When Dakota Tompkins made six free throws late in the fourth quarter to help Dirigo earn a hard-fought 75-70 home win over Mt. Abram in late January, his teammates were awed but not surprised.

Dirigo senior Dakota Tompkins, (23) top, plays defense as Mt. Abram junior Payton Mitchell shoots during a Class C South semifinal basketball game on Feb. 24 at Augusta Civic Center. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“It’s what he does,” Nathaniel Wainwright said after that Jan. 24 game. “He’s always good in clutch time.”

“That’s what he does,” Charlie Houghton said that night. “Whenever we need him to step up, he’ll step up.”

Tompkins, a senior, has been stepping up in the postseason for the Cougars (20-1) on their quest to repeat as Class C state champions.

“He’s just wicked smart,” Houghton said before practice this week. “Defensively, he’s wicked smart. Gets in the right position for rebounds and to take charges.

“And then, offensively, he’s just always aggressive and strong with the ball. He just hits shots. He’s super hard to guard because either you’re going to play off him because he’s strong enough you’re not going to get back in front of him, or he’s going to shoot it and it’s going to go in more than half of the time.”


Tompkins hit three 3-pointers and led top-seeded Dirigo with 19 points in a 66-46 win over Madison in the C South quarterfinals.

In the semifinals, the Cougars trailed Mt. Abram after three quarters for the fourth time this season and then overcame the deficit in the fourth, this time winning 71-63. Tompkins, who made two treys, scored 12 of his 22 points in the fourth.

He then scored 16 points in the regional final as Dirigo avenged its only loss with a 64-47 win over Monmouth.

“I’ve just been running the floor very, very hard throughout this whole tournament, and beating other guys down the court,” Tompkins said. “And, I don’t know, the 3-ball’s just been dropping for me throughout the tournament.”

Now, the Cougars are back in the state championship game, where they will face Calais. The game is currently scheduled for Saturday at 8:45 p.m. in Bangor, but the storm in Saturday’s forecast might force the game to be moved.

The Class C state final will be the final game for Dirigo’s eight seniors — Tompkins, Houghton, Trenton Hutchinson, Trent Holman, Austin Adams, Mason Ducharme, Bode Gray and Airick Richard — who have been playing together for years, most as far back as elementary school.


Tompkins’ parents, Tommy Tompkins and Jennifer Provencher, have been actively involved through coaching and being supportive throughout Dakota’s basketball career. In fact, Tommy Tompkins has been a longtime coach of the seniors’ travel team.

Dakota Tompkins also spent a lot of time around Dirigo basketball before he was old enough to be on the team. His brother, Clay Swett, was a member of the 2014-15 Dirigo team that reached the 2015 state final (which the Cougars lost to Calais). Dakota also sat on the Cougars bench and took stats when Travis Magnussen was Dirigo’s head coach.

So it’s special for Tompkins to be able to play for the Cougars.

“It just felt so great,” Tompkins said. “I’ve always been around the game. Being a part of it now, and winning a state championship last year and hopefully this year, it just feels amazing.”

Monmouth Academy’s Sammy Calder (11) drives to the basket as Dirigo’s Dakota Tompkins defends during the first half of the Class C South championship game Feb. 25 at Augusta Civic Center. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

From the start of the seniors’ freshman season, Houghton has been the team’s top scorer. What has made Dirigo so good is that the other players also play key roles.

Tompkins has been a cerebral player who does what is needed to help the Cougars win.


“He has an extremely high basketball IQ,” Dirigo coach Cody St. Germain said, “probably the best of anyone that I’ve coached, and he’ll frequently come up to me with different adjustments that he thinks that we should make, or scouting reports on a team that we’re going to play against.

“Really cool to have that second coach on the floor for us during games.”

Tompkins said that his first option is to get the entire team involved.

“I mean, obviously, Charlie is the go-to guy on our team. Like, everyone knows that. There’s nothing hiding that,” Tompkins said. “But … Coach expects, when the ball is in my hand, I’ve got to make something happen for either me or the other teammates. I try to go for other teammates, because if you go for other teammates, the ball will always come back in your hands.”

If whatever scheme the opposing team concocts to slow down Houghton is working, or if none of the other Cougars has the hot hand, then Tompkins tries to be more of a scorer.

This season, he is averaging 12.5 points per game. He has made 32 3-pointers in 21 games and is making 37% of his shots from beyond the arc. He also is an 85% free throw shooter.


St. Germain said Tompkins helps the Cougars succeed in many ways, whether it be shooting often or not at all, or guarding a point guard or someone 6 inches taller than him.

“They (Tompkins’ teammates) know that he’s there to do whatever job that needs to be done,” St. Germain said, “and he’s willing to go at that and knows all of his abilities that he has can translate into whatever role that we need him to play in that given game, which is awesome.”

The Cougars’ attention now is on state final, trying to win the program’s fifth championship and become only the second Dirigo team to repeat.

“It’s our last game as seniors,” Tompkins said. “And we’re just going to go out there and play our butts off. It’s our last game, it’s now or never, basically. So we’re just going to play our basketball and see where it goes.”

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