Katahdin boys hold off Hodgdon for victory

HODGDON, Maine — The Katahdin boys basketball team notched a thrilling 51-48 victory over Hodgdon Saturday evening thanks to a total team effort.

The Cougars (5-5 and ranked fifth in Class D North) received solid play in the low post from junior Kyle McNally (18 points) as Katahdin controlled the tempo for much of the game. Junior Grady Ritchie added 16 points for the Cougars.

Hodgdon Junior Walker Oliver scored 16 points to lead the Hawks (7-3, ranked sixth in Class C North). Juniors Drew Duttweiler and Caleb Tuttle each added eight points.

Katahdin coach Chris Cloukey said he was thrilled with his team’s effort in Saturday’s game, particularly with McNally’s contributions from the low post.

“We have been working on his (McNally’s) confidence because that is the missing link for us,” Cloukey said. “Tonight, this is how a team plays together.”

Saturday night’s contest featured a playoff atmosphere as Hodgdon’s gymnasium had a strong, and vocal showing for both squads.

The Cougars came into Saturday’s game with one mission — to contain Oliver as much as possible.  Earlier in the season, Oliver dropped 45 points on Katahdin at a game in Stacyville. Cloukey said his squad was determined not to let that happen again in Saturday night’s game.

“That was definitely our game plan,” the coach said. “Walker is a great player and down there (at Katahdin) he lit us up. Our main focus was to keep him, and Hipsley in check.”

That plan seemed to work well as the Cougars limited Oliver to seven points in the first half. Katahdin jumped to a quick 12-9 lead in the first quarter, only to see Hodgdon rally in the second quarter to even things up 21-21 at the halftime break.

The Cougars went on top in the third quarter, seizing a 40-31 lead, but once again the Hawks came storming back. With 2:15 to play, Oliver gave Hodgdon a 46-45 lead as he sank a 3-pointer. 

Less than 30 seconds later, Katahdin countered with a 3-pointer by Joshua Martin to go back on top 48-46. 

Hodgdon had a couple of nice scoring opportunities in the game’s final seconds, but could not find the bottom of the net. A 3-point shot to tie the game with 2 seconds to go bounced off the front of the rim, giving Katahdin the victory.

HODGDON, Maine — January 7, 2022 — Katahdin’s Justin Hurlbert (middle) lofts a shot during a Saturday night basketball game against Hodgdon. Katahdin won 51-48. (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

HODGDON, Maine — January 7, 2022 — Katahdin’s Kyle McNally gets his shot blocked by Hodgdon’s Drew Duttweiler during a Saturday night basketball game. Katahdin won 51-48. (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

HODGDON, Maine — January 7, 2022 — Driving to the baseline is Hodgdon’s Caleb Tuttle (left) while guarded by Katahdin’s Jeffrey Martin during a Saturday night basketball game. Katahdin won 51-48. (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

HODGDON, Maine — January 7, 2022 — Hodgdon’s Walker Oliver floats to the rim during a Saturday night basketball game with Katahdin. The Hawks fell 51-48. (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

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