AUGUSTA — There’s been a few moments of flashbacks for Brittany DiPompo this past week.

The Rangeley assistant girls’ basketball coach played for Jay when the Tigers won the Class C state title in 2009. DiPompo joined the Lakers this season and has enjoyed being part of another championship team.

“When the girls do their different routines and different superstitions, it was exactly like it was when we won states back in Jay,” DiPompo recalls.

Rangeley won its second straight D South title and plays in the state championship game Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center at 1 p.m. against Shead. DiPompo took a teaching job at Rangeley this season and jumped at the chance to work with the team.

“It’s been an amazing experience to be part of another team that has had so much success,” said DiPompo, who was a standout basketball, softball and field hockey player at Jay. “Obviously, going to Rangeley, I knew about the program being only 45 minutes away in Jay. When I got the job there, I was like there must be some way I can be part of this amazing program I only heard about.”

It’s the first time DiPompo has been involved in coaching since graduating from the University of Maine. She says its a little new being on the sidelines instead of part of the action.


“It’s been a different experience as a coach sitting on the bench and wondering what the girls are feeling like,” said DiPompo, whose aunt, Jane, has been a longtime field hockey coach at Jay and Spruce Mountain. “Sometimes I feel like I’m more nervous than they are.”

When Jay won the state title, the Tigers were the second seed after a 14-4 regular season. DiPompo was a sophomore on a team with just two seniors. Jay beat Waynflete in the regional final and then rallied from behind to beat George Stevens Academy for the Gold Ball in the Bangor Auditorium.

Though she joined a team that has some playoff seasoning, she’s tried to tap into her own tourney career to support this year’s Lakers team.

“I tried to bring some of my personal experiences of what I went through not too long ago,” DiPompo said. “I tried to bring some of the positive energy that I had when I was in high school. I know they already have some of that, but I could just be like, ‘Hey, you can do it. I totally believe in your and I just joined the program.’ I was joining a program that was already set, but I tried to bring something else too.” – Kevin C. Mills

Late, great show

It wasn’t a thing of beauty throughout, but if you judge the Class C South boys’ championship game between Waynflete and Winthrop by the final three minutes of regulation and overtime, this year’s gathering at Augusta Civic Center saved the best for last.


Defensive stops, proficiency from the free-throw line and some big shots from Jacob Hickey rallied the Ramblers from an eight-point deficit in the fourth quarter.

Then the Flyers returned the favor in overtime, finishing with a 7-2 run to swipe a 43-41 win and their second regional championship in three years. It wasn’t decided until Milo Belleau swatted down a second-chance shot by Bennett Brooks at the horn.

“I think maybe a little bit of the thrill of the moment got to us,” Waynflete coach Rich Henry said. “We got that six, eight-point lead, and it’s not insurmountable against a team like that. They kept battling and battling and battling. They’re scrappy. They bite and claw.”

Waynflete played two nearly perfect games in knocking out MVC powers Wiscasset and Dirigo. Anchored by steady Abel Alemayo, Will Nelligan, Willy Burdick and Belleau, the Flyers turned it over only five times against the top-seeded Cougars in a 60-45 semifinal victory.

Winthrop’s defense, led by the quickness of Hickey, Bennett Brooks, Nate Scott and Spencer Steele and the ability of Anthony Owens and Garrett Tsouprake to draw fouls in the paint, made Waynflete hand it over 25 times.

“I looked at their games. One of the games I went to was Yarmouth, a scrappy team, and they only turned over (Waynflete) 11 times. I was like, ‘Oh, man,’ because I know how great that program is,” Winthrop coach Todd MacArthur said. “But we do a pretty good job turning people over. That’s what we do. We create gaps that look like they’re open and then all of a sudden they close. It’s a bait-and-switch type thing.


“It kept us in ballgames. You saw it out there tonight. It definitely kept us in ballgames where the scoring disappeared.”

Hickey, held to five points until the six-minute mark of the fourth quarter, finished with 18.

He hit a 3-pointer and two impossibly tense free throws to make up the gap at the end of regulation.

