BAR HARBOR, Maine — Saturday night’s Class B North boys basketball showdown between Mount Desert Island and Oceanside of Rockland-Thomaston was not always a clinic in free-flowing half-court offense.
Neither team’s defense would allow it.
Yet, an offensive set run to perfection produced Finn McConomy’s game-winning 3-pointer with 8.6 seconds remaining as MDI outlasted the Mariners 45-43 at Parady Gymnasium.
“Both teams played really well defensively,” said MDI coach Justin Norwood, whose defending state champions are 6-1 on the season heading into a rivalry game at Ellsworth on Wednesday. “It was one of those grinder games.”
Yet, the Trojans’ final possession was executed as cleanly as if meant to be part of a training tape, with senior point guard Andrew Phelps dribbling into the lane and passing the ball to a wide-open McConomy along the left wing.
McConomy’s 20-footer was as accurate as Phelps’ fifth assist of the night, and backed up by one last defensive stand gave MDI its second win over an Oceanside program that won the Class A North crown in 2016 and returned to that regional final last winter before being shifted by enrollment to Class B.
“I spend a lot of time in that corner,” said McConomy, a senior guard who was on last winter’s tournament roster but played primarily on an undefeated junior varsity team. “If we run our lanes properly we’re supposed to have our guards in the corners.
“On that last play that’s basically what coach wants from our push game, Andrew driving and making the pitch.”
That was McConomy’s fourth 3-pointer of the game, the first three all coming during the third quarter from the same spot deep in the left corner.
“We have this saying, ‘Low and late,’ and once [Phelps] gets halfway down the lane, I’m supposed to creep up so I can catch the ball and go by,” McConomy said. “But on the last one I caught the ball and they were sagging off so I figured I’d shoot it.”
Derek Collin scored a team-high 13 points for MDI, 11 during the second half, with six rebounds. McConomy finished with 12.
Cooper Wirkala led Oceanside with 19 points, including 8 for 8 from the free-throw line. Trevor Reed and Michael Norton Jr. each added eight points for the Mariners.
Neither team got untracked offensively during a first half that ended in a 15-15 stalemate, with MDI shooting seven of 24 from the field and Oceanside six of 29.
But MDI opened the third quarter with an inside basket by Collin and a steal and layup by Phelps to take a four-point lead, and by the time McConomy was done with his early long-range heroics the Trojans had the largest lead of the game at 32-25.
It was a momentary sense of control.
Wirkala capped off an 11-point quarter with a deep 3-pointer to draw the Mariners within 32-28, and when teammate Trevor Reed followed with back-to-back 3-pointers and a steal that earned him two free throws, coach Matt Breen’s club had a 36-35 lead with 5:48 left in the game.
That was the first of four lead changes in the final six minutes, with two Wirkala free throws giving Oceanside its last advantage, 43-42, with 20.6 seconds left.
MDI didn’t have any timeouts left, but didn’t need one.
“For us right now it’s just making the right basketball play,” Norwood said. “I’m pretty comfortable with all our guys that were in there as long as they’re in the right spot. Finn was on fire from that left side and made a great shot.”
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