Players to watch

Forest Hills — Dylan McNally, Evan Worster, Joey Gilbert, Ray Petrin; Greenville — Tony DiAngelo, Alex Jardine, Ricky Derboghosian, Matt DiAngelo; Richmond — Mike Christie, Tom Carter, Kyle O’Brien, Ben Carver; Islesboro — D.J. Johnson, Jason Hatch, Gerard Scherr; Vinalhaven — Brian Stanley, Steven Osgood, Bobby Beckman; Elan — Jack Peters, Malik Nunn; Valley — Josh West, Carrington Miller, Seth Stevens; Rangeley — Alex Morton, Zeke Hall, Regan Sargent.

Favorites

Forest Hills is top seed for the second time in three years. After surviving overtime in the quarterfinals, the Tigers reached the championship game in 2008. Forest Hills isn’t deep, and as usual will rely on eighth-graders and freshmen to play key minutes. But two reliable scorers, a solid rebounder and commitment to the halfcourt game could carry the Tigers to the finish.

Two straight quarterfinal losses have given Greenville the experience necessary to take an extra step or two this February. Nobody in Western D played a tougher schedule — 14 of the Lakers’ 18 games were against fellow tournament teams.

Hmmm, seems like we’re missing somebody … Oh, right, Richmond. All the Bobcats have done is win three regional titles in a row and four of the last five. Count them out at your peril.

Darkhorses

EWC teams are at least somewhat familiar with Islesboro: Five of them played the Eagles this season. Johnson, a 1,000-point scorer, has the kind of game that could get fans thumbing through the program curious about the tournament scoring record by midway through the third quarter.

Elan returns top the tournament after a one-year hiatus. The Bucs lost close games to their only two tournament opponents, Greenville and Forest Hills. Peters is the best player you’ve never seen. A New Yorker who’s still relatively new to the game, Peters is a state champion jumper in track who contributes a little bit of everything on the court.

Fun facts

Valley hasn’t missed a tournament since 1979, when it was a Class C school. The Cavaliers extended that streak by winning its last five games after an 0-5 and 3-9 start … Vinalhaven is the only school in the field other than Valley or Richmond to win the regional championship since ’89 … Five of the last eight Western D quarterfinal games have been decided by five points or fewer … Forest Hills is in the tournament for the 11th straight year.

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