Woodland Dragons Compete In States At Augusta

Senior center captain Justin Worden getting the step on a Patriot defender.

Dragons Battle Tough, But Drop 1-Point Thriller To Greenville

This year the top two seeds in the Northern and Southern Class D Divisions were matched up against each other in the State Championship, hosted this season at the Augusta Civic Center. The Southern representative was the Greenville Lakers. The team made the State Championship in 2017 and lost with a team of juniors to the talented Machias Bulldogs, 51-39. This year, loaded with 6 seniors, Greenville lost their two opening contests to Piscataquis and Forest Hills Consolidated School by 5/10 points respectively. They then had a 16-0 run before entering the Southern quarterfinals seeded first by over 40 points. The Vikings then went through their Southern Maine playoffs in Augusta first defeating Rangeley by 34 points, then Sea Coast Christian by 27, and finally Gould in the championship game by 15 points, again earning a slot in the State Championship game. 

The Woodland Dragons had a 15-3 record on the year, losing one contest in their class to Jonesport-Beals by 3 points, and then two Class C games, one to Calais by 10 points and the third to Fort Kent by 6 points. Throughout the regular season the Dragons held first place in their division and ended the Heal Points with a 25 point lead over second seeded Jonesport-Beals. The top seeded Woodland squad with 2 seniors, 4 juniors, 3 sophomores, and 2 freshmen opened the Class D Northern Maine Regionals at the Cross Center in Bangor with a 53-45 win over Bangor Christian. In a thrilling semi-final they defeated a solid Schenck team 53-50, and the championship contest saw another thriller as the hosts took the 2018 title with an exciting 40-37 win against the Royals from Jonesport-Beals. The only other Dragons appearance in a State final was 2009 when the Woodland squad defeated Richmond for the State title by 6 points, 49-43.

Two talented teams met this past Saturday at 2:45 in the Augusta Civic Center to play for 32 minutes to determine the 2018 Class D State Champions. Both had a great contingent of fans from their surrounding communities and a strong student section, but the Dragons also brought their great sounding band and their top rated Dragon Mascot. Other than Washington County, a good part of the remainder of the state gave the edge to the veteran host team from Greenville and a quick 9 point surge by the Lakers seemed to substantiate those premonitions, as they powered ahead 9-0 with only 4:09 remaining in the first period. The Dragons’ first score came from a Sabre Phelps free throw at 3:24, and the teams closed out the period 13-8 after a good Woodland finish.

Through the second period the Dragons earned early fouls as the gap with the hosting Lakers stayed constant throughout the 8 minutes of action. The Dragons held the ball for the final 32 seconds for the last shot as Drew Hayward found his way down the lane for a layup ending the first half of action with  Greenville holding a 22-16 advantage going to the lockers.

Out from the half the Dragons got the game to within 2 points at 6:15 as Sabre Phelps earned a layup off the glass. Greenville worked the lead back to 5 points when Gavin Gardner collected a layup at 3:46 getting the game back to the 30-27 mark. The Dragons’ last score in the third frame was another Gavin Gardner shot as he took a fast break shot to the glass at 2:59 getting the score back to three, 32-29. The Lakers hit 4 more points closing out the period at 36-29, a 7 point advantage.

Greenville’s top scorer Devon Boone started the fourth with a layup getting his team an early 9-point spread. Drew hit a shot at 6:33 and made the free throw; then at 5:03 Justin Worden connected with a shot off the glass as Woodland closed the lead to 38-34. On the next two Dragon scores Sabre Phelps earned 3 points putting the Dragons down 4, 41-37 at 3:51. Justin Worden hit a huge layup at 1:20 closing the game to a single basket, 43-41, followed by another hoop. Loss of possession down the stretch seemed to put the game nearly out of reach as the Lakers had earned a 47-43 when the Dragons regained possession and Drew Hayward hit a huge 3-pointer with just 23.6 seconds remaining getting the game to within just a single point, 47-46. The Dragons had two more great tries for the win, but neither fell and the Lakers took the State title 47-46.

In the superb effort over 32 minutes the Dragons were led by Drew Hayward scoring 13, Justin Worden netted 10, Sabre Phelps 8, Gavin Gardner 7, 3 each from Chris Plissey and Alex Morrison, and 2 from Matthew Miller.   




Coaches Ben Maloney and Lane Plissey talk over the end of the title game in Bangor.