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WESTERN A TOURNAMENT reflections, recaps, quotes, etc...

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: February 16th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

By Michael Hoffer
Special to MBR

Well, the 2009 Western Class A boys' basketball tournament sure got a lot more interesting in a 24-hour span, didn't it?

Most folks making their way to the Portland Expo Friday were thinking they'd be witnessing the first act of the Cheverus Invitational, but by late Saturday evening, the Stags suddenly appeared mortal, while three other teams have to believe they might be able to waltz in and steal this thing.

Here's one man's look back at Friday and Saturday's action, aided mightily by the comments of those who took part.


THORNTON ACADEMY 51 DEERING 48

Without question, this was the best of the eight games played at the Expo over the weekend. It reminded everyone why that setting is so special for postseason basketball. What a wonderful way to kick things off!

With a great crowd on hand, a dramatically smaller number of fouls called than in other games, and plenty of excitement in the air, Deering almost sprung the upset as the Rams came of age right in front of our eyes. Ultimately, however, the Golden Trojans proved too tough, making the clutch plays with the game on the line.

Deering had struggled against most of its top-notch competition this winter, but a big exception came on Jan. 2, when the Rams rallied for a 59-52 overtime home win over Thornton Academy. Anyone thinking that was a fluke was in for a rude awakening in the rematch.

Deering made the opening statement on a steal and a layup from senior Ronald Abwoch. After the Golden Trojans drew even on a bank shot from senior standout James Morse, junior Eddie Tirabassi hit a pair of free throws and senior Khadar Abbas made a jumper to put the Rams up 6-2. Senior John Trull made a layup for Thornton Academy, but Deering sophomore Jackson Frey converted a three-point play. A layup by junior Tomas Littlefield pulled the Golden Trojans to within 9-6 after one quarter.

In the second, Thornton Academy threatened on several occasions to go ahead, but couldn't do so until the waning seconds. Trull made a layup to start the quarter, Rams junior Ian Nono answered with two foul shots, but Littlefield made another layup to make it 11-10. After Deering went up three on a Nono putback, senior Ian Barwise first made his presence felt for the Golden Trojans, converting a three-point play to tie the score. Abbas then hinted at his brilliance to come with a 3-ball for a 16-13 advantage. After Trull scored on a putback, Abwoch hit a 3, but Barwise made a layup and senior Michael Guerin buried a 3 as time expired to give Thornton Academy its first lead, 20-19.

“It gave us a little momentum going into the second half,” said Golden Trojans coach Bob Davies. “We had the lead instead of being down two. It always helps to hit a shot at the buzzer.”

Thornton Academy then began the second half with a flourish, scoring the first 13 points of the third period to seemingly seize control.

Barwise was a huge factor early in the surge, hitting a spinning bank shot, making a layup and burying two foul shots for a 26-19 edge.

“We played defense and we rebounded,” Davies said. “Barwise controlled the defensive boards and that allowed us to go.”

Morse scored on a layup after a steal and senior Doug Wilcox hit a jumper and a 3-ball to make it 33-19.

“We started off with a great run in the third,” Morse said. “We played great defense. They're a great team and they came back at us.”

Deering would rise from the dead and get back in the contest before the quarter's end.

An Abbas 3 with 3:33 to play in the third ended a 6 minute, 29 second scoring drought and Thornton Academy's 18-0 run. With 2:23 left, Abbas hit another 3-ball and exactly a minute later, buried a third to make it 33-28.

“Abbas did it all,” Davies said. “He put them on his shoulders. What a great performance he had.”

“Khadar played a great game,” Morse added. “When he's shooting well, there's not much we can do. They're a young team, but they kept their composure well.”

Trull answered with a free throw to end the 9-0 run, but with 27.7 seconds to go, sophomore John Hardy (on a play that would be used again) executed a backdoor cut and made a layup to pull Deering within four, 34-30, after three quarters.

