Hoop playoffs under way
The Heal Point Standings have been finalized and the MPA basketball postseason is about to begin with preliminary round action today and Wednesday.
The Brunswick boys, Mt. Ararat girls, Freeport girls, Wiscasset boys, Lisbon girls, Richmond girls, and Hyde boys are all in.
This is how the postseason shapes up for Mid- coast region schools:
The Brunswick boys (11-7) earned the sixth seed in Eastern Maine Class A quarterfinal play and will take on No. 3 Mt. Blue (14-4) at 4 p.m. on Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center.
The two teams met in the KVAC regular season back on Jan. 6 with the Dragons prevailing, 59-56.
Mitch Black leads with 13.7 points per game, 4.4 rebounds/ game, 3.3 assists/ game and 3.3 steals/game, followed by Garrett Erb (6.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 2.4 apg), Trent Anderson (7.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg), Ryan Black (6.8 ppg) and Konnor Scarponi ( 6.2 ppg).
“It (Mt. Blue) was a good Heal Point win for us,” said Brunswick coach Todd Hanson. “However, they played that night without Eric Berry, who is the starting point guard, and one of their better players. They also feature the KVAC North Co-Player of the Year in 6-foot-6 Cam Sennick, and KVAC North First-Teamer Nick Hilton They have been widely considered one of the favorites this season to win the East.
“ Match- up wise, we feel that in the first game, we played pretty good defense and limited them to one shot on the offensive end. We will need to push tempo and try to get some easy hoops.”
As far as the Civic Center, Hanson doesn’t feel the venue “ will have much of an impact, as much as the stakes. Everyone is starting at 0-0 ... win, or go home. As we like to say in big games, “the lights are little brighter, and the popcorn has a little more butter on it...”
Mt. Ararat girls No. 4
The Mt. Ararat girls (12-6) are the fourth seed in Eastern Class A and will take on No. 5 Messalonskee (13-5) at 7 p.m. Friday in Augusta for a quarterfinal tilt.
The schools also met in the regular season, with Mt. Ararat pulling out a 47-32 win in Oakland.
Mallory Nelson leads with 188 points (10.4 ppg), followed by Leah Hitchcock with 181 (10.1), Caitlin LaFountain 128 (7.1), Kristi Willey 123 6.8) and Chelsea Crawford 108 (6.0).
In the rebounding department looks for Hitchcock (155, 8.6 rpg), Mallory Nelson (139, 7.7) and LaFountain (98, 5.4), while top playmakers are Kristi Willey ( 50 assists), Crawford (35), Nelson (32) and LaFountain (30).
LaFountain leads in steals with 49, followed by Nelson (39) and Willey (30).
“ We played them in the eighth game of the season, so both teams have had a chance to develop and get more comfortable with each other and their roles,” said Mt. Ararat coach Kelly LaFountain. “They have won eight of their last 10 games. They are always a tough opponent come tournament time.
“ I feel we match up well with them. They have two very good players in Mary Badeen and Megan Pelletier, but I feel we play good team defense and can, hopefully, take them out of their comfort zone. Our offense is balanced so we will hopefully create some match-up problems for them. I think it will be a very close and exciting game like a No. 4 vs. No. 5 contest should be.”
Coach LaFountain knows what needs to be done for the Eagles to advance.
“ In order for us to come away with the win we will need to limit Badeen’s touches on the ball and look to front Pelletier in the post with good help side. Offensively, we will need to value each possession and work hard on the boards to get more than one opportunity to score each time down. I also feel we can penetrate on this team and hopefully get to the foul line often.
“ It’s an exciting atmosphere in Augusta and especially playing the 7 p. m. game,” continued LaFountain. “The potential is there for more fans than in past years. I like the idea of a neutral floor and many of the current players were there last year. Hopefully, this experience enables the girls to get through the nerves quickly and buckle down to play our game. Everyone is looking forward to the opportunity.”
Lisbon girls tonight
On tap for tonight is No. 10 Lisbon girls (7-11) visiting No. 7 Waynflete ( 11- 7) in a Western Maine Class C prelim.
