Players to watch: Sr. F Mia Diplock, Cony (16.2 ppg), Jr. G Josie Lee,Cony (12.4 ppg); Jr. G Ashlee Arnold, Edward Little (16.3 ppg), Soph. G Kory Norcross, Edward Little (13.3 ppg); Jr. G Gabby Foy, Mt. Blue (15.5 ppg), Soph. F Miranda Nicely, Mt. Blue (9.4 ppg, 5.1 rpg); Jr. F Mallory Nelson, Mt. Ararat (10.4 ppg), Sr. F Leah Hitchcock, Mt. Ararat (10.1 ppg, 8.6 rpg); Sr. G Mary Badeen, Messalonskee (17.1 ppg), Sr. F Megan Pelletier, Messalonskee (13.1 ppg, 11.9 rpg); Sr. G Amanda Johnson, Skowhegan (15.1 ppg); Jr. F Adriana Martineau, Skowhegan (9.4 ppg, 6.5 rpg); Sr. G Ashley Danforth, Hampden (11.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg), Jr. G Jordan Maxwell, Hampden (12.6 ppg); Sr. F Katie Brochu, Bangor (10.5 ppg, 10.5 rpg).
Favorites: This is the 14th time Cony has been the top seed. When ranked No. 1, the Rams have won nine regional titles and five state crowns. This year’s Cony team went 8-0 against teams in the Eastern A field and have the highest scoring offense (58.9) and best defense (39.9). The Rams have balance inside and out and have depth. Cony’s game can be up and down at times and can rise and fall with its shots, but the Rams, especially on their second home court, appear poised for a regional title. The top seed has only lost once in the quarterfinals and that was last year. The No. 1 ranked team is 29-5 in the semifinals and 18-11 in the regional final.
Darkhorses: Edward Little has lost just once after an 0-2 start. The Red Eddies have experience, balance and depth. EL averaged 56 points per game and allowed 39.9. EL can battle inconsistency as well but usually finds ways to win. The Red Eddies had two players in the KVAC South top ten in free throw shooting with Arnold (77 %) second and Norcross (66 %) eighth. EL’s talents at the foul line just might prove crucial in the tourney.
Messalonskee is another team to watch. The Eagles last year were the first eighth seed ever to beat the top-ranked team in Eastern A. Messalonskee then beat Cony before losing in the regional final but have Badeen and Pelletier back from that squad. The Eagles were hampered by injury during the year but have won seven of their last eight games.
Fun facts: Cony has lost just one quarterfinal game (1999) since 1991 … EL has earned four straight No. 2 seedings, played in four straight KVAC championship games and lost two straight to Hampden in the quarterfinals. … After Cony and EL, Mt. Blue had the best defense (40.5) in the field. … Mt. Ararat hasn’t won a quarterfinal since 2004 and the fourth seed is just 11-24 in the Eastern A quarterfinals. … Messalonskee had 10 games decided by 10 points or less, seven were wins and three losses. … Skowhegan’s 11 wins were decided by an average of 6.4 points, nine were determined by eight points or less. … Hampden went 4-7 against the Eastern A field and lost three of its last five games. … Bangor has won four of its last five games, including a prelim win over Brewer, but have just two quarterfinal wins in the last 11 years.