LEWISTON — LA Maples co-owner Josh Brister paced the hardwood floor and marveled at the Lewiston Armory’s architectural features and history.

It was about 15 minutes before he and co-owner Jen Buchanan stepped to the podium to announce that the Maples, a women’s semipro basketball team, would begin holding tryouts and practices in the summer of 2022.

“This place (is) Lewiston — where nobody knows about it,” Brister said as he kept looking around the gym. “You can sit up there and see the game. Next summer, you are going to sit up there and see the game. It is not a huge place, but it is big enough. Jimmy Hendrix performed here in Lewiston, Maine. I just love sports. I love the community it brings.”

The LA Maples will be the 35th expansion team of the Women’s American Basketball Association, playing home games Sundays at the armory.

A handful people, including Lewiston Mayor Mark Cayer, gathered to listen to the co-owners and president of basketball operations Jim Seavey discuss the Maples planning for their inaugural season.

“We are excited,” Cayer said. “I expect strong support from our city officials and our community. This is something different. You don’t have one of these basketball teams in every community. This will bring new dynamics to the sport offerings in Lewiston.”

Seavey said the Lewiston Armory works for him.

“The thing about the venue is the crowd is right on top of you,” Seavey said. “Having coached high school basketball in different venues, especially at state tournament time, the Portland Civic Center wasn’t a real nice basketball venue. The Portland Expo, with the crowd right on top of you, that’s when it gets exciting.

“With that being said, there are some rules in place in this league that are going to make the game very exciting for fans. It is not a 10-second backcourt line now. It is seven. The other side to that is if you are a pressing team, and you are forcing tempo and you turn your opponent over in the the backcourt, you get an extra point if you score off that turnover.

“That is going to generate enthusiasm and excitement among the fans. The goal is to sell the place out every game.”

Buchanan said the location and the community were selling points for the Maples.

“We are excited to be in Lewiston at the armory, playing in July 2022,” she said. “We chose this location because we thought that this is an up-and-coming area (with) untapped potential.”

She said the Maples will add “a lot of family fun” to the community and ticket prices will be reasonable. She estimated a family of four will enjoy drinks and a hot dog for around $40. Buchanan said that once the Maples are up and running, there will be season tickets, too. She encouraged fans to follow the team on Instagram and Facebook, where there will also be information about ticket prices and tryouts for the team.

She also spoke about how she and Brister met to form this joint venture.

“Josh ran a sports podcast for a really long time and I worked for Lawrence (Mass.) public schools, and our basketball program is sort of legendary — if I do say so myself,” she explained. “Josh came to do a documentary, I guess you could say, on the program, and I mentor for that program.

“We had a mutual interest in basketball and this opportunity came to him and he asked me if I was interested.”

Seavey weighed in about housing the players and working around their full-time jobs.

“We have some realtors willing to work with us to provide some apartment opportunities, condos, whatever it might be,” Seavey said. “With that being said, nobody is going to get rich playing in this league. So I am sure there will be some commuting amongst the women getting to and from practices.”

Brister said the Maples will be playing teams all across the country.

“We will play teams out of Atlanta, New York … so it is going to be a matter of us working together to put together a schedule,” he added.

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