Winthrop’s Jared McLaughlin powers to the basket during Monday night’s Class C South quarterfinal basketball game in Augusta. Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn

 

AUGUSTA — The top seed going into the Class C South tournament, the Winthrop boys’ basketball team certainly looked like one Monday night.

Jared McLaughlin scored 18 points, Cam Wood added 17 and Winthrop aced its first test of the postseason by defeating No. 9 Dirigo 67-51 at the Augusta Civic Center.

Winthrop, now 18-1, will face No. 5 Traip, which defeated No. 4 Boothbay, Thursday in the semifinals.

“They’re a really good team. We just came out and played our game,” McLaughlin said. “There’s a lot of pressure (as the No. 1 seed), but we’re comfortable. We like playing in this pressure, we like these big games.”

Dirigo, which got 15 points from Jeremy St. Germain and 14 from Chandler Redmond, fell to 8-12.

“Winthrop’s a really tough team to come back against,” Cougars coach Cody St. Germain said. “Getting out to an early deficit was huge. … That’s really tough against a team that’s so good defensively and cleans up the boards so well.”

The Ramblers quickly jumped all over their Mountain Valley Conference rivals. McLaughlin knocked down a pair of 3-pointers and had eight points in the first three minutes, staking Winthrop to a 10-3 lead, and the Ramblers rode that momentum to a 17-11 advantage by the end of the first quarter.

In the second, Wood took over. The 6-foot-8 center had Winthrop’s first four points, six of its first eight and seven overall as the Ramblers worked to a 31-19 advantage at the break, denying Dirigo a field goal over the last 3:53 of the half.

“It doesn’t matter (who scores most). We just work together as a team,” Wood said. “If (McLauglin is) feeling it, get him the ball. He’ll shoot and make it. If I’m feeling it in the paint, then give me the ball. It doesn’t matter. Anybody on the team can score at any given moment.”

The Ramblers stretched the gap in the third. Sam Figueroa had a putback and Beau Brooks scored his team’s next three baskets as Winthrop used a 13-5 run to open the quarter and mount a 44-24 lead.

“I liked the way we came out at halftime,” Ramblers coach Todd MacArthur said. “That third quarter, I thought we had a heck of a run, and I thought it was initiated by Beau Brooks’s aggressiveness.”

Dirigo didn’t get within 14 points the rest of the way.

“To come back against a team like that, that’s full-court pressing you the whole time, is really difficult,” Cody St. Germain said. “I think our boys held in with composure, being down 12 at halftime, and coming back out and really competing.”

 

Winthrop’s Cameron Wood goes up for a dunk as Dirigo’s Jack Lavorgna plays defense during Monday night’s Class C South quarterfinal basketball game in Augusta. Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn

Winthrop’s Cameron Wood looks to the basket during Monday night’s Class C South quarterfinal basketball game in Augusta. Dirigo’s Jack Lavorgna watches the play for behind him. Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn