Spruce Mountain’s Jayden Perrault (15) goes after a rebound as teammate Owen Bryant (3) looks on in a game against Dirigo in Dixfield on Saturday night. Tony Blasi/Sun Journal

DIXFIELD — Spruce Mountain boys basketball coach Scott Bessey knows all about DeFoe Gymnasium and how nothing ever comes easy at the home of the Dirigo Cougars.

Once again, it was same old, same old as Dirigo (1-2) rousted the Phoenix before Spruce Mountain pulled away with a hard-fought 60-50 victory on Saturday evening to remain perfect at 4-0.

Bessey praised his Phoenix for their last two minutes of play, but when it came to the rest of Spruce’s performance, well, he said things could have gone better.

“I liked the final two minutes when we had the lead and we couldn’t turn it over,” Bessey said. “We had to execute. We got some easy back-door layups, which was cool. 

“I thought the last two minutes was the best part of the game for me. I didn’t think we played well at all. I thought our defense’s game plan was not executed well. 

“I didn’t recognize some of the kids, and they will say the same thing. But I can’t be too upset. We won and survived and we get to collect the Heal points and move on.”

But sophomore forward Owen Bryant’s 29-point performance, including his four 3-pointers, did not go unnoticed by Bessey.

“Owen Bryant was spectacular,” Bessey said. “I thought it was the best game he ever played for us, and I think without him, we don’t win this game.

“He kept us alive in the first half. If we don’t have him in the first half, we are not winning. He is great. He is only a sophomore.” 

Spruce Mountain’s Brandon Frey tries to get around Dirigo’s Trenton Hutchinson (14) in a basketball game in Dixfield on Saturday evening. Tony Blasi/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

There were other key contributions from the Phoenix. Senior guard Brandon Frey scored 11 key points with his trademark jumpers. Owen’s brother, Jack, also helped out with 11.

For the most part, the Phoenix maintained a safe distance from the Cougars, who got within two points of Spruce a couple of times. By the half, the Phoenix scratched out a 31-24 lead.

Dirigo kept hounding the Phoenix throughout the third quarter. Spruce stepped it up in the fourth and slowed it down, and took a couple of key shots in the final two minutes to put the game out of the Cougars’ reach.

Dirigo’s 6-foot-4 freshman Charlie Houghton was a powerhouse, scoring the team-high 20 points.

“We played well so far to start the year,” Dirigo coach Cody St. Germain said. “This is a team that is extremely young. We start two freshmen, and to go on top of that, we have a lot of seniors, but they never played together as freshmen.

“That’s tough. I mean most players play together in travel teams. We’ve got guys that have never played any basketball together, and to be this far along and take two of the best teams to within 10 points in the first two games is a good accomplishment for us.”

“We kind of knew who (the Phoenix) were and how tough they play. They always play awesome defense. That was an awesome ball team that we just lost to.”

Dirigo’s Charlie Houghton (35) pulls down a rebound in a game in Dixfield on Saturday night. Tony Blasi/Sun Journal


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.