“We didn’t do a good job of freeing him up. That falls on my shoulders. We probably could have run a few more screens,” MacArthur said. “At the end we just kind of threw the playbook, went through everything we had, and Jake stepped up at the end. He’s a great player and he didn’t want to go down like that. He made some plays at the end and other kids made some plays.”

Hickey will return as a starter in 2016-17 along with Brooks, Scott, Steele and Tsouprake. Owens and Derek McLaughlin are Winthrop’s lone seniors.

“Probably the way the game had gone, they didn’t deserve a chance, but they fought back and they had one at the end,” MacArthur said. “I’m more proud of those kids than I’ve ever been before.”


It was Winthrop’s first regional championship game appearance since 2008, when the Ramblers won their most recent state title.

“We all watched that team with Sam Leclerc,” Hickey said. “After that was when we all started working together toward this, in about third grade.” – Kalle Oakes

College search

Rangeley’s senior forward Blayke Morin will be playing in the state game Saturday, hoping to cap off her career in fine fashion. But that’s the extent of what she can say about her future plans.

Morin is still deciding about college choices. She says she wants two study nursing and intends to stay in Maine, but otherwise, she’s still mulling it over.

“We’re not sure yet,” Morin said. “I’m communicating with some schools. I’m in the talks of it and we’ll see what happens.”


Morin would be a great addition to any Maine basketball program. The six-foot-forward has scored over 1,000 points at Rangeley and was the D South tourney’s most outstanding players Saturday after scoring a career-high 34 points against Vinalhaven. – Kevin C. Mills

A good week

Edward Little’s Emily Jacques had a pretty good week last week. She was named a semifinalist for the Miss Maine Basketball Award on Wednesday and helped her team win its first-ever regional title on Friday.

Jacques joined a list of Maine’s elite girls’ basketball players that include  some of Jacques AAU teammates with the Maine Mainiacs, like South Portland’s Maddie Hasson and Lawrence’s Nia Irviing and Dominique Lewis. Other semifinalists included York’s Shannon Todd and Chloe Smedley, McAuley’s Jess Willerson, Mt. Desert Island’s Kelsey Shaw and Sierra Tapley and Oxford Hills’ Tianna Sugars.

“I didn’t expect it at all,” Jacques said. “So it was a great honor, and I’m really excited about it.”

Jacques led EL in scoring with 15.6 points per game and averaged 6.1 rebounds and 2.5 assists. She also has 53 steals and was 78 percent from the free throw line. She was named the AA North tourney’s first MVP after scoring 15 in the semifinal and 13 in the championship win over Oxford Hills.


EL plays for the state title Saturday at 6 p.m. in Portland. The list of Miss Basketball candidates will be narrowed to three after the state games. The winner will be named March 11 at the McDonald’s High School Senior All-Star Banquet at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.

Jacques also recently decided on her college choice. She’ll be attending Springfield College and playing basketball there while studying health sciences. Former EL teammate Kory Norcross attends Springfield.

“It’s a big weight off my shoulders,” Jacques said of the decision. “I knew I wanted to play basketball. They had a great program and they were really successful in my major.” – Kevin C. Mills

Great progress

The Oxford Hills girls’ basketball team fell short of a regional title last week but still produced a wonderful season. The Vikings had just three seniors and managed to earn the No. 1 seed in AA North after going 15-3.

“There were a lot of firsts for our girls,” Oxford Hills coach Nate Pelletier said. “I was proud of the way they fought all year. Every game we had was a close game and we found ways to win those games. Part of that was being able to get the lead in the fourth quarter. We just couldn’t get it in that (regional final) game. If we did, it would have been a different outcome.”


Inside of the Vikings taking the late lead and finishing it off with outstanding free throw-shooting, it was EL that surged at the end and held off Oxford Hills. Still, it was a great season for a Vikings team that had to replace some wonderful talent with many younger players in new roles. Seniors Jayden Colby, Ally Hanley and Sugars were all seasoned starters. A number of Oxford Hills players came into their own this season and had great impact, including Erin Morton, Erin Eastman, Jadah Adams and Maighgread Laliberte.

