The end of the regular season has a familiar feel as far as the Edward Little girls’ basketball team is concerned.
With the final Heal Points being released Sunday, the Red Eddies finished second In Eastern A for the fourth straight year. In addition to that, EL not only plays in tonight’s KVAC championship game again but will also see Hampden Academy again in the Eastern A quarterfinals.
“Some think the KVAC game is a pain,” said EL coach Craig Jipson, whose team plays unbeaten Cony at 5 p.m. at Cony High School Monday. “Any time you get to play for a championship, I consider it to be a plus. It’s the fourth year in a row we’ve been to the KVAC championship and we’ve won two of the last three. That says a lot for our girls.”
EL finished the regular season 15-3, matching last year’s record. The Red Eddies won 15 of its last 16 games. The second seed earns them a rematch with the defending Eastern A champs from Hampden next Friday in the quarterfinals.
“Hampden is a tough matchup because they like to stall,” said Jipson, whose team has lost to the Broncos the last two years in Augusta. “They’ll run two or three minutes off the clock. They slow it down to a snail’s pace. It’s going to be a battle of two wills.”
Also in Eastern A, Mt. Blue earned its first playoff berth since 2007 with a 12-6 season. The Cougars won just four games last year and none the season before. Mt. Blue finished third overall and play sixth-ranked Skowhegan (11-7) in Friday’s quarterfinal. The Cougars lost 47-46 and won 50-34 in their previous games with the Indians.
In Western B, Spruce Mountain is already gearing up for a busy week. The Phoenix finished fifth and not only play in the Mountain Valley Conference championship game Monday night but also host a prelim Wednesday with Poland.
The Knights (6-12) are seeded 12th after posting the most wins in school history.
“We’re a little disppointed in having to play a prelim game after the kids had such a great regular season,” said Spruce Mountain coach Gavin Kane. “However, it is what it is, and we know that we have to be prepared for the next challenge. I am very pleased with how well our players have come together in this first season. It’s been exciting and we hope to extend our season.”
The Phoenix play Madison (15-3) at 5:30 Monday at the Augusta Civic Center for the MVC title. Spruce Mountian beat the Bulldogs 44-37 earlier in the year. The Bulldogs finished second in Western C behind Hall-Dale.
“We’re proud to be one of the representatives in our conference championship game,” said Kane. ” It was a goal for our team at the beginning of the season. We had a great game with Madison during the regular season and both Coach (Al) Veneziano and I feel this game will also be very good prep for our upcoming regional tournament “
Leavitt (16-2) is coming off its third straight appearance in the KVAC B game. The defending Class B state champs lost to Nokomis Saturday night. Now fourth-ranked Leavitt has its sites set on facing Spruce Mountain in the Western B quarterfinals at the Portland Expo.
“It looks like it’s a wide open tournament in Western B, it really does,” said Leavitt coach Tammy Anderson.
With tough games with Gardiner and Nokomis down the stretch, the Hornets have been getting tuned up and a variety of players are making bigger contributions.
“The last two or three games we’ve seeen a change in our players,” said Anderson. “Our JV players are starting to step it up, our swing players. In practice we’re starting to see it. I feel like we’re gelling right now.”
Lake Region (16-2) earned the top seed while York (14-4) was second and Greely (15-3) third.
Also in Western B, Mountain Valley finished 12-6 for the seventh seed. The Falcons host 10th-ranked Gray-New Gloucester in a prelim battle Wednesday. The Patriots finished 9-9 and could pose a threat to the Falcons hopes of a fifth straight trip to the quarterfinals.
In Western C, the loss of Jay, Livermore Falls and Georges Valley has opened up things for a number of teams.
Mt. Abram (10-8) finished sixth and will host NYA (9-9) in a prelim. Dirigo (8-10) is seeded eighth and will host St. Dom’s (7-11) in a prelim. In other prelim matchups, Lisbon, in its first Western C playoff game, will play at seventh-ranked Waynflete (11-7). Monmouth (8-10) earned the final spot and could challenge fifth-ranked Old Orchard (11-7).
In Western D, Rangeley (16-2) earned the second seed, behind the defending regional champs from Richmond (16-1). The Lakers will meet Great Portland Christian in the Western D quarters. The Lakers beat GPC 62-24 in the regular season.
Buckfield (4-14) finished ninth and will play at Valley (5-13) in a prelim. Those teams split during the regular season.