Mt. Blue’s Kasadie Barker (22) and Leavitt’s Allie Belaire, right, wrestle for the ball in a basketball game in Turner last season
Mt. Blue coach Fred Conlogue has to be one of the few coaches in the state who would love to have a shot at Greely.
“That’s where I went to high school,” Conlogue said. “I said that last year to my team, I go, ‘Hey, so if you guys win you get to play my high school, I’d love to have that happen. I’d love to have to figure out how we’re going to stop DeWolfe.’”
Of course, another reason Conlogue would be thrilled is because facing Anna DeWolfe and the Greely would mean that the Cougars were representing Class A North in the state championship.
Greely is definitely a contender, if not the favorite, in A South. The Rangers’ championship aspirations were derailed by Brunswick in the region final. But DeWolfe, one of the most dynamic players in the state, is back for her junior year, and Greely should be back in the hunt.
Conlogue admits that his team probably isn’t quite at that level.
“We think we have a group that compete this year,” he said. “We realize we’re probably not the elite of the elite, but we think we can compete with, basically, the five through 10 (seeded) teams, and hopefully get enough key games to get into the playoffs.”
Messalonskee finished first in A North and went on to claim the Class A championship. Skowhegan and Hampden also should be contenders.
“Hampden and Skowhegan return every girl, so I think they’re going to be tough to beat,” Conlogue said. “But I think no one’s going to beat them. So it’s going to come down to how do we do against Camden; we get Brewer twice, can we get them at least once, or if we get them twice that would be huge. We have Leavitt twice on our schedule, too, outside of our league.”
A North is down to 12 teams this year. So only eight teams will reach the playoffs and there will not be any preliminary round games.
That makes it more difficult to earn a postseason spot. But the smaller region means that the Cougars play all but one team, Medomak, and Conlogue said that helps Mt. Blue’s playoff chances.
“We at least get a shot at everybody, so it kind of makes it a better playing field for us,” he said.
Leavitt also will be hoping for some key wins in A South in order to return to the postseason. They earned the eighth seed in 2016-17 and won a preliminary before being ousted by Greely for the second straight year.
“Greely, I would think … is the top dog,” Hornets coach Dave Gerrish said. “You have to get through them if you’re going to get to the next step.”
Brunswick is another team to watch.
“And I’m hoping you have to watch us,” Gerrish said.
While the Hornets want to make another trip to the postseason, Gerrish said he’s more interested in monitoring their progress along the way.
“I don’t pay attention a lot to the score, I pay attention to how we’re playing,” he said. “What we hope to do is play well, and then practice, and play better.