Perhaps the sting of Saturday’s 60-52 Eastern Class A quarterfinal loss to Edward Little hasn’t gone away yet.
As weeks go by and yield to moments of reflection, however, Lewiston will recognize the 2011-12 season as one of enormous strides in its boys’ basketball fortune.
Other than a run of four regional titles and one state crown from 1959 to ‘66, the Blue Devils have experienced few moments of glory on the hardwood. Lewiston’s 15 wins this season were the most since a 20-1 campaign in 1990.
No. 2 Lewiston watched a 15-point lead slip away in a furious second-half rally by the tournament-tested No. 7 Red Eddies, who are riding a wave of four straight journeys to the Eastern A title game.
It was slightly reminiscent of EL’s loss to Hampden here in 2007. The Red Eddies went 19-0 in winning the KVAC title and were led by Mr. Basketball and future pro Troy Barnies, but they were powerless to stop reigning state champ Hampden in the quarterfinals.
EL won the Eastern championship in 2009 and 2010 and hasn’t failed to get past the semifinals since. That, of course, is zero consolation to seven seniors who played their final game for Lewiston.
“They’re tremendous,” Lewiston coach Tim Farrar said. “The future success we’ll have with this program is owed to these guys. I owe them a lot.”
Lewiston will welcome back two starters, Donne Agossou and Steven Patrie, along with sixth man and leading scorer Josh Thomas in 2012-13.
South’s gonna do it again?
The Western Maine Conference is guaranteed a finalist in Western Class C boys’ basketball.
That wouldn’t be worth a headline or even a footnote in Class B, where Cumberland and York county teams dominate the landscape.
Western C is traditionally Mountain Valley Conference country, however, and it was notable that WMC schools beat MVC representatives by double digits in each of Monday’s two afternoon quarterfinals.
No. 6 Old Orchard Beach routed No. 3 Boothbay, 78-48, to reach the semifinals for the third season in a row. No. 2 Waynflete survived a fourth-quarter scare and dispatched No. 7 Wiscasset, 59-48, for the second straight year.
Waynflete and OOB will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday, with the winner pouring some southern spice into what some have half-jokingly called the Dirigo Invitational.
How rare is the intrusion? The last time the Western Class C championship game was not an exclusive MVC affair, in 2003, Hyde crashed the party. The Phoenix, now back in their traditional Class D surroundings, aren’t even a WMC team.
No school has represented the league on the second Saturday of the tournament since Traip in 2001.
Falmouth won the region four consecutive Februarys from 1996 to ’99 before increasing enrollment pushed the Yachtsmen into Class B.
The most recent current WMC school to win a Western Maine title was OOB in 1994. Bob Davies and Old Orchard topped T.J. Caouette and Winthrop in a star-studded final.
Heidi Deery thought her team was getting healthy as the regular season wound down and her Rangeley girls’ basketball team got closer to tourney time.
That hasn’t been the case. The Lakers beat Greater Portland Christian on Monday in a Western D quarterfinal, but it wasn’t with a full or healthy squad.
“I get to thinking if we can finally get through this, we might be able to do something and bang, bang bang, it hasn’t let up,” Deery said.
Her Lakers have been battling illness this week and even needed a bucket on hand in the locker room — just in case.
“We haven’t had everybody at practice since last Wednesday,” Deery said. “We’ve had kids with the flu and last night my daughter was sick.”
Rangeley was hoping to regain junior Jenny Abbott, who tweaked her knee late in the season. Abbott will have to wait until at least the next round.
That semifinal matchup will be Thursday against sixth-seeded Vinalhaven. The Vikings lost a pair of close games with Rangeley on the island late in the regular season, 49-42 and 34-27.
“We had two close ones with Vinalhaven, and we didn’t have Jenny in either game,” Deery said. “It’s going to be who plays. They know that. Our younger players and our older players know that if they get down to playing, then things will go our way.”