Mountain Valley’s Cameron Godbois shoots the ball as Cape Elizabeth’s Tanner Carpenter and Andrew Hartel play defense during Saturday’s 2018 Maine State basketball tournament at the Portland Expo. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)
Not much went right for Mountain Valley in its 47-31 loss to Cape Elizabeth in the B South quarterfinals Saturday.
The Falcons, though, are in a better position than most teams to make a lot of things go right in 2019.
Mountain Valley’s first trip to the Portland Expo since 2013 may not be the most memorable. But it could be the foundation for a longer stay next year. With one senior, starting guard Michael Pare, on the roster, the Falcons (11-8) have reason to focus on the positives from Saturday.
“There are things to build on for us,” Mountain Valley coach Tom Danylik said. “We got on the court, saw what it feels like to be in this environment.”
“If this isn’t motivation, I don’t know what is,” he added. “We want to be back here next year. We want to win here. We want to go play in the big house (Cross Insurance Arena) after that.”
The Falcons should have a sense of urgency wherever they play next year, since the vast majority of the current roster is juniors. That includes four of Saturday’s starters — guards Taylor Pelletier and Will Sorensen and forwards Keegan Davis and Cam Gadbois. Guard Jacob Blanchard and forward Will Bean were key reserves.
Devils on the rise
The boogeyman no longer lives across the river.
Edward Little has dominated the girls’ basketball rivalry with Lewiston for most of the past decade, but in the teams’ second and third meetings this season, the Blue Devils showed they’re catching up to the Red Eddies.
Lewiston came especially close in Thursday’s Class AA North quarterfinal loss, holding a lead until Hannah Chaput’s layup for the Red Eddies with 13 seconds left spoiled the upset.
While seniors Victoria Harris and Gabrielle Wilson will be tough to replace, the underclassmen no longer view Edward Little as an unbeatable behemoth.
“Even with the loss of Victoria and Gabby, our freshmen now know that EL is beatable,” Lewiston coach Lynn Girouard said. “This will just fuel their fire a little bit more. It just shows that we’re not scared of EL anymore. We used to be scared of them. You know, the minute we walked in the gym, we were already beat. And, not anymore.”
Is this Wile E. Coyote’s chance?
Mt. Abram coach Larry Donald limped into the postseason. The Roadrunners coach was pacing the sidelines for Tuesday’s win at Hebron Academy with a boot on his lower leg.
Donald was going over how to defend Mountain Valley’s 3-point shooting with his team last month. A shot went up, and he turned for the rebound.
“I didn’t even jump because I don’t play with the girls,” he said. “It was only three-quarter-speed, maybe half-speed. I turned around to go up for a ball, felt something hit my calf, I went down. It’s a partial Achilles tear.”
The 12th-seeded Roadrunners next face No. 4 Madison at the Augusta Civic Center on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
South on the turnpike
The Class AA North girls’ basketball tournament has already proven to be difficult for Oxford Hills and Edward Little, who had to battle for quarterfinal wins over lower seeded Deering and Lewiston, respectively.
Now the teams have to move on to the unfamiliar confines of the Cross Insurance Arena, formerly known as the Cumberland County Civic Center, in Portland. This year, the next three rounds of the tournament — the semifinals, regional finals and state championship — will be played at Cross Insurance.
“That could be different,” Red Eddies coach Chris Cifelli said. “Sightlines are a little bit wonky.”
In previous years, the AA playoffs took place in Augusta.
Edward Little, the third seed, faces second-seeded Portland, and No. 1 Oxford Hills meets No. 4 Cheverus.
“We were able to beat … them during the regular season, but this is playoffs, and in the end, you got to be playing good basketball,” Vikings coach Nate Pelletier said. “You go to the Civic Center, you don’t know what can happen there. It’s a totally different atmosphere.”