AUGUSTA — The Dirigo boys basketball team got hot at the right time.

The third-seeded Cougars used a 12-0 run in the fourth quarter to rally back and edge fifth-seeded Monmouth Academy 45-39 in the Class C South final Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center.

Dirigo (17-5) will play in the Class C title game on March 5 at 7:45 p.m. back at the Civic Center. The Cougars last played in the Class C final in 2015, three years after their most recent state championship in 2012.

“It feels awesome (to win),” Dirigo head coach Cody St. Germain. “Things weren’t looking great at times there. All year, we’ve been talking about how we’ve had all these situations. We’ve been down in big games, we’ve been up in big games. We’ve felt like we’ve kind of been through the ringer in terms of all the different situations you can be in towards the end.

“Certainly, this is the best comeback we’ve had during the year, but I told the guys — because our shots weren’t falling in the first half — as long as we keep playing composed and play hard, we’re going to have those shots fall for us. That’s what happened there in the fourth.”

The Mustangs finish the season with a 13-5.


Charlie Houghton led Dirigo with 15 points, while Dakota Tompkins added 11. Sammy Calder led Monmouth with 20 points and Hunter Frost added eight.

Monmouth entered the fourth quarter with a 35-26 lead. But Dirigo fought back with its 12-0 run, highlighted by a 3-pointer by Trent Holman that gave the Cougars a 39-37 lead with 3:43 left in the game.

“We looked at our only senior, Wyatt Smith, and we said, ‘We’re not going to let this be your last game,’” Houghton said. “We went out there and played as hard as we could. “We all just kind of took over and just played team ball like we have been doing.”

Smith made the play of the game with just over a minute left in regulation. Dirigo led 41-39 when Monmouth’s Hunter Frost made a steal, and looked almost certain to break away and tie the game with a layup. However, Smith stole the ball, then promptly dished it off to Trenton Hutchinson for a layup to give the Cougars a 43-39 lead. The play helped seal the win for Dirigo.

“I contribute that win — 90 percent of that win — to Wyatt Smith,” St. Germain said. “Put him back on the floor in the fourth quarter, he’s our one senior on the team. I think when I watch the (game) film, I’ll be even more surprised how many big plays he made, but every time you needed a play, whether it was a steal or rebound, assist. I don’t think he scored in the quarter, but just everything else that he brings to us is just phenomenal.”

The teams went back and forth in the first quarter, but Monmouth took a 21-14 lead into halftime thanks to an 8-0 run. Sammy Calder scored 14 points for the Mustangs in the first half.


“Coach talked to us at halftime and told us we’ve been here before,” Houghton said. “We were still expecting to win this game the whole time. We didn’t lose any confidence.”

Saturday was the second time this season Dirigo and Monmouth met on the hardwood. The Cougars beat the Mustangs 47-46 on Dec. 23 in Dixfield.

“Whenever you play in these games, you can’t turn the ball over,” said Monmouth head coach Wade Morrill, whose team was in a regional final for the first time since 2001. “We know that. Sometimes that’s the game, you don’t always get what you want. It is what it is, the boys fought hard to get here. I’m really proud of the season we had. We really thought we could win the whole thing this year. Obviously, it’s disappointing, but we just need to get back to work.

“Our boys work hard,” Morrill added. “Now they have a taste of what it’s like to be here and do it. Nothing fuels success like failure, right? We’ve got nothing to be ashamed about. We’ve got a few things that we would have liked to have done better. That’s on me as a coach, so our guys are more prepared for that. We’ve all got to be accountable. We’re going to watch the film and get back to work. If we want to win these games, we have work to do. That’s where we want our program.”

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