The Early Years
The earliest sign of basketball being played in Caribou that I have been able to uncover is 1902 when the girls team scheduled two games with Presque Isle. In those games Presque Isle won by scores of 29 – 11 and 28 – 6. In 1905 there was a four game series played between the Caribou and Presque Isle boys. Caribou won two games by the score of 30 – 13 and 27 – 7 and Presque Isle won two by scores of 23 – 17 and 18 – 16. The names of players who played for Caribou were: LaFleche, Pike, Oak, Trusty,Michaud; subs were Bouchard and Henderson. Caribou and Island Falls were the only two teams in the County in 1907, Caribou competed with College Preparatory schools like Ricker and Washburn Athletic Club. Members of the team were: Jim Michaud, Remi La Fleche, John Farrell, Joe Trusty, Philip McNelly.
1908: Caribou and Ricker were barrerd from playing in the two Aroostook Leagues that were created because they were using players that had used up their eligibility.
1909: A.C.I. defeated Caribou in a play-off game 18 – 14 to win the Aroostook County Championship. The game was played on a neutral court, the Rollaway Skating Rink in Presque Isle.
1910: Caribou had a team this year but there is little information available about their season.
1911: The Aroostook Central League was created this year but Caribou does not appear to be a member, there is not any data that indicates they had a team. The Caribou girls had a team this year and they competed with Ashland, Fort Fairfield and Aroostook State Normal School.
1912: Caribou High School joined the Aroostook Central League, the finished 2nd behind A.C.I. with a 9 – 3 record.
1913: Ashland and Caribou tied for 2nd place in the league and had a play-off game which Caribou won 22-11.
1914: This year the Northern Aroostook Interscholastic League was created with teams from Caribou, A.C.I., Fort Fairfield and Presque Isle participating. Caribou finished in second place behind Presque Isle who had a 15 – 1 record.
1915: Caribou won the N.A..I.L. Championship with a record of 5 – 1. Members of the team were Cliff Morgan, Don smith, Sam Collins, Al Little, and Floyd Smiley, subs were Ed Williamson, “Mutt” Waddington and Lawrence Hutchinson. Gene Taylor was the Caribou coach.
1916: Only three teams competed in the League this year, Caribou finished last with a 0-4 record.
1917: Presque Isle won the league championship this year with a 10-2 mark. Could not find accurated data for the Caribou team.
1918: Presque Isle won the N.A.I..L. Championship again this year and were also claimed to be State Champions. No statistical information available for Caribou although they did have a team.
1919: Caribou finished 2nd in the league with 2 wins and 3 losses.
1920: Caribou again had a team but no data is available.
1921: Washburn won the league championship this year ending Presque Isle’s five year reign. Caribou had a team I could not find any statistical information other than the lost two games very handily to Presque Isle.
1922: Caribou High School had a team but very little data available.
1923: The N.A.I.L. schedule was not completed this year as some games were cancelled, a possible reason is the Caribou High School was destroyed by fire.
1924: Caribou had an Aroostook League record of 1 - 5. A girls league was created this year with Caribou, Fort Fairfield an Presque Isle participating. Presque Isle and Caribou tied with 3-1 records and Caribou won the play-off game 27-21 to claim the championship.
1925: Aroostook League record of 3 - 3. The girl’s were 0 – 4.
1926: Caribou finished 5th in the Aroostook League with a 2 – 8 record. Demerchant was selected to the All Aroostook League team and was Caribou’s leading scorer with 120 points. The Caribou girls finished 4th in their league with a 5 – 5 record.
1927: Caribou finished 5th for the second year in a row with a 3 – 7 record. Caribou girls won the Aroostook League Championship this year with an 8 – 0 record.
1928: Final league standings had Caribou in last place with a 1 -9 record. The girls finished with a league record of 4 – 6.
1929: Caribou finished second in the league behind Houlton with a 6-4 record. Caribou was led offensively by Peterson who scored 95 points and McLaughlin who had 65. The girls were 4 – 6 again this year.
1930: Caribou finished third in the league with a 5-5 record, Cote was selected to the All Aroostook League first team and J. McLaughlin was selected to the second team. Caribou girls tied for 3rd with Fort Fairfield both with 6 – 4 records. Bouchard was selected to the All Aroostook 1st team and Wark to the 2nd team.
