1976 Rumford state champs Rumford Area Historical Society photo

The question for the Rumford High School boys basketball program in the mid-1970s wasn’t “Will someone step up this season?”

The question to ask was “Who will step up?”

The constant flow of talent propelled the Panthers, under the direction of coach John Shaw, to three Class A state titles and one New England championship between 1974 and 1977, a stretch capped by a 47-game win streak.

After falling to Cony in the 1973 Class A final, players like Stan Kaubris and Jim Mooney paced Rumford as it rolled to an 18-0 regular season in 1973-74.

Kaubris had big games, like a 31-point outing in a late-season win over Bangor, as the unbeaten Panthers earned the top seed in the Western Maine Class A playoffs.

Mooney shined in the postseason, putting up 25 points in a 75-68 victory over Westbrook in the West final and being named the Vinal Trophy winner as the “outstanding player-sportsman in the tournament.”


More importantly, the Panthers earned another shot at the state title, and this time they were victorious, beating Lawrence 87-71 to claim the program’s first state championship in 39 years.

Doug Roberts, a sophomore, scored 22 points in the Class A final in what was the beginning of a prolific career.

“Some coaches have said, ‘You don’t win championships with sophomores,’ but Rumford had a dandy one in Doug Roberts,” Harry Olum of the Lewiston Daily Sun wrote after the Panthers’ state title win.

The following year, Roberts scored 16 in the Panthers’ West semifinal against Westbrook, but it wasn’t enough. Westbrook outscored Rumford 23-10 in the final frame to knock the defending champion out of the postseason.


The next season, 1975-76, Roberts and Rumford were downright dominant.


The Panthers rolled to an unbeaten record, including three late-season games in which they put up 100 or more points.

Roberts, now a senior, erupted in the postseason, starting with a 38-point outburst in Rumford’s 99-70 win over eighth-seeded Deering.

In the West semifinals, Rumford blew out Portland 79-57 behind 33 more points from Roberts.

Rumford’s Doug Roberts (42) goes for the ball during the Class A semifinal game with Portland in 1976. Lewiston Daily Sun photo

Then, in the Panthers’ 81-67 West final over Cheverus, Roberts dropped in 26 points, giving him 97 points in the Western Maine playoffs, one short of Sanford’s Nick Scaccia’s record 97 points in 1967.

In its return to the Class A championship game, Rumford was again matched up against Lawrence, which the Panthers defeated by 16 points in the state final two years earlier.

In the ’75-76 final, the Bulldogs made it much harder for Rumford to claim its second state title in three years.


Roberts was too much for Lawrence, though, and he capped off a dominant tournament with some clutch shooting.

With the Panthers clinging to a one-point lead, Roberts stepped to the free-throw line with five seconds remaining.

“I was very confident. Overall, he’s not a great foul shooter, but I’ve never seen him miss in the clutch,” John Shaw told the Bangor Daily News.

Up to that point, the Bulldogs had never led, though they gave the Panthers what the Lewiston Daily Sun called “their stiffest challenge not only of the tournament but of the whole season.”

Lawrence had staged a furious rally in the final minutes, trimming Rumford’s double-digit deficit to 79-78.

Roberts was then fouled and went to the free-throw line for a one-and-one. He drilled both, and the Panthers emerged with an 81-80 victory.


“I wasn’t nervous,” said Roberts, who scored 26 points. “Foul shots have been falling in for me recently.”

A few days later, Rumford faced Class B champion Lake Region for the opportunity to represent Maine in the New England tournament. It was the first time such a game was held between the winners of the state’s two largest classifications.

The Panthers returned to their dominant ways, beating the Lakers 99-73, prompting the headline, “Rumford Punishes Lake Region in Gross Mismatch” in the following day’s Lewiston Evening Journal. (The Lewiston Daily Sun’s headline was only a little more gentle: “Panthers Plaster Lake Region 99-73.”)

“Rumford was clearly superior in every phase of the game — rebounding, shooting and defense,” Larry Grard of the Daily Sun wrote. “The Lakers hardly knew what had hit them when the first period was over and Rumford led 28-8.”

Glen Burgess wrote in the Evening Journal: “As a result of that fiasco last night at the Augusta Civic Center, many sports fans were asking today, ‘Does the state indeed need a Class A and Class B playoff to determine Maine’s representative in the New England Basketball tournament?'”

Lake Region particularly had no answer for Roberts, who put up 50 points, making 22 field goals, for the Panthers. Junior Andy Shorey added 20 points for Rumford.


The Panthers went on to capture the New England championship at the University of New Hampshire, beating Trinity High School (New Hampshire) 67-66, thanks to a 20-foot jumper by Matt Kaubris with 30 seconds remaining, and then Mt. Anthony (Vermont) 68-58.

Roberts, who capped his prolific career with 29 and 24 points in the two games, and  Shorey (20 and 15 points) were All-New England selections.


Rumford players, from left, Andy Shorey, Tim Ziko and Matt Kaubris, hold the gold ball after the Panthers won the 1977 state title. Lewiston Daily Sun

Roberts graduated, but the Panthers kept winning.

They ran the table again in 1976-77, entering the playoffs with an 18-0 record. Rumford was loaded with several players who could take over games, including Andy Shorey, Tim Ziko, Matt Kaubris and Tim Shea.

The Panthers took care of business against South Portland in the Western A quarterfinals, paced by 19 points apiece from both Ziko and Shorey, then they beat No. 4 Brunswick in the semis behind 25 points from Kaubris.


Rumford repeated as Western A champions as Ziko scored 23 points and pulled down 11 rebounds in a 56-42 win over Cheverus.

The Panthers also repeated as state champs the following week. Shorey scored 23 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, while Ziko and Arsenault each scored 15 points as Rumford dominated East champ Stearns from the start and won 78-58.

The state championship capped off a second straight unbeaten season by the Panthers — there was no New England tourney in 1977 — and their winning streak grew to 47 games (it was ultimately ended at 48 early the following season).

Graduations and early injuries hampered the Panthers in 1977-78, but they finished the regular season with a six-game win streak and earned the third seed in the postseason. Their title reign, however, was halted in a 75-60 semifinal loss to South Portland.

Rumford and Mexico high schools merged and became Mountain Valley High School in 1989. The Falcons claimed the 1990, 1994 and 2007 Class B state titles.

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