The central Maine basketball tournament is starting to take shape. Boys and girls teams from 22 schools in Kennebec, Somerset, and Franklin counties have agreed to take part. Preliminary round games are scheduled for March 2 or 3, with championship games to be played on March 11 or 12.
While each team still has some games to play, seeding possibilities are emerging. Winthrop High School athletic director Joel Stoneton, the organizer of the tournament, released standings for games through Feb. 21. Teams are seeded according to Heal Point rankings, just as they would in a Maine Principals’ Association state tournament.
In the Class A/B boys division, Maranacook (10-0) holds the top spot, followed by No. 2 Skowhegan (8-1) and No. 3 Lawrence (5-4). In the Class C/D boys division, two-time defending Class D state champion Forest Hills (8-1) currently holds the top seed, ahead of No. 2 Winthrop (6-3), the two-time defending Class C state champion, and No. 3 Madison (6-3).
Gardiner (7-2) holds the top seed in the Girls A/B field, followed by No. 2 Lawrence (7-1) and No. 3 Erskine (5-4). In the Girls C/D division, Carrabec (7-2) is No. 1, with Hall-Dale (3-5) second and Spruce Mountain (4-1) third.
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After quarantining for 10 days due to a possible Covid-19 exposure in a recent game against Waterville, the Winslow boys basketball team was back practicing Monday. It’s been a challenging season for the Class B Black Raiders, who are 3-4 against a schedule primarily made up of Class A opponents.
“It’s been a good challenge for our guys, playing a Class A schedule,” Winslow coach Ken Lindlof said. “Skowhegan, Lawrence, and Cony are good Class A teams. It’s not just a letter next to their name.”
With the Covid-19 pandemic limiting travel for high school sports, Winslow’s scheduling options were primarily nearby Class A opponents. The Black Raiders schedule also incudes games with Class A Messalonskee and Erskine. Waterville is the lone Class B team on Winslow’s schedule this season.
A highlight of Winslow’s season has been the development of sophomores Jason Reynolds and Andrew Poulin. Both saw time on varsity last season, and have shown improvement and growth. In a 63-56 win over Cony Feb. 12, Reynolds had 21 points and 13 rebounds, while Poulin scored a team-high 22 points.
“They’ve really emerged and expanded their all-around game,” Lindlof said. “Jason, we knew he was able to score, but he’s become a better outside shooter and an excellent rebounder. Andrew has come on and the season has wore on. He’s becoming confident and attacking more on offense.”
Lindlof said his team is looking forward to the regional tournament set to begin next week.
“It kind of feels like we’re not just playing. There’s something to play for at the end of it,” Lindlof said.
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Messalonskee girls basketball coach Keith Derosby credits the work of his team’s senior class for making this odd season feel as normal as possible.
“The senior leadership has been really good. They’ve kept us focused on working hard and developing for the future,” Derosby said.
That group of five seniors: Brooke Martin, Shauna Clark, Ella Smith, Morgan Geness, and Gabby Smart have helped keep the focus on basketball, Derosby said. With approximately 8.5 points per game returning to the Eagles from last season, this was going to be a season of growing, no matter the conditions. Normally that would happen in summer ball and the preseason. This season, that process has pushed into the regular season, and with only 12 games, that means the team is learning on the fly.
“We’re still figuring that out,” Derosby said. “It feels really normal. The kids make it feel normal. There’s nothing about their side of things that shows me they’re doing anything differently. We focus on playing and don’t focus on other things.”
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The Skowhegan boys basketball team’s young post players continue to excel. In a recent 61-49 overtime win over Messalonskee, 6-foot-6 sophomore Adam Savage scored 15 points, while 6-5 Kyle LePage, also a sophomore, added 14. Collin LePage, also a 6-5 sophomore, came off the bench and scored five of his seven points in either the fourth quarter or overtime. All contributed to the defensive effort in overtime which held Messalonskee scoreless.
At 8-1, the RiverHawks are currently the two seed in the upcoming regional tournament.
Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242