MONMOUTH — Junior guard Sammy Calder was absolutely fearless each time he drove to the net, despite getting knocked around by Dirigo’s intimidating defense.

Calder threw himself into waiting defenders all night and emerged with a game-high 34 points to help the Mustangs win 71-56 and hand Dirigo its first loss of the season in a Class C South boys basketball game Monday.

“I just tried to play my game, not try to take it and let it come to me and take good shots, pass when I needed to and not force anything,” Calder said. “Been doing it all year, getting roughed around, but I think we are tough. We knew we had to play super hard against these guys.”

The defending state champion Cougars are now 15-1, while Monmouth improves to 11-3.

The Mustangs have long memories and and haven’t forgotten the 45-39 loss to the Cougars in last year’s C South regional final.

“We just wanted to it back so bad,” he said. “How about those Mustangs!”


The lanky Monmouth guard also kept his cool at the foul line, making 11 for 15. His brother, Manny Calder, was also a huge contributor on offense, scoring 16 points. Senior forward Hunter Frost threw in 14 points for the Mustangs.

For the entire second half, Monmouth kept its distance and never allowed its lead to fall below seven points.

“I told the boys this is the type of game you’ll remember when you are 45,” Monmouth coach Wade Morrill said. “A good atmosphere for high school basketball. It was a loud, intense atmosphere. Great high school basketball between two well-coached good teams.”

Morrill praised Sammy Calder’s offensive performance.

“He is probably one of the better players in Class C South,” Morrill said. “He is just phenomenal. He can do things other kids can’t. He is just attacking the basket, slashing, shooting scoring. He is very versatile player.”

Charlie Houghton scored 20 points and Dakota Tompkins added 13 to lead the Cougars.


Dirigo coach Cody St. Germain said the Cougars didn’t a find a steady rhythm in Monday’s game.

“We talked about trying to string together some defensive stops once we got our offense going,” St. Germain said. “We just didn’t seem to be able to do that. I don’t know how many (Sammy) Calder had, but he killed us inside. Pretty tough to win when someone scores 34 (points) on you. And he played a heckuva game. I guess we just couldn’t string together defensive stops.

“Once we started getting more aggressive offensively, they did a really good job of pushing the transition and scoring on the other end. It is hard to get a rhythm that way. Wade really had them ready to go that game. Yes, just a tough one, but you know a loss isn’t the end of the world, so we move forward.”

Monmouth’s first-quarter blitz appeared to stun Dirigo. The. Mustangs took advantage of their home court and a supportive crowd, who never let up on the Cougars.

Manny Calder opened the first quarter with five straight points, including a 3-pointer. He ended up scoring seven in that quarter. Frost also helped out with six points as Monmouth rolled to a 20-13 lead heading into the second quarter.

Tompkins, Trent Holman and Austin Adams each hit a 3-pointer to help the Cougars keep pace in the opening period.

Calder was mesmerizing in the second quarter for Monmouth. He scored 11 straight points and amassed 13 in the first half. Dirigo came up with six points, four of which came from Tompkins. But the Mustangs’ lead was up to 33-19 at halftime.

“We just talked about playing solid, half-court defense,” Morrill said. “We knew we couldn’t press them. (The Cougars) are too big, they are t00 strong and too quick and athletic. We knew we had to play our best half-court man-to-man defense.”

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