AUGUSTA — What a week.

The high school basketball tournament is nearing its apex, with regional semifinals and finals set to tip off this weekend. By late Saturday evening, the final contenders for coveted Gold Balls will be determined.

At the Augusta Civic Center, it’s been a wild week through the D South, C South and A North tournaments. We’ve seen some great stuff.

There’s been an upset or two (hello, Messalonskee boys), a crowd-pleasing dunk (Skowhegan senior Adam Savage with authority) and plenty of noteworthy performances (Brewer boys set long-distance tourney record).

Throughout the action, we’ve talked with some of the student-athletes who’ve left an indelible mark at the Augusta Civic Center, as well as captured a few compelling moments.

Here’s some of highlights, in no particular order:


Walk-off winner

Messalonskee sophomore Merrick Smith showed plenty of poise when he beat defending Class A champ Nokomis and the buzzer with a tough shot to end a wild A North quarterfinal game.

Hey, the cows have to eat

Forest Hills guard Allie Dunning (right) had a busy morning on Feb. 20. Prior to her team’s victory over Greenville in a D South quarterfinal, she had to feed some livestock before heading to Augusta. It’s so Maine — and in a good way.

“No team is gonna want to play us.”

You have to appreciate the physical style that the Skowhegan boys basketball team enjoys playing. The River Hawks have a ton of size, with three players (Collin and Kyle LePage, as well as Adam Savage) standing 6-foot-5. The trio is tough to defend or attack. It also does not lack any confidence. After an A North quarterfinal victory over rival Lawrence, Kyle LePage said no team wants a piece of Skowhegan. Bold (and awesome).

Navigating the high seas

Life isn’t always easy while suiting up for a Class D school. Just about every road game involves a very, very long bus ride. Or, if Vinalhaven is on the schedule, a long boat ride. Yes, games at Vinalhaven involve taking a trip on a ferry. The adventure, Valley senior Brielle Hill explains, can be … unsettling at times.

The Lawrence Bulldog gets into a groove

The high school bands have been terrific this week, and the Lawrence Bulldog certainly got into a groove.

Revenge on his mind

The Valley and Forest Hills boys basketball teams enjoy a healthy yet fierce rivalry. They are also the top two teams in D South, and will meet in the regional final on Saturday. That brings great joy to Valley freshman Fisher Tewksbury, who earlier this week expressed a strong desire to avenge two regular season losses to the Tigers.

The technical foul call? Not a fan

Skowhegan senior Adam Savage threw down a crowd-pleasing dunk during an A North semifinal win over Messalonskee, but then got slapped with a technical foul for hanging on the rim. Needless to say, Savage wasn’t a huge fan of the call.

Keep your hair short — it’s the rule

The Forest Hills boys basketball team has a haircut rule. It’s the truth, honest. Coach Anthony Amero says players are required to keep their hair above the eyebrows and above the ears. There are, of course, ways to circumvent the policy. Cooper Daigle explains …

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