Dirigo’s Wyatt Smith, second from left, was all smiles after Saturday’s Class C state championship in Augusta. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Charlie Houghton will forever be remembered as the star and the hero of Dirigo’s Class C boys basketball state championship victory over Dexter at Augusta Civic Center on Saturday.

But heartbeat of the championship Cougars? That title belongs to Wyatt Smith, the lone senior of this year’s Dirigo team.

“I don’t know that everybody will necessarily go away from this and for the next 50 years know how much of an impact Wyatt had on these two games,” Dirigo coach Cody St. Germain said Saturday. “I think a lot of it’s stuff that doesn’t show up on the score sheet. But the hustle plays he made against Monmouth (in the regional final), the hustle plays he made today in the fourth quarter was just a testament to senior leadership and how important that is.”

Smith said St. Germain, who was a senior on Dirigo’s previous title-winning team in 2012, talked to him about leading this year’s squad that featured a talented class of juniors.

“He talked about how senior leadership is a big part,” Smith said. “It’s the energy that he tells me to bring to my teammates, and that’s what I try to do non-stop. Whether it’s a board, whether it’s a, ‘Let’s go,’ that’s all that matters to me.”

Smith scored five points in Saturday’s victory, all from the free-throw line. The first two were the first points of the game for Dirigo, which tied the game 2-2 before Dexter took control until a few minutes into the second quarter.


Smith didn’t score again until converting both ends of a 1-and-1 from the free-throw line with 3:29 remaining in the game, cutting the Cougars’ deficit to 50-47 after they had trailed by 13 points early in the fourth quarter.

Smith picked up three second-half fouls as the Cougars worked to get back into the game.

“Wyatt is a beast,” Houghton, one of the talented juniors, said. “He hustles, he does all the little things really good, and that’s what we need on a team like this.”

Dirigo’s Wyatt Smith pulls down a rebound under pressure from Dexter’s Will Kusnierz during Saturday’s Class C state championship in Augusta. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal


With Dirigo down by one in the final minute — after briefly taking a lead — Smith went strong to the hoop and was fouled, sending him to the free-throw line for the third time.

Dexter called a timeout before he stepped to the line, which in part might have been an attempt to throw off Smith in the tense moment.


Then for the first time all game, Smith missed, keeping it a 56-55 Dexter lead and making the second foul shot even more important.

Smith stepped to the line knowing how crucial his next shot was for the Cougars.

“I knew I had to to hit this, and this is for my team,” he said. “And that’s all that matters, is it’s for my team, and I had to do it for them.”

Before Smith took the second shot, Houghton tried to both lighten the mood and boost his teammate’s confidence.

“I knew he was (going to make the second free throw),” Houghton said. “So he has this thing during basketball games, he’s just kind of trash-talking the kids, saying, ‘This is for states.’ And I was around the free-throw line, and he was shooting it, I said, ‘This is for states.’ And he shot it, and it went in. I knew he was going to make it.”

Smith hit the second free throw, tying the game at 56-56 with 47 seconds remaining.


“To hit a free throw in that clutch situation, I mean, is a tough task,” St. Germain said. “I mean, just to hit one out of two in that situation is tough. And he’s probably only shooting 50 percent from the free-throw line on the year, so that was a great knockdown by him.”

The rest is history.

Dexter missed a potential game-winning shot and Dirigo junior Trent Holman grabbed a contested rebound while his mask came off. That caused an official’s timeout, which allowed the Cougars to inbounds the ball and forced the Dexter defense to withdraw. After Dirigo advanced the ball to the frontcourt, St. Germain called a timeout to set up a play.

Then Houghton won the game with a 3-pointer that splashed through the net about a second before the final buzzer.

The championship is an exclamation point for Smith’s career, while the rest of the team will have the chance to defend its title next year.

“I’m just so glad to be here,” Smith said. “I’m so happy for them that they got one more year left. They’re the fab five, they deserve it.”


While a lot of key players return, Houghton and St. Germain both said that the Cougars will miss Smith a lot next season.

“He’s like the best kid that I’ve coached. I mean, he’s just an awesome all-around individual. Plays hard all the time. And he’d be the first to tell you he’s probably not the most skilled basketball player on our team, but he works harder than everybody else, and there’s a lot to be said for that,” St. Germain said. “Like I keep telling him, I told him before the game, I said, ‘I know that we have a lot of guys coming back, but it’s really difficult to get to this point and nothing’s guaranteed.’ We’ll have another tough road next year, and wanted them to make sure they lived in the moment and went for it today.”

Dirigo, and specifically Smith, had to do that twice in the span of eight days, rallying to beat Monmouth in the C South final and again against Dexter in the state final.

“This is my last game, and I knew I had to come out and produce, and I did, for my team,” Smith said. “This is the best team I’ve ever been on and I can’t thank them enough.”

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. 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.