AUGUSTA – Its season went from horribly weird to Hollywood in two weeks.

Now, the Leavitt Area High School boys’ basketball team hopes to secure more than a minor speaking role at the Augusta Civic Center.

Thirteen days after first taking the court with an interim head coach and not completely assured of a tournament berth, Leavitt hit the road Thursday night and bounced one of last year’s regional finalists.

The Hornets played well enough in that 67-59 win at Brunswick that they could have beaten or at least thrown a scare into every other team in the Eastern Class A field. No. 10 Leavitt hopes to prove that today when it tries to topple No. 2 Bangor in a 5:30 p.m. quarterfinal.

“We have a lot of seniors on this team, and they really pulled it together,” said coach Christian Gurney, whose Hornets are 3-1 with three straight wins under his tutelage. “They just wanted to finish their final season on a strong note. I am so proud of them. This is well deserved.”

Leavitt was 7-8 when fourth-year head coach Mike Remillard was dismissed Jan. 31, eight days after what school administrators said was an inappropriate halftime speech.

Tyler Millett, Cameron Angell and Matt Nash lead the Hornets into what the three hope will not be the final game of their careers. The trio combined for 55 points against Brunswick. Nash distributed the ball on a dime and dished out 16 assists.

“I was on the team when we went to Bangor for the quarterfinals my sophomore year, but senior year is different,” Angell said. “I’ve been playing basketball with these guys since second grade, so I don’t really want it to end.”

In other Eastern A boys’ quarterfinal action, No. 3 Mt. Blue meets No. 6 Gardiner at 4 p.m.

The Tigers are another team that put together a late-season run after a rash of controversy in the early going.

Head coach Dana Doran and his top two assistants stepped down just prior to Gardiner’s season opener when Doran was told he could not enforce a rule requiring players to cut their hair.

Pat McNally, father of University of Maine recruit and 6-foot-9 Sean McNally, has coached the Tigers to eight straight wins and a 12-7 mark overall.

In the night session, Cony meets Messalonskee at 8 p.m. and No. 1 Edward Little tries to end Hampden’s two-year reign as regional champion at 9:30 p.m.

Mixed returns

Two of the state’s premier Eastern Class A girls’ basketball players returned to the court Friday after missing drastically different amounts of time with dramatically different medical issues.

The results contrasted like Cony red and Morse royal blue, too.

Cassie Cooper, the 6-foot-2 Cony senior who has played sparingly since injuring her ankle Dec. 29, rejoined the starting lineup Friday afternoon with a vengeance.

Cooper chalked up 13 points, four rebounds and four steals in the No. 2 Rams’ 74-32 quarterfinal rout of the No. 7 Shipbuilders.

Cooper is headed for Division I Dartmouth College on a basketball scholarship.

Ross, the lone senior on Morse’s roster, averaged 14 points and nearly five assists per game to earn KVAC South Player of the Year honors.

Her season took a scary turn prior to a preliminary-round win over Nokomis, when Ross was sidelined due to chest pains.

She received medical clearance to play Friday but didn’t start. Ross played in short spurts, was held scoreless in the first half and finished with three points and three assists.

Cony experienced a similar lesson on the life-versus-basketball scale last February, when Kristi Violette fell into a diabetic coma only three days after the quarterfinal round and missed the remainder of the playoffs.

Violette, who is the sister of Central Maine Community College men’s basketball standout Kaleb Violette, has made a full recovery. She put together 16 points and 17 rebounds against Morse.

Lucky 13

The Cindy Curse is over.

Lawrence High School had not won a girls’ basketball tournament game from the quarterfinal round onward, before or after Cindy Blodgett led the Bulldogs to four straight Class A championships from 1991 to 1994.

Lawrence ended its 13-year drought and erased that little oddity from the record books Friday night with a 46-44 win over Skowhegan. Not that the win came easily.

The Bulldogs went 0-for-9 from the field in second quarter and actually extended their lead from three to five points thanks to a flurry of free throws.

Alexa Bernatchez scored 15 of her 19 points in the second half, and Brogan Liberty notched nine of her 11 in the fourth quarter to help the Bulldogs hang on.


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