This time of the season, being second-best isn’t such a bad thing.

With the final Heal Points released this weekend,  Edward Little, Leavitt and Rangeley all found themselves landing the second seed in their respective classes. The task at hand is now to upgrade that status during tournament week.

“We were very excited,” said EL coach Craig Jipson, whose team narrowly finished behind Morse in Eastern A. “It’s a young group. We started a freshman and two sophomores all year. I think the leadership of the senior class of Frankie Lally, Miranda Martin and Dawna Daigle was key this year. Some kids played great roles. We had kids that were defensive players that came off the bench and have followed their roles very well. That senior leadership paved the way for the young kids to break out their season.”

EL went 13-5 last year and lost in the Eastern A quarterfinals before graduating two all-star players and much of its offense.  EL still managed to be a force and  earned a third straight spot in the KVAC Championship game. The Red Eddies play Morse Monday at Cony High School at 7 p.m. The Shipbuilders beat EL twice during the regular season.

“They’re obviously a senior-laden club,” said Jipson. “They have a lot of experience.  (Nikoline) Ostergaard was the Player of the Year in the conference. She’s a superstar player. When they have (Katie) Henrikson and (Tarra) Burr as their second and third options, that’s a strong team. We’ll have to play extremely well. It will take a great effort to beat them.”

EL won the KVAC game two years ago and lost last year. The Red Eddies have played well in the Cony gym in recent seasons and have found the KVAC a good precursor to the tourney. EL plays seventh-ranked Bangor next Friday at  4:30 p.m. at the Augusta Civic Center.

“Two years ago, we won the KVAC game and then went on to win our quarterfinal game by about 20 points over Mt. Ararat,” said Jipson, whose team needed the game last year to adjust losing their top player Kirsten Prue to injury late in the season. “So I think it does help playing in this game.”

In Western B, unbeaten Leavitt is already coming off a KVAC title. The Hornets won their second straight conference crown Saturday night with a 65-51 win over Medomak Valley.

Leavitt’s 18-0 regular season still wasn’t enough to unseat the defending state champions from York, who took the top seed with an unbeaten mark of its own.

Leavitt lost in the semifinals to Greely last year but return most of its team. The high-scoring Hornets open tourney play against seventh-ranked Cape Elizabeth at the Portland Expo.

Also in Western B, Mountain Valley earned the fourth seed with a 14-4 mark. The Falcons also lost to Greely last year in the quarters and draw the Rangers again at the Expo.

Oak Hill is a newcomer to the mix. After missing the tourney by a mere handful of Heals the last two seasons, the Raiders went 12-6 to earn the sixth seed. They draw a tough Lake Region squad in the quarterfinals but enter the tourney happy for the opportunity.

“We’re excited to get there,” said Oak Hill coach Tom Morong. “I keep telling them that they don’t know what they don’t know. Once they get there, they’ll want to go back every year. That’s good because we have  10 kids coming back.”

Gray-New Gloucester could earn a return trip to the Expo but must host Wells in a prelim game Tuesday.  The Patriots beat Wells 41-28 earlier in the season.

In Western D, Rangeley’s second place finish isn’t a surprise, but it took a great deal for the Lakers to get there. Rangeley lost standout guard Allie Hammond to a knee injury in soccer and battled other injuries, but still managed to go 15-3 including a decisive win over top-ranked Richmond.

The Lakers have lost in the regional final the last two years but have an experienced squad that is expected to contend.  Rangeley opens the tourney a week from today with a quarterfinal matchup with Vinalhaven. The Lakers swept the Vikings in two games in Rangeley late in the season.

One thing that has worked for the Lakers this year is focusing on their own game.

“We spent a lot of time this year studying Coach (John) Wooden and the pyramid of success,” said Rangeley coach Heidi Deery. “One of the things he believed in was preparing your own team. We’ve really worked on making sure we’re prepared.”

In Western C, there are a lot of familiar names in the tourney field.  Though Hall-Dale and Waynflete took the top two spots, Livermore Falls finished third at 15-3.

The Andies earned a berth in Monday’s MVC Championship game at the Augusta Civic Center. Livermore Falls will play top-seeded Hall-Dale at 8 p.m.  The two clubs didn’t meet in the regular season. It should be a good opportunity for the Andies to adjust to the ACC atmosphere after losing to the Bulldogs in the quarterfinals last year.

Jay returns to the fourth seed at 15-3. The Tigers lost to Dirigo in the quarterfinals last year. Jay play fifth-seeded Traip in the opening round. Dirigo drew the sixth-spot and will play Livermore Falls, a team the Cougars beat late in the regular season.

St. Dom’s could also make a return appearance. The Saints are the seventh-seed but must host NYA in a prelim. St. Dom’s went 12-6 last year and finished seventh before losing to Waynflete. Out of NYA’s 10 wins,  none of them came against playoff teams with winnings records and included four Western D squads.

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