Barwise made a free throw and Morse followed with two to start the fourth and make it 37-30, but Tirabassi answered with a pair for the Rams. After Barwise put the Golden Trojans up 38-32 with a free throw with 6:38 to play, Abbas made another 3-pointer. Nono followed with two free throws and with 4:56 remaining, Tirabassi made two foul shots to give Deering its first lead, 39-38, since late in the first half.

Two Barwise free throws put Thornton Academy back on top and Morse made a layup after a steal, but Nono made a layup and Frey hit a jumper to make it 43-42 Rams. With 2:45 left, Barwise grabbed an offensive rebound and was fouled. He made one free throw to tie the score.

With 1:37 left, Morse put the Golden Trojans ahead 45-43 with a layup off an inbounds pass, but Abbas answered with his fifth 3-pointer to give Deering a 46-45 lead with 1:01 to go. Barwise answered with a layup, but with 25 seconds left, Hardy went backdoor again, took a pass from sophomore Nick Colucci and made a layup to give the upstart Rams a 48-47 lead.

Thornton Academy was on the ropes, but would respond. Inbounding the ball under their basket with 13 seconds remaining, the Golden Trojans got a break as Morse got free, took a pass and was fouled. He calmly sank both free throws to give Thornton Academy a 49-48 lead.

“We've been in close games all year,” Morse said. “We knew how to handle it and keep our composure. I was just pretending it was practice. I just went through my motions.”

Deering had a final chance to win it and to no one's surprise, the ball came to Abbas. This time, however, the Golden Trojans were ready for him as Wilcox shot out, soared and blocked the shot. Morse corralled the loose ball and raced in for a layup as time expired to account for the 51-48 final score.

“I came off a double-screen and I slipped,” said Morse, of the final play. “Doug saw it perfectly and stepped up. It was a great block. A great way to end the game. What a great game!”

“It's fun,” Davies added. “This is why we coach. It was a great game to be involved in. We're moving on.”

Barwise led the Golden Trojans with 18 points. Morse added 14. Trull finished with seven, Wilcox had five, Littlefield four and Guerin three.

Deering was led by Abbas, who had 20 points in his swan song.

Nono finished with eight points, Tirabassi had six, Abwoch and Frey had five apiece, Hardy added four.

Deering finished 12-7, but will be heard from again.

 

CHEVERUS 35 BIDDEFORD 25

As wonderful as the Deering-Thornton Academy game was, this contest was just the opposite. Very little flow or excitement. Even when Biddeford got to within four points late, you didn't get the impression the Tigers would spring the upset.

Cheverus must have thought it had the game in the bag when it was up 16 at the half and there's no question that Indiana Faithfull's missed dunk deflated the squad and it took a long time for the Stags to recover. They're lucky Lenny Cummings came to the rescue.

If you bleed purple and gold, you better hope this was the bad game that Cheverus had to get out of its system. If it wasn't, the Stags' season could end Wednesday.

Credit Biddeford for a strong effort. If senior Robin Wilson had reprised his strong preliminary round showing against Scarborough, the Tigers could have pulled off one of the great upsets ever. They could have buckled at the half, but they never stopped playing hard. Credit to Biddeford and its coaches for coming a long way this winter despite the obstacles.

The Tigers lost Cameron Neumann to an injury in the preseason, but still got here by virtue of a 10-8 regular season record and the playoff win over Scarborough.

Cheverus, meanwhile, simply dominated everyone it faced in the regular season, went 18-0 to extend its two-year win streak to 23 games and easily locked up the No. 1 seed.

On Jan. 2  in Biddeford, the Stags cruised to a 64-39 win in the regular season matchup. The last playoff meeting between the teams came in the 1997 preliminary round where Cheverus prevailed 85-63.