1931: Presque Isle began their dominance in the league this year going undefeated at 10-0, Caribou was second with a 7 -3 record. Anderson and Cote were selected to the All Aroostook 1st team and Kelly to the 2nd team. Kelly led Caribou in scoring with 104 points and Anderson had 80. At the helm was Coach Callihan.
1932: Again Presque Isle continued their dominance going on to win the State Championship. Caribou was 3rd in the League with a 5-5 record. B. Kelly and C. Kelly were name to the All Aroostook League 2nd team. B. Kelly led Caribou in scoring with 77 points and C. Kelly had 58. Caribou girls were third in their league with a 5 – 4 record.
1933: Caribou had a 1 – 9 record and finished 5th in the league. Caribou girls fiished 2nd with 6 – 4 record.
1934: Presque Isle continued their dominance, Caribou finished last in the league with a 2-8 record. The Caribou girls finished with a 3 – 7 record, Nevers was named to the All Aroostook girls team. Briggs and P. Wark led the team in scoring with 52 and 50 points respectively.
1935: Caribou’s 1 – 8 record had them in last place in the Aroostook League. Caribou girls were third with a 4 – 5 season.
1936: Caribou again finished last with a winless record finishing 0-10. Raymond led the team in scoring with 42 points. The girls finished second with a 4-4 record. Thompson and Sodagren were named to the All League first team and Hallowell to the second team. Hallowell led the team in scoring with 49 points and Beal had 36.
1937: Caribou boys finished fifth in the league with a 2-8 record. The girls were second with a 8-3 record. Hallowell and Sodagren were named to the All League first team while Gregory, Beal, Peterson, Tozier and Corey were second team selections.
1938: Success came to the Caribou boys this season finishing 3rd in the league with a 6-4 record. Pratt was named to the All League 1st team and Habeeb to the 2nd team. The Caribou girls finished with a 5-5 season. Gregory and Corey were named to the All League team.
1939: Caribou found themselves 5th in the League with a 3-7 record, R. Habeeb was named to the All Aroostook League 2nd team. The girls finished 3rd with a 4-1-5 record, Gregory and Snow were All Aroostook 1st team selections.
1940: Caribou finished second in the league with a 7-3 record behind a very good Presque Isle team who were 10-0. R. Habeeb was selected All Aroostook 1st team and Hardacker was selected to the 2nd team. Habeeb scored 105 points on the season and Carter added 54.
1941: Caribou was again second in the league with a 8-2 mark behind Presque Isle who was 9-1. Habeeb and Carter were named to the All –Aroostook 1st team. Habeeb scored 132 points for Caribou and Carter 65. Only three schools competed in the girls division and Caribou was not one of them
1942: Presque Isle won itsw 5th straight League title with a 10-0 record, Caribou was tied for second with a 5-5 record. Bouchard was selected to the All Aroostook 2nd team, he led his team in scorig with 93 points, Pelletier added 64 points.
1943: Caribou finished 4th in the league compiling a 2-8 record.
1944: Caribou again finished 4th with a 3-5 record. No stats reported.
1945: Caribou moved up to 3rd this year compiling a 4-4 record. Freme and Smith were named to the All Aroostook League 2nd team.
1946: Caribou finished second in the League behind Fort Fairfield with a 6-2 record. Fort had defeated Caribou twice during the season 34-33 and 23-20. Hallowell and Smith were named to the All Aroostook 1st team and Warner to the 2nd team. Smith was the leading scorer in the league with 97 points and Hallowell had 62. Euclid Warner was named to the Eastern Maine Tournament 2nd team.
1947: 0 – 8 in the Aroostook League..
1948: The Aroostook League was won by Fort Fairfield, Caribou compiled a 2-6 record and finished 4th. Robertson was selected as an alternate for the All Aroostook second team.
1949: Caribou tied Fort Fairfield for 1st place in the Aroostook League both having six wins and two defeats. Both teams played in the Class L Eastern Maine tournament. Caribou lost in the opening round to John Bapst 41-39. Selected to the All Aroostook 1st team were Bouchard, Haley, and Dale Robertson; Delwood Damboise and Hugh Pierson were selected to the 2nd team. Robertson led Caribou in scoring with 78 points and B. Haley had 76.
