While there is a longstanding high school athletic rivalry between Waldo County neighbors Belfast and Mount View of Thorndike, there also is a deep-seeded respect and appreciation between the Lions and Mustangs and those sentiments have been demonstrated many times over the years — especially in recent days.

The first demonstration of true sportsmanship and caring between the schools came on Thursday night, Feb. 8 when, at a regular season-ending boys basketball game in Belfast, the Lion boys presented a check to the Boulay family to help in an on-going scholarship fundraiser in the name of their son, Riley, who was killed in automobile accident on Dec. 6 on his way to school at Mount View.

Then, the Mustang boys basketball team got together for a photo and made a banner that wishes the Lions good luck in the playoffs.

Talk about #waldocountystrong.

That neighborly support must have helped because the No. 9 Lions (9-10) edged No. 8 Caribou (6-13) 49-48 on Wednesday, Feb. 14 in a Class B North prelim playoff game in Aroostook County.

The Lions and Vikings did not play each other during the regular season.

Thus, the Lions will advance to face No. 1 Hermon (18-0) on Saturday, Feb. 17 at 4:35 p.m. in the quarterfinals at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. The Lions and Hawks did not play each other during the regular season.

"This was our way of saying thank you to the Belfast boys for the generous act of raising money for Riley Boulay Scholarship Fund," said Mount View boys basketball coach Chad Larrabee. "We may be rivals on the court, but we can be friends, and community off it.

"I was overwhelmed when I saw the picture of the Mount View team holding the sign in support of our team," said Belfast coach Marty Messer. "What a classy act. We were honored to help support the Riley Boulay Scholarship Fund. The presentation to his family was very emotional and therapeutic for the team members who are continuing to grieve and miss Riley.

"It's great to see two communities support each other given the competitive sports rivalry built up over the years. It's a great example of what the players should be learning and experiencing through high school sports."

At the Feb. 8 game between Mount View and Belfast, Lion coach Marty Messer and his players presented a check to the parents of Riley. Belfast captains Stan Sturgis, Dakota Doolan and Tyler Bartlett invited Luke and Jackie Boulay, Riley's parents, to midcourt for the presentation.

The following was read: "On Dec. 6, Mr. and Mrs. Boulay’s son, Riley, was tragically killed in a car accident. This loss saddened many throughout the Midcoast region, including members of the Belfast boys basketball team. Recently, the team conducted a shoot-a-thon fundraiser to raise money for the program, and [the players] decided to donate a portion of that money to the Riley Boulay Scholarship Fund, in his memory."

The captains then presented Riley’s parents a check for $600 for the scholarship fund.

Watch video below of check ceremony, courtesy of Melanie Steiner Ripley.

Click for facebook page for the next fundraiser for Riley's Wish, Winter Games and Fishing Derby, on Saturday, Feb. 17 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Lake St. George State Park in Liberty.