It took the Stags 3 minutes, 32 seconds to get on the scoreboard. The Tigers led 2-0 on a layup from senior Abdirahman Mohamed before Faithfull hit a 3-ball, a layup, and after senior Joe Dadiego made a leaner, Faithfull buried another 3 to make it 10-2. Senior Mick DiStasio followed with a layup to give Cheverus a 12-2 lead after one quarter.

A free throw from Cummings and a DiStasio jumper stretched the run to 15-0 before junior Travis Vigneault made a 3 for Biddeford, ending a 9 minute, 50 second drought. Junior Kyle Randall answered with a 3 for the Stags and Faithfull made a layup after a steal to give Cheverus a 20-5 advantage. Mohamed answered with a 3, but DiStasio made a layup after a steal and Cummings added a layup to give the Stags a seemingly commanding 24-8 lead at the break.

The bottom fell out for Cheverus in the second half and the team's decline was highlighted (or lowlighted) by a stunning play by Faithfull, the junior point guard extraordinaire, who has dazzled since his arrival from Australia last year with his decision making and poise.

After a steal in the third period, Faithfull cruised in for what most thought would be a layup, but instead, he hesitated, then tried to dunk with his right hand (he's left-handed). Compounding the miss, Faithfull was whistled for a frustration foul and was yanked by coach Bob Brown. The Stags immediately deflated and didn't recover until the game was on the line.

“The thing that I have a hard time with is we're in the tournament playing to win,” Brown said. “No one's up there ranking (for style like in figure skating or gymnastics) with an 8 or a 10. You score. He tried to dunk with his right hand and he's lefthanded. He wasn't the only one. We took bad outside shots. We didn't get the ball inside. We don't play a perimeter game. We did tonight. We forced everything.”

Biddeford crawled back in the game in the third behind a 3-ball from junior Abdimajid Mohamed, the first points of the game on a jumper from Wilson, a jumper from junior Nick Simpson and a layup from sophomore Chance Baldino. DiStasio closed the period with a layup and senior Peter Foley made a free throw at the end of the quarter to seemingly keep Cheverus in good stead, up 29-17.

The Stags wouldn't score again until 2:21 remained.

A Wilson layup made it a 10-point game. Abdirahman Mohamed buried a 3 with 6:11 to play and it was 29-22. With 3:32 to go, Abdimajid Mohamed made a 3 and suddenly it was 29-25. After Cheverus dodged a bullet on a 3-point attempt from the elder Mohamed, Cummings took a pass from DiStasio and made a layup to end a 7 minute, 9 second scoring drought (and an 8 minute, 7 second stretch without a field goal). Cummings would make another layup 21 seconds later and add a tip at the 1 minute mark giving the Stags a 35-25 win, but Brown was far from pleased in the aftermath.

“The team that won 18 games wasn't there tonight,” said the veteran coach. “We didn't play well together. I'm not sure why. I didn't think we practiced well (Thursday) and I think the results showed. We had no flow. We weren't sharp. It's almost like we were a step slow. We didn't explode inside. We weren't making shots. We just didn't play well. We have to get better performances. Nobody played best for us. Not one person had a good game.

“If we play like that Wednesday, we go home. Everyone's said we're the best team in the state. Not tonight, baby. Not tonight. A bunch of teams were up there watching and thinking 'Yahoo, we can get them.'”

Cheverus was led by Faithfull, who had 10 points, all in the first half. Cummings added nine, including six crucial points late. DiStasio had eight points, Foley and Randall three apiece and Dadiego finished with two.

Biddeford, which finished 11-9, got a team-high eight points from Abdirahman Mohamed. The younger Mohamed had six points, Wilson finished with four, Vigneault had three and Baldino and Simpson scored two points apiece.


PORTLAND 72 SOUTH PORTLAND 49

This was the most-anticipated contest of the first round and for three quarters, lived up to billing.
The Expo was filled to the rafters as South Portland brought a huge crowd and a ton of casual fans showed up expecting to see Red Riots' junior standout Keegan Hyland go off against a Portland team that was struggling entering the tournament.

