The University of Maine at Farmington men’s basketball team defeated UMaine-Presque Isle twice during the regular season, but Beavers coach Dick Meader knows that looking past the Owls in the playoffs would be a grievous mistake.

UMF’s Terion Moss, right, and Bates’ Tom Coyne race down the court at Dearborn Gymnasium in Farmington in January. Moss is the NAC Player of the Year. Tony Blasi/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Top-ranked UMF (21-4) will be squaring off against the No. 5 UMPI (13-13) in a North Atlantic Conference semifinal game at UMF’s Dearborn Gymnasium on Friday night at 5:30 p.m.

“They are a different team,” Meader said. “Same players, but really playing well recently. We caught them first semester and obviously this is … the second semester and so they’ve improved a lot. The are dangerous, offensively.

“The one area they lack is size … but they have good quickness and they are unselfish and they play well. It will help if we are shooting well. That always makes a difference and we are able to defend.”

The winner of Friday’s game advances to the conference championship at Dearborn on Saturday at 2 p.m.

The Beavers are right at home at Dearborn, going 14-1 this season. UMF averaged 87.3 points per game and went 73.3 percent from the free-throw line over the 25 games.

UMF’s strong bench and a bunch of senior veterans — guard Issac Witham (10.5 points per game, 95.2 percent from the free-throw line), forward Riley Robinson (13.8 ppg, 7.5 rpg), Bill Ruby (11.8 ppg, 7.0) and Amir Moss (12.2 ppg) — has allowed the Beavers to dominate the NAC.

Sophomore guard Terion Moss (18.6 ppg, 4.0 apg), who on Thursday was announced at the NAC Men’s Basketball Player of the Year, has given the Beavers added punch this season.

This season has been rewarding and fun for Meader and the Beavers.

University of Maine at Farmington guard Issac Witham, forward Bill Ruby, center Anthony Owens and forward Riley Robinson are seniors who are hoping to end their UMF hoop careers with a NAC title. Tony Blasi/lSunJournal Buy this Photo

“It is just the personality of it, “Meader said. “You have young men who work very hard, very dedicated to improving, and off the court, they do a great job in the classroom.

“It is just fun to go to practice because of the things I just mentioned — just trying to improve and working hard in practice makes it a good experience.”

Meader isn’t shy about pointing out that the Beavers have talent on offense and defense, and it explains why they are one of the final four teams playing for NAC title.

“We’ve got a group of guys that are good players,” Meader said. “They complement each other well. We’ve got the inside shot-blockers. We’ve got quickness on the perimeter. They’ve committed to defense.

“But offensively, they are unselfish. I think that’s been a reason for our success, and most of all — experience. Our seniors play a lot and do a good job of leading and playing hard.”

If the Beavers prevail tonight, they will face the winner of Friday’s Husson vs. SUNY-Canton matchup — which is also at Dearborn Gymnasium on Friday at 7:30 p.m. — in the NAC title game Saturday afternoon.

“Obviously, we are confident, but the SUNY games (that) were up there in Canton were contested,” Meader said. “It was tough (regular season) games for both teams, and Husson is always dangerous.

“But we have to get there first, too. We can’t overlook Presque Isle. We are certainly not overconfident playing SUNY and Husson. It is a matter of getting through this game Friday night and hopefully finishing off the weekend with a win.”

MORE NAC AWARDS

Along with Terion Moss’ player of the year award, Meader was chosen as the NAC Men’s Basketball Coach of the Year.

Robinson, who was a standout at Dirigo High School, joins Moss as a all-conference first-team selection. Anthony Owens, who graduated from Winthrop High School, was named to the NAC Sportsmanship Team.

BESSEY HONORED

Former Spruce Mountain High School and Central Maine Community College standout Alex Bessey was named to the NAC women’s basketball all-conference second team.

In her first season at UMF, Bessey, averaged 12.2 points per game. The junior guard from Jay is a multisport athlete for the Beavers and after the field hockey season this past fall she was named the NECC Rookie of the Year and was picked for the NECC first team.

Bessey’s UMF women’s basketball teammate McKenna Brodeur (13.1 points and 7.6 rebounds per game) was named to the All-NAC first team, and Sara Lamb is on the Sportsmanship Team.

Former Edward Little High School standout Karli Stubbs, a senior at Thomas College, was named to the second team, as was her junior teammate Addie Brinkman, who played at Mt. Blue High School. Northern Vermont-Lyndon’s Rylee Moore, who played at Spruce Mountain and CMCC, was picked for the Sportsmanship Team.

Maine Maritime’s Melinda Odgen was chosen as the player of the year.

The UMF women also are alive in the NAC women’s final four, which are Friday and Saturday at Husson. The third-seeded Beavers face No. 2 Maine Maritime in the semifinals Friday at 7:30 p.m. The winner of that game advances to face either Husson or NVU-Lyndon in the championship Sunday at 2 p.m.


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