About the only guarantee I can provide for the upcoming girls’ basketball tournaments is that a Mountain Valley Conference team will win Western C.

Now, which of the seven MVC teams do that, I have no idea. I like the chances of four or five of them.

There’s as much uncertainty elsewhere. Between parity in the teams and the questionable status of players like Cony’s Cassie Cooper, Fryeburg’s Coreen Hennessy and Morse’s Kate Ross, what happens and who makes it happen is a bit difficult to distinguish.

In Western B, it should be the Western Maine Conference’s tournament, but again, any of four teams could challenge. In Eastern A, could this be Messalonskee’s year or will Cony return to form at the right time.

Western D has new faces in Islesboro and Hebron. Though Rangeley is back, it resembles last year’s club only in record in their impressive second-place seeding after losing four starters. Buckfield and Vinalhaven are young teams on the rise, and Hyde handled most of its schedule with ease but only faced one EWC team.

Fab Five

Cassie Cooper, sr. center, Cony; Sr. G Chelsea Barker, sr. guard, Messalonskee; Christina Mosher, sr. center, Mt. Blue; Kaylie DeMillo, sr. guard, Jay; Bethany Sevey, sr. guard, Skowhegan.

Best quarterfinal matches

Mt. Blue-Oxford Hills: One of the Vikings’ three losses came against the Cougars. Mt. Blue has a great inside/outside tandem of Mosher and Bonnie Silkman. Oxford Hills counters with perimeter powers Kari Pelletier and Terry Bunce. Either team could be a threat down the road in Eastern A.

Madison-Jay/Monmouth-Mt. Abram: In one afternoon, two of the top challengers in Western C will be one and done Madison and Monmouth were two preseason favorites. Jay has the best player in the field. Mt. Abram may have the best post game.

Dark horses

Gray-New Gloucester is a ninth seed but was expected to be one of the top four teams in Western B. Injury to Jen Farynaz, depth and inconsistency have hindered the Patriots, but with a formidable post game, they’re certainly capable of producing another run to the semifinals and beyond.

Buckfield is still a young team ready to make its move and could surge up the Western D hierarchy in a hurry.

The winner of today’s Mt.Blue-Oxford Hills quarterfinal could be a team to threaten in the semifinals. Both have an abundance of talent, depth and experience.

Fun Facts

• Messalonskee’s 17-1 mark is the best record since 1986, the year after Paul Vachon left to coach at Cony.

• Lawrence has not won a quarterfinal since Cindy Blodgett led it to a state title in 1994.

• Waynflete went 18-0, but the Flyers’ seven opponents had a combined record of 53-71. Only three had winnings records, two of which reached Augusta in Class D.

• WMC teams are 15-46 overall and 11-30 at Augusta against MVC squads in the last 16 years.

• Monmouth’s last quarterfinal win in Class C came in 1985 when the eighth-ranked Mustangs beat top-ranked Winthrop, coached by current Monmouth assistant coach Ray Convery.

Predictions

Eastern A: Cony over Messalonskee. The Eagles went 8-0 against teams in the Eastern A field, but with Cooper back in the lineup, don’t bet against the Rams when it counts.

Western B: Lake Region over Fryeburg. The Lakers have a tough road to get back to the regional final but have the defense and experience to do it. The Raiders beat Lake Region once but won’t duplicate that feat in the final.

Western C: Dirigo over Jay. The Cougars and Tigers are the two most experienced teams in the field. DeMillo may be the best player, and the Tigers tend to give the Cougars fits, but Dirigo’s seasoned veterans and balance win out.

Western D: Hyde over Rangeley. The Lakers were the only team to beat the Phoenix, but Hyde avenged that in Rangeley. With four starters back, balance and a strong defense, Hyde should have what it takes to overcome the test provided by EWC teams like Buckfield and Rangeley.


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