Portland would prevail behind an unexpected hero, while South Portland simply couldn't get the ball to Hyland in the second half. Things went south quickly for the Red Riots, who will be back with a vengeance in 2009-2010.

Has Portland finally put it all together? Coach Joe Russo's notorious for fitting his pieces into place by year's end, but this season, it might have taken him 19 or 20 games to figure it out.

Many pundits felt South Portland would have a devil of a time trying to beat the Bulldogs a third time this year, especially with the third game coming on Portland's homecourt in the playoffs.

The Red Riots beat Portland 57-49 at home Jan. 27 and 56-51 in the regular season finale Feb. 6 at the Expo. The teams' most recent playoff meeting was in 2005 (a 58-51 Bulldogs' win in the quarterfinals).

South Portland had it clicking for a half and Hyland was close to on pace for the 30 points many felt he needed for his team to win.

A back-and-forth first period ended with Portland ahead 15-13, thanks in large part to eight points from its senior star, Ed Bogdanovich. Hyland had seven for the Red Riots. The Bulldogs maintained their lead into the second period until junior Spencer Bowring's 3-ball gave South Portland a 22-20 advantage midway through. Portland drew even on a bank shot from sophomore James Ek. Hyland and junior Koang Thok then traded jumpers to make it 24-24.

With 2:55 to go in the first half, Hyland made two foul shots. Sophomore Vukasin Vignjevic scored on a putback to make it 28-24. After the Bulldogs got two back on a late layup from junior Jake Alexander, junior Ryan Curit made a free throw for South Portland and junior Greg Reinhold made a layup as time expired for a 31-26 halftime advantage. Hyland had 14 in the first 16 minutes.

He'd hardly be a factor in the second half.

Thok got the second half scoring started with a putback. After Curit made two free throws, Portland junior Walter Stover hinted at greatness to come when he scored on a finger roll. A minute, 40 seconds later, Stover hit a runner to pull the Bulldogs within a point, 33-32. Hyland answered with a 3 (his lone field goal of the second half) and junior Connor Hasson made a foul shot for a 37-32 lead, but that proved to be the Red Riots' highwater mark.

Stover converted a three-point play, then the next time down, made a free throw. After Vignjevic made a layup, Stover hit a 3-ball, then made a layup to give Portland a 41-39 lead after three.

“I thought he had this in him,” Russo said, of Stover. “He played smart and got to the rim. The kids came out down five and didn't give up. We made some changes and the kids listened.”

“We came to play,” Stover added. “I was going for the rebounds. I came out with more intensity. In our minds, there was no way we were going to lose this game.”

Bogdanovich opened the fourth period with a hook shot, then made a three-point play. With 6:27 remaining, Thok sank two free throws to give the Bulldogs a 48-39 advantage. Junior Jon DiBiase momentarily stemmed the tide with a 3-pointer, but senior Joe Violette made two free throws, Stover hit one and Thok made a layup for a 53-42 lead with 5:25 left.

After Bowring made a pair of free throws for the Red Riots, Stover made a layup and Violette hit two free throws. Hyland got his final point of the season a foul shot with 4:14 left, but Ek made a free throw, Thok hit two, Ek hit four in a row and Thok drained two with 1:51 to play to make it 66-45. Portland rolled from there to the stunning 72-49 win.

“They hit shots and we didn't counter,” said South Portland coach Phil Conley. “That was the big difference in the game. We were really hurt at the foul line tonight. We really struggled for the first time this year. If we made more free throws it would have been a different story. They gave me everything they had, great effort. We just didn't hit our shots.”

Hyland was blanketed in the second half and finished with just 18 points.

“He's been tightly guarded all year,” Conley said. “He's been our leader. He's done a great job. He's had a great year.”

“We used different defenses in the second half,” Stover said. “More man-to-man in the second half. We threw him off a little bit. He's a great player.”