“Jessica Campbell is our stat leader in points and steals — Jess is averaging
“We didn't play Waynflete and are preparing as best as we can based on seeing them in previous tournaments,” allowed Wescott. “A key for us to winning the game is just to play our game and not to get frazzled with the pressure of it being a playoff game. As far as the gym goes, we should feel right at home because ours is small as well.”
Wednesday’s prelim action sees the No. 11 Freeport girls (9-9) visiting No. 6 Wells (13-5) in Western Class B.
Freeport and Wells met twice in Western Maine Conference play with Wells winning 45-44 at home on Dec. 20 and Wells prevailing 48-38 on the road on Jan 20.
“I think our team started the year off strong with wins against NYA and Cape, then we lost three in a row to Lake Region, Wells, and York,” said Freeport coach Jen Chon. “Over the Christmas break we gained some confidence, winning four out of five games ( one being against Spruce Mountain), and we went into January with huge wins versus Yarmouth, Falmouth, and Fryeburg. Then, our team had that week off for mid-terms and we struggled offensively as a team and lost six games in a row. But, we fought back as a team and found some rhythm and won the last four games.
“A huge factor to our wins was getting our point guard, Aubrey Pennell, back from what was going to be a season ending injury. Once Aubrey was cleared to play an entire game our team offense has completely changed and her intensity has brought our team to a different level. Leigh Wyman has stepped up offensively and has caught a rhythm from behind the arc, and instead of our team always pushing the ball to Nina Davenport — who teams try to stop — we have other girls who have stepped up to play. While we gained Aubrey back from injury, we lost starting forward Morgan Brown to the same back injury (tears in lower discs) and she will not be with us for the playoffs.”
This is a special time for the Falcons.
“As of right now, our team is excited that they have achieved their goal to make it to the playoffs and they are determined to show others what this team has to offer,” said Chon. “ Our girls are focused, determined, have more heart than ever, and are looking forward to it.”
Of the Wells matchup, we’ll let Chon explain: “We lost the first game by one point. We blew a 14- point lead going into the fourth quarter and at that time we were young and didn’t have the experience. Our second game versus Wells we lost by 10, but we were only down by two points at halftime and we were only 15-of-60 from the field. We got past our stretch of struggling offensively and we are coming together as a team on the defensive end.
“ We are learning each other’s styles of play and Aubrey is adding a lot offensively (3.2 assists per game) and her intensity at the defensive end. We have truly come together as a team at the perfect time! We both match up size-wise against each other and both of us have quick guards. I think this is a great matchup for us and we hope to prove to ourselves that we can pull off an upset. I am hopeful that Nina’s tournament experience from last year (with McAuley) will help lead this team and we will be mentally prepared with playing in such a big game on the road. We have been playing really well on the road so far this year and we are pumped!”
Also on the docket Wednesday, No. 10 Traip Academy (5- 10) visits No. 7 Wiscasset boys (10-8) in Western Maine Class C prelim play.
On Saturday, the top-seeded Hyde boys (15-1) will take on the prelim winner of No. 9 Seacoast Christian/ No. 8 Buckfield at 1 p. m. in an Augusta CC quarterfinal tilt.
The top-ranked Richmond girls (16-1) will have to wait until next Tuesday when they have an 11:30 a.m. Western Maine Class D quarterfinal date in Augusta with the winner of the No. 9 Buckfield/No. 8 Valley prelim.
In the regular season, Richmond beat Buckfield 52- 12 and 51-17 and defeated Valley 66-22 and 53-24.
Center Jamie Plummer leads the team in scoring (18 ppg) and rebounding (8.1 rpg), while Alyssa Pearson averages 8.6 points and 7.7 rebounds, Danica Hurley 7.0 points and 3.8 assists, Brianna Snedeker 4.0 points and 6.3 rebounds, Payton Johnson 5.5 points and 4.5 rebounds, Emily Leavitt 3.5 points and 4.8 rebounds, and Ciarra Lancaster 5.0 points and 3.0 rebounds.
Richmond averaged 51 points and allowed 27 per game.