Buckfield’s Rick Kraske reaches out to knock the ball away from Rangeley’s Nolan Boone as he’s going to the basket during a game in Buckfield on Saturday. Brewster Burns photo

Rangeley (2-0) has started the season well thanks to wings Kenny Thompson and Nolan Boone. The two combined for 46 points and ran the offense the entire game in the Lakers’ win over Buckfield.

One of the secrets to their success is Thompson’s and Boone’s chemistry on and off the court.

“I’ve played with Nolan all through my childhood, playing on the street on a hoop I had bolted into a telephone pole,” Thompson said. “We played all through middle school, high school, and we play pretty well together.”

The flow of the offense goes through the junior and senior, but head coach Jeff LaRochelle wants them to include their teammates more and not let up after they’ve gained large leads.

“That’s where some of us start to lose it. It’s from our better kids, and that’s why I got frustrated,” LaRochelle said. “Good teams, they finish. They’re my shooters, my ball-handlers, they play good defense. I am just trying to help them communicate with other teammates more … It’s a ton of experience.”

COLBY’S SCORING A SHOW OF FLOW, NOT FORCE

Oxford Hills guard Julia Colby scored her 1,000th point early in the third game of her senior season, then added 19 more points in a blowout win over Portland on Friday.

Colby and backcourt mate Cecilia Dieterich controlled the pace of the game for 32 minutes and showed why the Vikings are the favorites in Class AA. But while Colby hit seven 3-pointers on the night, the team really never forces the ball to her. The Vikings have so many scorers that Colby finds herself open a lot naturally within the flow of the offense.

“Obviously, when she’s shooting like that and she’s hot we want to get it to her, but, I mean, we usually just move it and it happens when she’s open,” Dieterich said.

Vikings coach Nate Pelletier doesn’t have many specific plays for Colby yet, but will by the end of the season.

“The flow of our offense allows us to get shots like that, and early in the season like this we don’t have a lot of set plays for her,” Pelletier said. “By the end of the season we will have about 10 different set plays for her, but right now it’s just trying to get in the flow of offense and as long as our guards can penetrate then our shooters are open.”

RAMBLER DEFENSE GETS ON TRACK

In Winthrop’s win over Monmouth in girls basketball, the Ramblers needed to find a way to guard Audrey Fletcher, the Mustangs’ point guard. After a few plays, coach Joe Burnham found the answer in outdoor track state record holder Jillian Schmelzer.

“I think we started with Aaliyah (WilsonFalcone) on Audrey,” Burnham said. “We just made some adjustments. Audrey has excellent foot speed, so does Jillian, and so when she got on her we tried to stop the rotations and she did a nice job with it.”

The Ramblers are a fast team with multiple track and cross country athletes who can also hoop. Winthrop beat Mountain Valley on Friday to move to 4-0 and will likely be a force for the rest of the season in Class C.

A GOOD PLACE TO BE

After walking out of DeFoe Gymnasium on Saturday evening with a victory over the obstinate Dirigo Cougars, Spruce Mountain coach Scott Bessey is counting his blessings now that Phoenix are 4-0.

“We are on schedule,” Bessey said. “I am not going to say I was thinking we would be 4-0 right now, but we took care of business and played up to our potential. We should be 4-0; we are 4-0.

“We are not fully healthy, yet. (Junior) Lorne Grondin, our starting center, is still out, probably won’t have him back for a few more weeks. We are not deep. We play five, six, possibly seven, so we can’t be aggressive as we want. We have to stay out foul trouble. So it has been a grind.”

COUGARS DEFINING ROLES

First-year coach Troy Norton took stock of where the Mt. Blue boys stood after a 1-2 start to the season and was generally pleased with how the new-look Cougars are meshing.

“We’ve had a good start of the season,” Norton said. “We lost a tough one opening night to Messalonskee. But we’re going to improve. We’ve got some talent and we’ll keep working and improve as the season goes on.”

The Cougars’ two losses came to teams that won their first three games, Messalonskee (76-75) and Leavitt (68-53). Sandwiched between the two defeats was a 63-42 home win against Gardiner.

Norton is preaching patience while getting to know his players, and vice versa, and integrating four new starters. The Cougars have eight seniors and three juniors, including lone returning starter Jacob Farnham, but don’t have much varsity experience.

“We’re still trying to define roles,” Norton said. “It’s going to be an ongoing thing, I think.”

One role that appears to be emerging early is that of defensive catalyst Hunter Meeks.

“We feed off of his defensive intensity,” Norton said. “He’s the engine of the team. He’s not the best player, but he’s probably the most valuable player.”


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