“We felt good, but the way they came out in the first half, their role players played well,” Russo said. “I thought we had to change defenses around. We put two guards on him and didn't foul him. I like watching Hyland play. It's been a long time since we had to focus on someone like that, since the Ralph Mims year (the 2004 Class A Final).”

Bowring added seven points, Curit, DiBiase and Hasson had five apiece. Vignjevic finished with four points, Reinhold had three and junior Brian McHugh added two as the Red Riots finished 14-5.

“We came a long way this season,” Conley said. “It hurts right now. They guys are hurting. The coaching staff is hurting. Next week, when we look back, we'll take a lot of positives out of our season. I like how we responded without Matt Lee (the team's standout junior guard, who missed the last third of the season with a knee injury). Guys stepped up. We have everyone returning next year. I know the guys will work extremely hard in the summer to get better.

“The South Portland community turned out for us. They're our sixth man. We filled one side of the Expo. I want to thank them for their support.”

Portland was led by Stover, who exploded for 20 points, 16 coming in the second half. Thok added 19, Bogdanovich had 13 and Ek 10. Alexander and Violette added four each and senior Campbell Rico finished with two.


WESTBROOK 58 WINDHAM 42

After two close regular season contests, an upset in this game wouldn't have been a surprise. For most of the first half, the Eagles were hanging tough, but Westbrook went on a run late and wound up cruising to the victory.

The Blue Blazes stretched a 33-26 halftime advantage to 47-29 after three and were never seriously threatened from there as junior Dominic Borelli was a man among boys with 22 points. Senior Christian Hamilton had 13 points. Junior Jose Nouchanthavong finished with 12.

Windham (which wound up 12-8) was paced by 20 from junior Garrett Clemmer. The Eagles have established themselves as a legitimate contender and should be able to find their way back to the Expo next season.


SEMIFINAL ROUND PREVIEW

Wednesday @ Cumberland County Civic Center
6 p.m. No. 2 Westbrook (17-2) vs. No. 6 Portland (14-6)
7:30 p.m. No. 1 Cheverus (19-0) vs. No. 4 Thornton Academy (16-3)

We have two potential thrillers on tap in the semifinals as the action moves to the Civic Center. These games might be decided by the team which adjusts best to the new shooting background.

In the opener, the Bulldogs will look to counter Borelli with Bogdanovich, meaning Westbrook's other junior standout, Nich Jobin (who only had three points against Windham) could have a big game. Hamilton could be a difference-maker. Nouchanthavong looks to build on his strong quarterfinal round play. Senior Tyler Kelly, junior Andrew Beckwith and sophomore Sean Murphy are other potential weapons.

Portland won't be able to spring a surprise with Stover this time. If he's on again, look out, the Bulldogs will have a great shot to advance. Bogdanovich has been hampered by foul trouble in recent games. His presence (and getting the ball in his big hands) is paramount to Portland's success. Thok is capable of another big game and role players like Alexander, Ek, Violette and senior Charlie Ho could do damage as well.

On Jan. 23, Westbrook cruised to a 62-48 win at the Expo. Borelli exploded for 27 points in that one. Jobin added 14. Bogdanovich led the Bulldogs with 13. The last playoff meeting was in 2002 (a 63-59 Portland win in the divisional round)

“The first Westbrook game was our worst game of the year,” Russo said. “I didn't expect that. I think it'll be different next time.”

The nightcap could be a classic. Cheverus won the regular season meeting 57-48 at Saco on Jan. 27. Faithfull had a huge game, scoring 21 points. DiStasio added 16 and Cummings had 11. Morse led Thornton Academy with 16 in a game which saw the Stags seize control in the second half. It remains the closest contest Cheverus has had this year.