The Viking entered the year just hoping to make the tourney but ended up challenging for a championship.

“At the beginning of the year, we didn’t feel like we were a very good basketball team at all,” Pelletier said. “The progress throughout the whole year to now is leaps and bounds. It’s probably the most a team has grown for me in a long time.” – Kevin C. Mills

History lesson

When the members of the Gray-New Gloucester girls’ basketball team get back to class Monday, they might want to focus their studies on history.

Not U.S History or World History Before 1800 or some other class that could potentially put them to sleep. No, the history the Patriots players should be studying is much more recent, and much more relevant to their immediate concerns.


The Patriots will be playing for the Class B state championship for the first time since 2002 this coming Friday. While that doesn’t seem that long ago, the 14-year gap is a lot for a team full of girls in their teens. So it can be pardoned if these Patriots don’t know much about those Patriots, who lost to Mt. Desert Island in Bangor.

“They had Dawn Ross. I don’t really know any of the other players,” Gray-NG junior Grace Kariotis said. “My mom said they were a team similar like us.”

Yes, that 2002 team (and the 2001 team that also made it to states) had Dawn Ross at guard, before she moved on to play at the University of Southern Maine. Yet if the girls ask one of the social studies teachers at the high school, Mike Andreasen — who also happens to be their coach — they can get a lesson on Gray-NG girls’ basketball history.

“I had those kids in class. Dawn Ross, Josalee Danieli, Katie Whittier, Sarah DeLuca — Sarah was on the first team,” Andreasen said. “I remember those kids were like god-like status. Those kids in school were all that.”

Whittier went on to play at the University of Maine, Ross at USM, Danieli at Rhode Island College, then USM, and DeLuca at Gordon College.

That group inspired a new generation of future Patriots players, the fruits of which have been felt for the past decade and a half.


“You don’t realize it at the time, because you look at kids like Katie Whittier — who went on to play at University of Maine — and you look at some of these kids, you say ‘wow, they were just so good,'” Andreasen said. “Boy, you know, our kids are pretty good, too. Our kids did a good job.

“I hope now that my kids are, for the little kids in the community, have that same stature if you will, because they’ve really worked hard.”

These Patriots don’t have that star power heading into their own state championship game. Junior forward Skye Conley was the team’s leading scorer, at less than 12 points per game, and the regional champions didn’t have a Mike DiRenzo Award winner, given to the Class B South tournament’s most outstanding player-sportsman. That went to regional final-losing Lincoln Academy’s Brie Wajer, who joined the long list of winners that includes Whittier twice.

Time will tell if these Patriots approach that status for a new group of Patriot hoopsters a decade and a half from now. – Wil Kramlich

Be like Liza

What the Patriots of yesteryear started for a whole new generation of players in Gray and New Gloucester — the girls’ team is perennially in the tournament — the Mountain Valley girls’ coach wants for his own community.


The Falcons were the top seed in the bracket that Gray-New Gloucester conquered. It was a season that has been more an outlier than an expectation for Mountain Valley. Falcons coach Ryan Casey wants that to change.

He’s hoping a player like junior forward Liza White — who scored 10 points and grabbed six rebounds in a season-ending regional semifinal losst to Lincoln Academy — can do just that.

“Liza White, as a freshman, came to Mountain Valley High School and tried out, and I asked her to help me create an atmosphere where basketball is the thing that the little girls in the community of Rumford and Mexico love the most,” Casey said after the semifinal loss. “I think you saw her play tonight in a way that if a young Falcon was watching, they want to be Liza White. She’s a tough kid and she’s a great kid.”

White epitomized the Falcons as a team this year. Not flashy, but hard-working, and a team that will grind an opponent down on the way to defeat. Casey still has one more year with White, as well as the majority of this year’s team, and hopes that earning the No. 1 seed, or at least making a tournament run, becomes the expectation. – Wil Kramlich

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