Dexter, ME-- The Bucksport Bucks boys basketball team went on an 18-0 run in the second half to pick up a big class C win over the Dexter Tigers on Friday evening.
The Bucks outscored Dexter 33-9 in the second half and cruised to a 52-37 victory.
"This is all on the kids. The five starters we have are all captains. They came out and realized they needed to step it up defensively and put the pressure on them,"Bucksport coach Josh Tripp said. "We haven't had a great third quarter all year and we finally did that."
Jimmy Osgood led the way for the Bucks with 18 points (8-11 shooting), 10 rebounds and three assists. Osgood also limited Tigers top scorer and rebounder Dylan Graffam to three points and four rebounds.
"My main point was to stop 32 (Graffam). I had to play lock down defense which led to me being open on offense,"Osgood said. "Making him work hard led to easy baskets for me."
Dexter coach Peter Murray said, "They (Bucksport) did a good job neutralizing Dylan inside."
Mitchell Burgess played a strong game on both ends of the floor for the Bucks.
Burgess scored 12 points including going 3-5 from three point range. He also pulled down 11 rebounds, dished out three assists and had one steal.
Strong perimeter defense from Burgess, Sam Stearns and Josh Gray made it difficult for the Tigers offense to get anything going in the second half.
"That is the best defense we have played all year. Burgess and Stearns really clicked," Tripp said. "They got into the passing lanes. They made every pass a tough one on the perimeter.It allowed us to get out and run."
Bucksport scored the final five points of the third quarter including Stearns putting in a layup at the end of the quarter to give the Bucks a 37-35 lead.
Bucksport scored the first 13 points of the fourth quarter to put the game away.
"I knew they (Bucksport) were going to be a tough physical team. They have good size, they have good athletes at every position," Murray said. "We just didn't have enough quickness on the outside to get by people and make things happen."
The Bucks needed a win that would provide a boost in the MPA heal point standings. Bucksport came into Friday seeded sixth in the standings. Dexter came in seeded third with seven wins.
The win moved the Bucks up to fourth in the standings with another huge heal point game against Deer Isle-Stonington scheduled for Monday.
"It is huge. This is the win that we have been waiting for against a team that is in the top five. They (Dexter) were in third place coming into today. We needed this, we needed the confidence," Tripp said. "We lost to Lee, we lost to MDI. We haven't got that real signature win that we wanted against a team that people didn't think we were going to beat."
Osgood added, "It is a huge game. We had to come out with a great deal of intensity to win and we did."
Dexter dropped from third to fifth in the class C heal point standings. The top five in the final standings will end up advancing to the quarterfinals at the Auditorium. Teams that finish six through eight will host a preliminary round game for the opportunity of advancing to the quarterfinals.
The Tigers have six games remaining on the schedule including another one with Bucksport who is right ahead of them in the standings and one with Stearns who is right behind them in the standings.
"I see a couple of teams (Houlton and Penquis) at the top that are going to separate themselves from the rest of us," Murray said. "The rest are all bunched in there fighting for a play in game, hoping for a home one. Someone has to finish in the top 3,4,5 positions. Had we won tonight we could have seriously been talking about those."
Sam Stearns recorded 12 points, three steals, two assists and two rebounds for the Bucks. Chris Chaffee chipped in with six points and three rebounds.
Gray and Gabriel Stearns scored two points each for the Bucks. Gray also recorded six assists, three steals and three rebounds.
Bucksport out-rebounded Dexter 33-19. Bucksport shot 44.4% from the field. The Tigers shot 29.8%.
Matt Crane scored 10 points to lead the Tigers. Trevor Fogarty chipped in with nine points, two rebounds and two steals.
Bailey Spack came off the bench to contribute eight points, four steals, three rebounds and one assist. Ethyn Gould added five points, three rebounds, two steals and one block. Matt Barlett chipped in with two points for the Tigers. Casey Jordan dished out three assists.
Dexter (7-5) will take the short trip to Guilford for a contest against Piscataquis community high school (PCHS) on Tuesday, January 15th.
Bucksport (6-5) will play their next four games at home including games against Deer Isle-Stonington, Searsport and Orono next week.