Don't underestimate the Ian Barwise factor in this one. Barwise, who helped Cheverus win the championship last winter, proved against Deering how unstoppable he can be when he stays inside (as opposed to shooting 3's, which he likes to do). The Stags will have a hard time matching up against him and he figures to be motivated to send his former team packing. Morse thrives on the big stage as well and sophomore Andrew Shaw, who didn't score in the quarterfinals, could be due for a breakout game. Last year, Jeff Winnie led the Golden Trojans to an upset win at Cheverus in the regular season. The Stags earned a measure of revenge with a 40-31 triumph in the regional final.

“We have to play better defense and try to get into an up and down game with them,” Morse said. “Their halfcourt defense is the best in the league. It's hard to score against them. We'll try to get some easy buckets.”

Cheverus doesn't figure to lay an egg like it did Friday. The Stags likely won't have easy practices in the interim and don't expect the likes of DiStasio and Faithfull to have two off-par games in a row. Foley and Cummings will need to hold their own against Barwise. Cheverus will have to take advantage of its defense and hit open shots. The longer the Golden Trojans can hang around, they could force doubt to return to the minds of the Stags and jump up and pull off the upset.

“Mick shoots the ball unbelievable,” Davies said. “Indiana controls the tempo. It's a great team. We'll play hard-nosed defense and hopefully put the ball in more times than they can.”


PREDICTIONS:
Originally, I went with Cheverus beating Thornton Academy and Westbrook toppling Portland in this round, but I'll make one change.

While I think the Golden Trojans are capable of ending the Stags' season, I don't see Cheverus playing poorly again. The Stags have a statement to make after the way they played against Biddeford and will be extra motivated by the fear of losing to their former teammate. Let's not forget just how dominant Cheverus was in the regular season. Another strong defensive showing is a virtual certainty and the Stags have to be better on offense. In the end, it will be enough.

Westbrook did what it had to do to advance against Windham, but this Portland team isn't the same one it saw last month (or one like any we saw in the regular season). The Bulldogs many expected to dominate all winter finally showed up in the second half against South Portland. The rise of Stover to complement Bogdanovich and Thok will be very difficult for the Blue Blazes to counter. Borelli will get his points and Jobin figures to be much more productive, but Westbrook is in for a war against a team that has regained its swagger. It should be close throughout, but when the dust settles, I like Portland to pull off a second straight upset and advance.

Big Dance Underway, Plus WIZ Top 10 teams- Week #11

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: February 16th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

WIZ WORDS





'Sponsored by Rivalries'
"Where every day is a victory celebration"
Rivalries
 
By THE WIZ
Well folks The Big Dance is underway and basketball fans all over the state are buzzing already. Hoop Junkies are out in full force! Must be a Full Moon! Biggest complaints I am hearing is the way the officials are calling the games. Way too many whistles they say and I must admit I think they have a point. The games seem to be called much tighter than they were in the regular season and the games I have witnessed so far in Portland there have been more calls than the normal regular season games. Is it because we are using three officials rather than the normal two? Or are they being instructed to call it tighter? Or is it because we are seeing different officials from other areas doing games out of their normal regions? Or is it because they are doing games with officials they have never worked with before? I don’t know the real reasons. But I do know it has not been the same.

Up at the Bangor Auditorium the Class B Eastern boy’s quarter-finals got underway Friday night with Rockland defeating Medomak 66-54. Then on Saturday  Presque Isle beat MDI 47-41, Hermon then defeated Foxcroft 47-22 and Camden won big over Maranacook 72-41. The Class B Semi-Finals are scheduled for Wednesday night at the Auditorium as Rockland will take on Presque Isle at 7:05pm and Hermon will match-up against Camden at 8:35pm. The two winners will play for the EM Championship on Saturday around 3:45pm at the Auditorium.

On Monday at the Bangor Auditorium the Eastern Class D boy’s will start their quarter-final games and on Tuesday and Wednesday the Eastern Class C boy’s will play their quarter-final games.

