AUGUSTA – The Monmouth boys basketball team is back in the Class C South final.

Led by Sammy Calder’s 19 points, the No. 2 Mustangs topped No. 6 Carrabec 46-34 in a semifinal game Friday afternoon at the Augusta Civic Center.

Monmouth (17-3) will face top seed Dirigo in the regional final at 7:45 p.m. on Saturday night in Augusta. It’s a rematch of last season’s C South final, which Dirigo took 45-39.

“We’re extremely excited to go to back-to-back regionals,” said Calder, a junior guard. “Let’s just try to actually win this one, though.”

Hunter Frost added eight points for the Mustangs.

Carrabec finished 13-8. Joel Gehrke led the Cobras with 10 points, while Kolby Carpenter added nine points.


The game was a heavyweight fight between the Mountain Valley Conference foes. Both teams showed a methodical style offensively, passing around in search of an open player.

“We wanted to hold (Carrabec senior guard) Luke Carey down, make sure we had eyes on himi at all times,” Calder said. “Just close gaps and make sure he didn’t get anything easy.”

“It was MVC basketball,” Monmouth head coach Wade Morrill said. “You’ve got two teams that know each other well. Coach (Erik) Carey is the MVC Coach of the Year, he’s a great coach. You have a Carrabec team riding high, riding lots of momentum. They’ve maybe lost one game in the last month. They’re really tough, and we knew it was going to be that way.”

A 7-0 run helped Monmouth take a 7-6 lead over the Cobras in the first quarter. Neither team gained much ground in the second, but the Mustangs managed to go into halftime clinging to a 17-14 lead.

“We made some uncommon mistakes, execution-wise,” Morrill said. “I think some of that was credit to Carrabec’s defense. They really played hard, kept us on our heels a little bit. I think they knew coming out that the way to slow us down was to be super physical with us. They were just super physical with us, old school MVC (play), just like when I was a kid.”

Monmouth made its biggest offensive leap in the third quarter, thanks to a 6-0 run, with Calder scoring six of his 19 points in the period. The Mustangs ended the third with a 30-22 lead.


Carrabec picked up the offensive pace in the fourth, but Monmouth was simply too much and outscored the Cobras 16-12 in the period to seal the win.

“We just gave up too many transition points, didn’t rebound well enough, and offensively we were just stagnant,” Carrabec head coach Erik Carey said. “Monmouth was able to take us out of rhythm offensively. That’s a bad trio: transition points for the other team, not rebounding at all and being out of sync offensively. That’s a tough trio to overcome. But for three and a half quarters, we smoke-and-mirrored it a little bit.”

Despite the loss, Carrabec completed a historic season, picking up the program’s first tournament win at the Augusta Civic Center with a 55-42 win over Richmond in the quarterfinal round on Monday.

“It could be an hour from now, it could be when they’re 25, but they’re going to realize, ‘Jeez, you really did something pretty special,'” Carey said. “The building is 50 years old and we’ve never won a playoff game here. To do something that nobody else had done, as some point in time, (they’ll) look back and say, ‘That’s cool.’ (Right now), they’re not feeling that.”

Monmouth gets the season sweep on Carrabec. The Mustangs beat the Cobras 62-47 on Dec. 17 in North Anson.

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