AA North

Players to  watch: Sr. F Matt Fleming, Bangor; Sr. C Wol Maiwen, Edward Little; Jr. G Austin Brown, Edward Little; Sr. C Colton Carson, Oxford Hills; Sr. G Spencer Strong; Sr. F Ben Onek, Deering; Sr. G Pedro Fonseca, Portland; Sr. G/F Matt Duchaine, Cheverus; Sr. C Dierhow Bol, Windham; Sr. G Hassan Hussein, Lewiston; Jr. G Dylon Jackson, Lewiston.

Austin Brown drives through Bangor defenders Jason Smith, left, Henry Westrich, Luke Caruso and Matt Fleming on his way to the basket during the first half in Auburn last week. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Overview: The consensus among AA North coaches all season has been that the region is wide open, and one can make a good case for each of the top five teams walking away with the hardware. Bangor and defending champion Edward Little split during the regular season. Oxford Hills split with Bangor and lost to EL twice but has shown it can give both teams problems with its physical style. Deering got a big boost of confidence with its season-ending win over rival Portland to break a 14-game losing streak to the Bulldogs. The city rivals meet again in the quarterfinals. That may be a much-needed spark for Portland, which has struggled with inconsistency all year but has shown it can play with the top seeds.

A North

Players to watch: Jr. G Simon McCormick, Cony; Jr. G Bryce Lausier, Hampden Academy; Sr. G James Anderson, Mt. Blue; Sr. G Garrett Reynolds, Mt. Blue; Sr. G Kobe Nadeau, Lawrence; Sr. G Braden Soule, Erskine Academy; Sr. G Marcus Christopher, Skowhegan; Sr. G Ryan Creamer, Medomak Valley; Jr. F Gabe Allaire, Medomak Valley.

Overview: Cony earned the top seed with its run-and-gun attack and is tough to stop when its shooters are on the mark. But defending champion Hampden is the favorite. Mt. Blue has wins over both of those teams on its resume, but the Cougars have lost three of their last four, including a 70-45 loss at Hampden. Lawrence also has a win over the Broncos and a one-point loss to Cony.

A South

Players to watch: Sr. F Andrew Storey, Greely; Sr. G Zach Brown, Greely; So. G Brady Cummins, York; Sr. F Nik Hester, Falmouth; Jr. G Mike Simonds, Falmouth; Jr. C Cole Morin, Leavitt; So. G Wyatt Hathaway, Leavitt; So. G Joziah Learned, Leavitt; Jr. F Max Murray, Kennebunk; Sr. G Noah Cox, Brunswick; Sr. G Oscar Saunders, Fryeburg Academy.

Overview: Led by a veteran nucleus that raised the gold ball last year, Greely is the favorite to repeat. Two of the Rangers’ three losses were to Class AA foes, but York did split its two regular-season meetings with them. The Wildcats also have shown a knack for winning close games, which can be a big help in the tournament. Leavitt, making its Class A tourney debut, stands out in the Western Maine Conference-dominated field. The Hornets’ balance and fearlessness will be important for their quarterfinal with Kennebunk, which plays a similar uptempo style.

B South

Players to watch: Sr. F Keegan Davis, Mountain Valley; Sr, C Cameron Godbois, Mountain Valley; So. G Cash McClure, Maranacook; Sr. C Andrew Hartel, Cape Elizabeth; Sr. G John Martin, Gray-New Gloucester; Sr. C Hunter Colby, Gray-New Gloucester; Sr. G Kayle Stewart, Spruce Mountain; Sr. F Tate Walton, Spruce Mountain; Sr. F Tyler Bridge, Wells; Jr. G DJ Douglass, Lisbon.

Overview: The Western Maine Conference has dominated the region, with a representative winning it the past 11 years in a row. Mountain Valley was the last non-WMC team to win when it went back-to-back in 2006-07. The 2006 team was also the last Falcon team to go in as the top seed before this year’s. The Falcons have a good mix of size, speed and depth to match up with most teams. Maranacook plays at a tempo that can wear down opponents on the big Portland Expo/Cross Insurance Arena floors. Cape Elizabeth had arguably the toughest regular-season schedule in the field. Gray-New Gloucester rides with a senior class that has gone one step deeper into the tournament each year, but faces a tough quarterfinal test in Spruce Mountain, which is a very different team than the one the Patriots beat in last year’s quarters.

C South

Players to watch: Sr. C Cam Wood, Winthrop; Jr. F Jevin Smith, Winthrop; Jr. G Askar Hussein, Waynflete; Sr. F Ashtyn Abbott, Hall-Dale; Sr. G Steve Reny, Boothbay; Sr. C Connor Davies, Monmouth; Jr. G Gabe Martin, Monmouth; Sr. C Jeremy St. Germain, Dirigo; Jr. F Nate Luce, Mt. Abram; Sr. G Noah Wiley, Buckfield.

Overview: Winthrop seized the top seed thanks in part to the Heal points garnered from going 3-0 against Class B teams on the schedule, but the only blemish on their 17-1 record came courtesy of defending regional champion Hall-Dale. Waynflete has some impressive wins over Western Maine Conference Class B teams on its resume, too, and always seems to catch the Mountain Valley Conference teams in the field off-guard with its quickness and pace. Monmouth, looking to make its first trip to Augusta since 2014, could be a test for Hall-Dale in the quarterfinals if it gets to the Civic Center.

D South

Players to watch: Sr. F Brandon Gilboe, Forest Hills;’ So. G Parker Desjardins, Forest Hills; Sr. F Ilija Ivkovic, Temple Academy; Sr. G Joey Thomas, Valley; Jr. G/F Nolan Boone, Rangeley; So. G Kenny Thompson, Rangeley; Jr. F Camden Harmon, Greenville; Sr. C/F Mikael Stone, Vinalhaven; Jr. G Chris Amisi, Pine Tree.

Overview: After Greenville steamrolled through the region the last two years, unbeaten Forest Hills has made a strong case for being the heir apparent during the regular season, averaging 77.6 points per game while dispatching of the rest of the teams in the tournament by double figures in every game. Temple and Valley could meet in an intriguing semifinal after splitting their two meetings so far this season. Rangeley could have its hands full in the quarterfinals with a Greenville team looking to prove it shouldn’t be counted out despite graduating most of the championship team’s nucleus.

 

 


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