For fans of high school basketball the anticipation is growing as tourney time is less than three weeks away. For keen followers of the sport, this past weekend perhaps provided a harbinger of the excitement to come once this favorite time of year rolls around.
Plenty of noise was made in the class B girls ranks Friday night as Foxcroft Academy traveled to Hermon and knocked off the second-ranked Hawks 38-33. FA has been flying a bit under the radar all season, despite losing just one senior off their squad from a year ago. That team gave top-seeded Houlton all they wanted last February before coming up a bit short in the quarterfinal round.
Earlier in the week, Presque Isle traveled to Houlton and knocked off the previously undefeated Shiretowners 63-62. Previously, Houlton survived scares from John Bapst, winning by three, then prevailed over Hermon in double overtime. A key game Monday night will be John Bapst at Hermon. Off all classes in Northern Maine, boys or girls, B girls appears to be the most wide open, based on the happenings of the regular season.
Shifting to the boys ranks, also in class B, the Presque Isle boys stunned previously undefeated MDI Friday night by a 60-53 score. The Wildcats, 3-15 a year ago, are currently third in the latest Heal Point Standings.
Upstaging the Wildcats in the newsworthy department Friday night was the end of “the streak”. Bangor, 3-10 in Class AA, took one of their few short bus rides of the season to face Hampden Academy. Hampden came into the contest having never lost in their new gym while holding a 62 game home winning streak overall. It was a string of victories which started in January, 2010. A young Hampden team, returning just one starter from a year ago entered the contest with a 12-1 record. Bangor pulled away in the fourth quarter to pick up the huge point worthy victory by a 57-47 score. Sophomore guard Damien Vance had a stellar game for the Rams scoring 27 points.
The victory pulled Bangor back into the play-off hunt. On Saturday night a huge shocker took place in Windham as the Eagles defeated previously undefeated Edward Little by a 60-58 score. With six of the eight teams in AA North qualifying for postseason play, Windham’s victory significantly widened the gap between them and the seventh ranked Rams. Each team has four games remaining on their schedule.
Saturday also marked significant individual milestones for a couple Penobscot Bay area players. Junior guard Taylor Schildroth eclipsed the career thousand point plateau in George Stevens’ victory over Penquis Valley. Schildroth scored 37 points in the contest. On Friday night GSA traveled to Lee Academy and came away with a 73-66 victory, one of their closest contests of the season.
Searsport’s Barrett Grant also surpassed the thousand point career threshold on Saturday in the Vikings loss at Valley.
Most importantly, this past weekend brought the conclusion of cancer awareness week throughout the Maine basketball community. The officials got involved with “Blow the Whistle on Cancer Week”. Rather than blowing the standard black whistles, the officials wore pink whistles to raise awareness and funds for cancer.
Not to be outdone, the state’s coaches wore sneakers with their game attire in Suits and Sneakers. Many schools throughout the state used both promotions during the week to raise awareness and funds. Thank you to each of you who attended games over the past week and donated to this very worthy cause.