Edward Little’s Wol Maiwen steals the ball from Oxford Hills’ Trevor Goodrich during their game earlier this season. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)
Players to watch: Sr. G Terion Moss, Portland; Sr. G/F Griffin Foley, Portland; Sr. G Darby Shea, Edward Little; Jr. F Wol Maiwen, Edward Little; Sr. G Chris St. Pierre, Oxford Hills; Jr. F Colton Carson; Sr. G Mike Gilman, Windham; Sr. G Mike Curtis, Windham; Jr. F Matt Fleming, Bangor; Jr. G Damien Vance, Bangor; Jr.; Sr. G Nicsoni ; Jr. F Ben Onek, Deering; So. G Darryl Germain, Deering; Sr. F Garret Poussard, Lewiston; Jr. G Ali Omar, Lewiston.
Led by the state’s best player, Moss, who hasn’t lost a regional tournament game in his career, the Bulldogs should be even tougher to beat back in their home town. Extremely quick, extremely well-coached and tournament-tested, Portland will be tough to stop in its quest for a third consecutive AA gold ball.
Dark horses: Oxford Hills, Windham
Both teams beat No. 2 Edward Little during the regular season. Both were also blown out by Portland early in the season.
Oxford Hills is peaking at the right time. Winners of seven in a row, including Windham, the Vikings are built on defense. The offense is inconsistent but improving. Carson, St. Pierre and Spencer Strong could make things tough on opposing defenses if they are clicking.
Windham started the season strong, then sputtered a bit in January. But the Eagles have won four in a row since losing to Oxford Hills and have an outstanding, veteran backcourt in Curtis and Gilman.
Edward Little is the only team in the tournament to beat Portland in the last two years. The Red Eddies have the defense to do it again, and also have some game-changing offensive weapons in Shea, Maiwen and senior forward Ibn Khalid. Getting by Cheverus and potentially Oxford Hills would only add to their confidence. But the Bulldogs have an easier road to the regional final and will be, presumably, energized by the fans that refused to drive to Augusta for big games.