Players to watch: Sr. G Kori Coro, Forest Hills, Sr. F Anna Carrier, Forest Hills, Sr. G Dana McNally, Forest Hills; Jr. F Taylor Esty, Rangeley (15 ppg, 7 rpg), Soph. C Blayke Morin, Rangeley (13 ppg, 9 rpg), Jr. G Seve Deery-DeRaps, Rangeley (12 ppg, 5 rpg), Sr. G Tori Letarte, Rangeley (11 ppg, 5rpg, 5apg, 5 spg); Sr. G Briana Grant, Searsport (18 ppg, 8 rpg), Sr. F Alicen Brooks, Searsport (10 ppg, 10 rpg); Jr. C Kim Emerson, Pine Tree (10 ppg, 11 rpg); Sr. F Morgan Harrington, Richmond; Sr. Teagan Laweryson, Valley; Sr. G Ashley Hamilton, Vinalhaven (17 ppg, 11 rpg), Fr. F Bailey Wadleight, Vinalhaven (10 ppg, 7 rpg).
Favorites: Forest Hills, Rangeley
The Tigers have an experienced group that reached the semifinals last year. Forest Hills averaged 60.7 points per game and allowed just 29. There isn’t a lot of size on the team, but the Tigers can score. Forest Hills’ average margin of victory was 37.1 points.
Rangeley has most of its team back from last year that lost in the regional final. The Lakers scored at a 58.7 per game clip and allowed only 28 per game. The Lakers won by an average of 32.5 and only had one win by less than 18 points. With Esty and Morin, Rangeley has size that most Western D teams will struggle to match while the Lakers have some experience in the backcourt in Deery-Deraps and Letarte.
This tourney is typically dominated by East-West Conference teams. That should be the case again. But Searsport puts an interesting twist on that theory. They play a tougher schedule than most non-EWC teams in the tourney. That could make them a team to watch. They started the year 9-0 but lost four of their last nine games. They’ve got some size, and Grant could be a force in the tourney.
Fun Facts: This is the first No. 1 ranking for Forest Hills and first 18-0 regular season. The Tigers have just two wins in Augusta since 2000. … Rangeley has been to six of the last eight regional finals and lost them all. The Lakers last title came in 2004. … This is the highest ranking for Searsport since going 14-4 and being third in 2002. The Vikings haven’t won a playoff game since the open tournament years. … This is the second-ever quarterfinal appearance for Pine Tree, whose only playoff win came in a prelim in 2005. … Islesboro averaged just 34.5 points per game and have never won a quarterfinal. … Richmond lost five of its last nine games, including two of its last three. … Prior to the prelim win over NYA, Vinalhaven had lost six of its last 10, including two straight.