1950: Caribou won the Aroostook League title with a 9-1 league record and overall record of 18-5. Rated fourth in the Maine Principal’s Assoc. ratings they received an automatic bid for the Eastern Maine Tournament. Caribou went on to lose to Old Town in the quarter final 45-40. Haley was high man for the crimson with 15, Bouchard and Pierson each had 10 points. Team was coached by Mr. Mosley.
1951: Caribou finished 3rd in the Aroostook League putting together a 13 - 7 season. For the first time in the history of EM Tournament basketball only two Counties were represented in the L tournament, Houlton, Fort Fairfield, Presque Isle and Caribou all represented the County. Caribou was eliminated by Old Town 67-57. Gerald Ouellette and Bob Chapman were All Aroostook selections.
1952: Caribou 1 – 9 in the Aroostook League
1951: Gerald Ouellette, Allan Cousins, Mike Pelkey, Jackie Wyman, Gilman Martin. Back: Mosey Cox – mgr., Ron Smith, Doug Soderberg, Nathan Miller, Robert Chapman, Save Snowman, Ted Thibodeau and Coach Bob Mosely. Photo courtesy of PaperTalk magazine
1953: 2 – 8 in Aroostook League.
1954: 4 – 6 in Aroostook League.
1955: Were 7 – 3 in the Aroostook League and in first place. Finished 10th in the Heal Point ratings.
1956: Tied for first in the Aroostook League with Houlton with a 9 – 1 record
1957: Caribou finished the season with 12-6 mark and was ranked 6th in Eastern Maine. In the quarter finals of the tournament they defeated no. 3 Gardiner 84 – 78 behind Pete Kelly’s 31 points, Gene Corrow added 22 and Reg Thompson with 13 to go along with a strong rebounding performance. Caribou also shot 52% from the floor. In the semi finals they were defeated by Stearns 79 – 55. Kelly who was double teamed all night hit for 21 points. Pete Kelly was selected the All Aroostook First Team, Gene Corrow was an honorable mention. Kelly was also named to the All – Tournament team.
1958: See Caribou Viking 1958 article.
1959: Caribou tied with Houlton for the Aroostook League Championship, the two teams split on the season. Caribou was ranked 3rd in the Eastern Maine Heal points with a 13 – 3 record. They opened up with Skowhegan in the quarter-final game. The Vikings got rolling early against the Indians and came away with an 80 – 59 win. They were led by Bobby Hardison with 23 points with Brian Rogers garnering 18 and Billy Kelly 17. The Vikings were 18 for 23 from the charity stripe. They faced the Bangor Rams in the semi-final and faced some excellent defensive play allowing only one Caribou player to reach double figures which was Hardison with 10 points. Bangor got the win 73 – 39.
1960: Finished third in the Aroostook League with a 6 – 4 record.
1961: Regular season record of 8 – 8 and finished 13th in the Heal Point ratings.
1962: Regular season record of 15 – 2 and ranked no. 3 in the Heal Point standings. The played no. six Winslow in the quarter finals coming away with a 65 – 60 win. Bill Spreng led the “Viking” offense with 24 points while Dave Delaney added 21and Bert Ouellette 11. Caribou defeated Stearns in the semi-finals defeating them by a score of 55-49. Caribou was again paced by Bill Spreng’s 22 points, Dave Delaney had 13 points and 12 rebounds. The Bangor Rams defeated the “Vikings” in the Eastern Maine final 54 -44, Spreng, Davenport and Ouellette all had 12 points for Caribou.
1963: Caribou finished sixth with a 12 – 6 record and rated sixth in the Heal Points. In the quarter-final versus Winslow they used the 6’8” size of Dave Delaney who had 21 points and 17 rebounds and the shooting of Al Ouellette 17 get the win 53 – 50. In the semi-final they played John Bapst who was the second seed in what proved to be a tight contest throughout. The game was tied at the end of one at 16, Bapst led at the half 34-30 and the end of the third 45 – 40 and eventually won the game 62-57. Delaney again paced the Vikings with 22 points and Eddie Mackinnon added 11.
1964: Caribou finished with a 4-14 mark and in 16th place.
1965: Caribou finished with a 5-13 record which landed them 17th.
1966: The “Vikings” finished 18th with a 4 -14 record.
1967: Caribou finished with a 5 -13 record and were ranked 10 in the Heal Point ratings.
1968: With a young team the Vikings improved this year with a 10-8 record but missed the tournament finishing in 11th place.
