AUGUSTA — The Dirigo boys basketball team will have a chance to defend its Class C crown.

Thanks to a 15-0 run in the fourth quarter, the No. 1 Cougars cruised to a 64-47 victory over No. 2 Monmouth Academy in the Class C South final Saturday night at the Augusta Civic Center. Dirigo (20-1), the 2022 Class C champion, will play C North champion Calais in the state final March 4 at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. Tip-off is 8:45 p.m.

Charlie Houghton led the Cougars with 28 points and 12 rebounds, while Dakota Tompkins added 16 points. Houghton was named the tournament’s most outstanding player.

“It feels great, it feels great to get (the C South final) out of the way,” Houghton said. “We’ve got one more, it’s a bigger goal. We got there, now we’ve got to play our best game next Saturday, hopefully come out with a win.”

“We felt like it was a completely different run than last year,” Dirigo head coach Cody St. Germain said. “We were kind of the underdogs last year, going in as a (No.) 3 seed, with teams behind us last year that people might have been picking over us. To come away last year was kind of an underdog story. To do it this year at the top, where we were favorites most of the time, it just takes a different level of focus. I was just very proud of them, just in a slightly different way.”

The Mustangs, the C South runners-up for the second straight season, finished 17-4. Sammy Calder led Monmouth with 14 points and nine rebounds. Hunter Frost had seven points and 10 rebounds.


A 7-0 run helped Monmouth take an early lead, but Dirigo slugged back to cut the Mustangs’ lead to 13-11 by the end of the first quarter. Dirigo found its groove offensively in the second quarter, outscoring Monmouth 21-12, to take a 32-25 halftime lead.

“I know they have to be the best-coached team that we play against,” St. Germain said of Monmouth. “They battle from the first moment of the game to the last second. They get after it like nobody else does, diving on the floor for loose balls. We knew we had to match that physicality. We know, on paper, we’re not as physical. We shoot the ball better; we do some other things better. But we knew they were as physical as anybody out there, rebounding the ball as well as they do.”

The Mustangs struggled offensively in the third quarter, scoring just eight points, and struggled to find a shooting groove throughout the evening. Monmouth finished 20 of 62 (32.2 percent) in field goals and was 5 of 17 (29.4 percent) in free throws.

“(Dirigo) is a very good team, a very good team,” Monmouth head coach Wade Morrill said. “We just had trouble finding rhythm on both ends of the floor. That happens.”

Meanwhile, the duo of Houghton and Tompkins continued to push the Cougars. Up 43-33 entering the fourth, Dirigo kicked its pressure into high gear, going on a 15-0 run that included six points from Tompkins.

“Dakota, we find each other in the right spots,” Houghton said. “All our teammates have been playing together forever. We always seem to find each other in right spots. We worked (well) together and just clicked tonight.”

The Mustangs delivered Dirigo’s only loss of the regular season, a 71-56 decision on Jan. 30 in Monmouth.

“We had never won a game at the Augusta Civic Center as a Class C program until last season, and we went to the regional final last year,” Morrill said. “To come back and do the same thing, we felt like we should be in this game, we felt all along we had just as good a chance as anybody to get back here. … It was just tough sledding for our guys, tough to get any traction.”

Related Headlines

Comments are no longer available on this story