Players to watch
Hyde — Chris Moulton (Sr. C), Warsame Mohamed (Soph. F/G), Tyquan Ekejiuba (Jr. G), Wilson McMillan (Soph. G); Forest Hills — Evan Worster (Jr. G), Matt Turner (Fr. G), Brandon Ouellette (Fr. G), Ryan Petrin (Fr. F); Valley —Carrington Miller (Jr. G), Josh West (Jr. F), Caleb Wade (Sr. G), Seth Malloy (Jr. F); Greenville — Howie Stone (Soph. F), Henry Hersey (Jr. G), Matt DiAngelo (Soph. F), Jo Jo Pelletier (Sr. G); Vinalhaven — Brian Stanley (Sr. F), Steven Osgood (Sr. F), Dillon Ames (Sr. G), Scott James (Jr. C); North Haven — Riley Venger, Aiden Emerson, Avery Waterman; A.R. Gould — Zacharia Mohamed, Mohamed Ali, Chris Thomas; Buckfield —Alan Hedrick (Sr. G), Austin Dooley (Sr. F), Trevor Averill (Sr. G).
Hyde is back. The Phoenix hardly made a ripple in MPA-sanctioned competition a year ago, going 0-11. But it’s an entirely new cast, starting with coach Peter E. Rowe, longtime extra-curricular coordinator at the former Elan School in Poland Spring. Moulton (6-foot-5) and Mohamed (6-foot-4) provide size and skill. Ekejiuba has upped his contributions steadily throughout the season. Hyde split two games with Waynflete, the No. 2 seed in Western C. The Phoenix also swept Old Orchard Beach, a team that has reached the Class C regional semifinals the past two years. Throw in a double-digit win at No. 3 Valley and Hyde has the look of an odds-on choice.
Fans who remember the glory days of the Hyde-Valley rivalry — the two programs won 12 of the 13 Western C titles from 1993 to 2005 — might feel some nostalgia by next weekend. The Cavaliers have reloaded after a couple of down years in the transition from legendary coach Dwight Littlefield to protégé Wade Morrill, and they could be ready to reclaim the title they once owned for eight consecutive years. Injuries were at least primarily responsible for a brief midseason tailspin, but the Cavaliers enter the quarterfinals having won five straight games. Forest Hills’ winning streak stands at 11, with 1,000-point scorer Worster leading a precocious gang that includes three freshmen in the regular rotation.
Hard to believe, but Hyde hasn’t won the regional championship since 1997. The Phoenix spent a few seasons in Class C during that span … The region is guaranteed a new champion. Richmond’s run of four straight ended when the Bobcats fell one spot shy of a tournament berth … Buckfield was 1-9 in its first 10 games and 7-2 in its last nine … A.R. Gould is the Long Creek youth correctional facility in South Portland, not the prep school (Gould Academy) from Bethel. The two are commonly confused by casual tourney observers … Unlike their public school peers enjoying February vacation, Vinalhaven students will be in session next week … Four schools in last year’s quarterfinal field failed to return. Richmond, Islesboro and Rangeley all missed the tourney, while Elan closed its doors on April 1, 2011.