Four local players, three boys and one girl, have been named semifinalists for the Mr. and Miss Maine Basketball awards.
Jordan Hersom and Adrianna Newton of Leavitt, Cody St. Germain of Dirigo and Cam Sennick of Mt. Blue are up for the honors, which will be presented at a banquet March 10 in Bangor.
The announcements were made Wednesday at joint press conferences in Augusta and Portland, coinciding with the basketball tournament.
Only seniors are eligible for the recognition.
On the boys’ side, Hersom — winner of football’s equivalent, the Fitzpatrick Trophy — St. Germain and Sennick are joined by Patrick Stewart of Bangor, Bobby Cote of Biddeford, Cole Libby of Bonny Eagle, Louie DiStasio of Cheverus, Christian McCue of Hampden, Josh Britten of Yarmouth and Liam Langaas of York.
Other girls’ semifinalists are Alexa Coulombe of McAuley, Mia Diplock of Cony, Ella Ramonas of Deering, Amanda Hotham of Fort Fairfield, Carylanne Wolffington of Hall-Dale, Alanna Vose of Medomak Valley, Selena Lorrey of Traip, Amanda Johnson of Skowhegan and Megan Gribbin of Windham.
Three finalists in each category are expected to be announced next week.
The Maine Principals’ Association announced Wednesday that the Eastern Class A championship contests will be played as one session, beginning at 7:05 p.m. with the Cony-Edward Little girls’ game at Augusta Civic Center.
On the original schedule, the girls were scheduled at 4 p.m. and the boys at 7 p.m. The boys’ championship now will start 20 minutes after the conclusion of girls’ awards.
It’s a change that will allow fans to see both games for one $8 adult admission price. Under the previous format, the hall would have been cleared after the girls’ game.
History doesn’t keep diligent records of such details, and it would be an exhaustive effort to go back and look it up, but Saturday’s Western Class D boys’ basketball championship game is probably a first.
It’s likely the first time that a team winless the year before has faced a team that starts three freshmen in any regional final.
Actually, there’s a good chance it’s a first in either case, never mind both.
Class D is probably the most likely environment for the latter to happen, as eighth-graders are allowed to participate due to the schools’ low enrollments. Even by Forest Hills’ fluid standards, however, the look of a team without much need for razors is a new one.
“I’ve been here 15 years, and I’ve never started more than one freshman,” Forest Hills coach Anthony Amero said.
With eight players on its roster — including no seniors — the Jackman school has little choice in the matter.
Not that the youth movement has hurt the Tigers. Rather than cowering to the intimidating Augusta Civic Center environment, the youngsters appear to play with a nothing-to-lose confidence.
Brandon Ouellette scored nine points Wednesday and Ryan Petrin and Matt Turner added six apiece Wednesday morning in No. 3 Forest Hills’ 54-46 semifinal victory over No. 2 Valley.
Their importance was magnified when junior center Evan Worster, who has scored 73 total points in the first two rounds of the tourney, fouled out with two minutes to go.
“The same thing happened when we played them home and away. I fouled out of both games,” Worster said. “Fortunately my teammates stepped up and got it done.”
Valley swept Forest Hills in those regular-season contests.
Hyde was 0-11 a year ago in Maine Principals’ Association play, but that’s deceiving.
Many of the Phoenix’s current players toured the region as a prep team. Hyde essentially sent its junior varsity squad to the MPA games.
The top-seeded team is 17-1 under the direction of first-year coach Peter E. Rowe.
Rowe, a Livermore Falls High School graduate, was the longtime boys’ basketball, cross country and track and field coach at Elan School in Poland Spring.
Elan closed its doors in April 2011, but not before making a long-term impact on the Western D hoop landscape. Elan lost to Valley in the 2002 regional final.
“This isn’t about me or where I’ve been,” Rowe said. “This is about Hyde School basketball.”
The boys’ final is set for 2:45 p.m. Saturday.
The Edward Little girls will be making their fifth appearance in a regional final game Friday night.
After losing in the Eastern A semifinals twice in the last three years, EL cleared that hurdle Wednesday to earn a shot a unbeaten Cony. Those two will meet Friday at the Augusta Civic Center at 7:05 p.m.
The last time EL reached the regional final, the Red Eddies were in Western A. EL lost to McAuley, 58-50 in 2002. The year before that, EL lost to the Lions 62-53.
EL also lost to Portland in 1992, 62-57 and in 1991, 75-54.
“This is the fifth time in our history and we’re 0-4,” said EL coach Craig Jipson. “Hopefully, the fifth time is the charm.”
EL was Cony’s toughest foe in two regular season games. EL lost to the Rams, 65-64 and 65-56. The Red Eddies also lost to Cony in the KVAC championship game, 58-49.