.”

The basket didn’t count because Maiwen was hanging on the rim, resulting in an offensive goaltending call. But it was caught on video http://tinyurl.com/SJwoldunk and, like virtually everything else these days, posted on social media.

The video made the rounds, picking up momentum when it was posted on House of Highlights, then exploded when it was picked up by Bleacher Report.  

In a true sign of the video’s cyber imprint, it’s even inspired some good imitation vines https://twitter.com/AzFinestMixtape/status/821761818053865472

Maiwen is trying to keep his new-found fame in check, although his teammates (Iman called him “Mr. Bleacher Report”) continue to have fun with it.

“I just try to not let it get into my head, trying to not make it bigger than it is,” Maiwen said.

While rightfully excited for the attention the video has received, Maiwen is quick to note that it probably wasn’t something he’d want to repeat. Coach Mike Adams would rather he made the first dunk try.

“Before that, coach told us not to hang on the rim,” Maiwen said. “At halftime, we were talking about touching the rim because we had a technical before that (for hanging on the rim).”

 Adams gently reminds Wol that a legal alley-oop dunk would get some clicks, too, but is happy about the buzz Wol’s improvisation brought to him, the team and the school.

“It’s great. He’s a good kid. He’s fun. And it’s good for our program,” Adams said. “I love how hard our kids work, and for a kid like Wol, who’s very, very athletic and has a smile on his face, it’s fun.

“He deserves it. He’s a good kid. If you ask all of the other kids, they’ll be happy for him as well because he’ll be the first one to give them credit, as well.”

Stampede of Mustangs

In the Monmouth girls’ big win over Boothbay on Saturday, coach Scott Wing went to his bench early and often. Ten Mustangs played in the 49-36 victory, and most of those saw action in the opening quarter.

“We sub a ton. I have 10 or 11 kids that I comfortably could play in a varsity game,” Wing said. “It makes it hard as a coach because you’ve got so many girls that want to get in and play, but it comes in handy when you’re trying to wear a team down, sometimes, that we do have great depth.

“And on a given night, somebody might not be playing as well and somebody else is playing well, we just find out which one that is that night. But, yeah, we have great depth.”

The Mustangs’ depth might have been a factor Saturday.

Boothbay only played six players. Part of that is due to injuries, particularly to sophomore standout Faith Blethen, who hasn’t missed four games with a leg injury.

That being said, the Seahawks’ best quarters against Monmouth were the first and third quarters, but as the game’s two halves dragged on, their production dipped.

Lacking Faith

Speaking of Blethen, Monmouth knew she had missed a few games, but Wing and the Mustangs didn’t know whether or not she would play Saturday.

So they prepared for both scenarios.

Wing wasn’t too disappointed that Monmouth didn’t get to play Boothbay at full strength. The Mustangs will get at least one more shot at the Seahawks before the region playoffs next month. Either way, Monmouth has plenty of experience facing Blethen.

“I know we’ll play them in the MVC championship game — that’s already been decided,” Wing said. “And hopefully she plays in that, so that we get another look at her, but we played them last year, we played them in the playoffs last year, and we’ve played them twice this year already, and we’ll play them in the MVC, and hopefully we’ll meet them again in the Civic Center — we know what they do.”

For the record, Boothbay coach Tanner Grover said Saturday that Blethen should be ready by the MVC title game.

Raiders of the lost start

Oak Hill boys coach Tom Smith is proud that the Raiders are a good second-half team. He just doesn’t want them to think that means they can’t be a first-half team, too.

“We’re coming out of the locker room behind almost every game,” Smith said. “Mt. Abram, we were tied 17-17 at the half. These guys have a tendency, they don’t really want to take care of business. That’s why my hair’s all gray.”

The Raiders’ first win over the season, a comeback 59-56 triumph over Lisbon, seemed to set the tone.

“We were down 10 in the fourth quarter and then came back,” Smith said. “These guys play well as a team together. Nothing phases them. In years past, we’d get down and we’d go through the motions. This year, the seniors got a taste of the tournament last year and the big thing is they want to get back there.”

The senior nucleus of Marcus Bailey, Evan Boston, Austin Noble, Steven Gilbert and Matthew Strout has led the Raiders out of their bumpier starts, but they and Smith know they have to start stronger out of the gate more consistently.

“We’ve got to become a first-half team,” Bailey said. “We get our biggest momentum boosts in the second half. We need to start playing better in the first half.

“These guys have the confidence that they can come back, but we have to start taking it to them,” Smith said. “We’ve got some games (coming up) where we should take it to some different teams and hopefully get some of the other guys involved.” 

Piecing together a title defense

No state championship comes easy, but the players last year’s Rangeley girls’ team were familiar with their roles surrounding 6-foot-2 star Blayke Morin.

This year’s squad has three starters back, but essentially every one of them has taken on a new, increased role. It’s a challenge, but coach Heidi Deery is still enjoying the process of trying to make it work.

“Oh, yeah. It’s fun when — I don’t think anybody counted us in for anything this year, so, you know, when you can kind of surprise people, that’s always a good thing,” Deery said. “And I’ll coach as long as kids want to work hard, and this group is certainly willing to do that.

“It’s great to win championships and it’s great to win games, but the big thing is to try to teach to some real character, and skills and qualities that they need in themselves as a person to be successful in life. I guess other coaches coach for other reasons, but that’s the only reason I coach.”


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