1969: This was an outstanding and unforgettable season for Caribou. They finished the season with a 16 – 4 record and rated no. 1 in LL. They played the MDI Trojans in the opening round, a team they had played twice during the regular season. They opened up quickly in this game taking a commanding 20-6 lead at the end of the first quarter, eventually winning the game 72 – 56. The Vikings were led by the torrid shooting of sophomore Paul Belanger who was 7 for 10 from the floor and 8 for 11 from the fouling scoring 22 points, Mike Thurston added 13 and Mike Kelly and Keith Rockwell each had 11.
The faced John Bapst in the semi-final and controlled the game from the opening tap taking a 16 – 11 edge after the 1st quarter, they took an 11 point lead in the second period and were up by to at half time 37 – 27. Going into the final quarter they were up 51 – 42. Bapst caught fire midway through the final frame and cut the lead to 56 – 52 with 3:20 left. The Crusaders eventually took a one point lead, with 32 seconds remaining Thurston stole an inbounds pass and scored giving Caribou a 59-58 lead. It was then Keith Rockwell picking off another inbound pass which led to Steve Sperry scoring giving Caribou a lead they would not relinquish paving the way for a 61 – 58 win. Mike Kelly had a phenomenal game scoring 32 points and Paul Belanger adding another 13. In the EM Final they were matched up against the Lawrence Bulldogs both teams provided an Eastern Maine Final to remember. Caribou took an 18-13 lead after the first quarter, Brian Bradstreet of Lawrence dominated the inside in the second quarter and Lawrence led at the half 34 – 31. Coach Duffy brought 6’8” big man Peter Curran off the bench and his play helped turn the game around with his shot blocking ability and rebounding. The Bulldogs held a 55 – 47 lead at the end of the third quarter. With 2:42 remaining in the game Lawrence led 65 – 58 and looked like they would win the championship, however they never scored again. Caribou was trailing by one with nine seconds remaing when Mike Kelly went to the line for a one and one. Kelly missed the first attempt and the rebound came back out to him as he stepped into the lane, he went back up with a 10’ jump shot which nestled into the net giving Caribou a 66-65 lead and the Eastern Maine Championship. Mike Thurston and Mike Kelly were first team All Tourney selections and Paul Belanger was named to the second Team.
In the State Final versus Westbrook the Vikings saw the Blue Blazers lead throughout much of the game and in the fourth period had leads of 58-50 and 60-52. This evening Quentin Blackstone came up with a career game scoring 24 points and hauling in 12 rebounds eventually helping to cut the Westbrook lead to 61 – 58. Mike Kelly had 13 points 10 rebounds and Pete Curran playing just over three quarters had 10 points and 10 boards. With the game tied at 63 and Caribou with the ball and time running out Mike Thurston released a shot from 45 feet which zipped through the net with time running out giving Caribou a 65 – 63 win and the State Championship.
1970: Caribou finished the regular season with a 14- 4 record and in fifth place in the Heal point ratings. In the quarter final game the face arch County rival Presque Isle who also came in the a 14-4 record and in fourth place. The Vikings trailed 10-9 and the end of the 1st quarter and 29 -20 at half time. The Wildcats came out on fire in the third period and took a 50-31 lead, they continued their onslaught in the 4th quarter leading by as much as 27 points. The final score was 76-51, Mike Kelly had 13 points, Paul Belanger 11 and Steve Sperry 10. The Vikings were 17 for 33 from the foul line.
All EM Tournament selections:
1946: Euclid Warner (2nd Team)
1957: Pete Kelly (1st team)
1958: Pete Kelly, Bob Cyr (1st team), Warren Sirois (2nd team)
1962: George Spreng (1st team); Dave Delaney and Bert Ouellette (2nd team)
1963: Dave Delaney (1st team)
1969: Mike Kelly, Mike Thurston (1st team); Paul Belanger (2nd team)
1975: Mike Guerrtte, Kyle Webb (1st team); Kevin Giles (2nd team)
1980: Whit Stevens (1st team)
1981: Dave Creech & Neal Griffeth (1st team)
1982: Neal Griffeth
1983: Tony Michaud & Chris Vickers
1984: Tony Michaud
Thank you to Elizabeth Stevens at the Bangor Public Library for providing me related articles from the Bangor Daily News, The book Fifty-One Years of Basketball Playing in Aroostook County, Northeast Publishing and the Mark and Emily Turner Library for allowing me to research.