In Augusta at the ACC the Western Class D boy’s started their Tournament on Saturday morning as Elan beat Greenville 47-42, Richmond beat Valley 44-39, Vinalhaven beat Averill 68-51 and # 1 seed Forest Hills won an overtime thriller over # 8 seed Buckfield 40-36. The Class D boy’s Semi-Finals will be on Wednesday morning at the ACC as Elan will play Richmond at 10:00am and Vinalhaven will play Forest Hills at 11:30am. The two winners will play for the Western Maine Championship on Saturday at 2:45pm.

Class A East got underway at the ACC with quarter-final action Saturday afternoon and evening as Mt. Blue beat Morse 58-45. # 7 seed Lawrence pulls off the big upset defeating # 2 seed Brewer 42-40, Bangor won big over Hampden 67-44 and # 1 seed Edward Little beat Mt. Ararat 61-32. Class A East Semi-Finals at the ACC will be on Wednesday night with Mt. Blue taking on Lawrence at 7:00pm and Bangor taking on Edward Little at 8:30pm. The two winners will meet for the Eastern Maine Championship Friday night at 7:00pm.

The Western Class C boy’s quarter-final games will start on Monday at the ACC.

At the Portland Expo the Western Class A  boys quarter-finals got underway Friday night and Saturday night as Thornton beat Deering 51-48, Cheverus beat Biddeford 35-25, Portland got revenge by beating South Portland 79-42 and Westbrook beat Windham 58-42. The Semi-Finals will be  move to the CCCC on Wednesday as Portland will take on Westbrook at 6:00pm and Thornton will take on Cheverus at 8:30pm.

The Western Class B boy’s played their quarter-final games on Saturday at the Expo as Lake Region beat Mountain Valley 61-52, Falmouth beat Lincoln 68-42, Cape got revenge by beating Yarmouth 66-58 and the # 1 seed Greely beat GNG 68-35. Semi-finals will move to the CCCC on Thursday night as Cape will face Greely at 7:30pm and Lake Region will square off against Falmouth at 9:00pm. The two winners will meet for the Western Maine Championship on Saturday at the CCCC at 3:45pm.

Undefeated Teams:

Undefeated teams stays at 3 teams this week as Cheverus and Camden both won their games and Fort Fairfield did not play.

Cheverus----------19-0
Camden-----------19-0
Ft. Fairfield-------18-0

As we head into this weeks WIZ Top 10 Teams there are a couple of changes. The top 6 teams stay the same as they all won their games. Portland with the big win over South Portland knocks SP out and Portland jumps back in at # 8. Bangor with a big win over Hampden moves from # 8 up to # 7.

WIZ Top 10 Teams- Week # 11:

1.Cheverus---------19-0 Stags Beat Biddeford! Quarter-Final! 35-25! It Wasn’t Pretty! It was Ugly! But a Win is a Win! Still Undefeated! And Still # 1! Up Next! Semi-Finals! Stags Get Thornton! Wednesday Night! 7:30pm! CCCC! Wow! Big Game Right Here!
Stags Take”Em! Stags Head to WMF on Saturday Night!

2.Camden---------19-0 Windjammers Crush Maranacook! 72-41! Still # 1 in Class B! And Still # 2 in The State! Up Next! Semi-Finals! Jammers get Hermon! Jammers Win Big again! Head to EM Final! Saturday! 2:30pm! At the Mecca! Can they Do It! I think So!

3.Westbrook-----17-2 Blue Blazes Red Hot! Knocks Out Windham! 58-42! How Far can They Go! Up Next! Semi-Finals! They get Portland! Wednesday Night! CCCC! 9:00pm! Whoa! Borelli! Jobin! Eddie Bog! Joe Violette! Big Man Battle! Should Be a Beauty! Who wins This! I Don’t Know! it’s a Toss-Up! Winner Advances! Loser Goes Home!

4.Edward Little--17-2! Steady Eddies! They Win Big! Take Down Mt. Ararat! 61-32! WOW! Can They be Stopped! Up Next! Semi’s! Oh No! They Get Bangor! ACC! Wednesday! 8:30pm! Rams are Hot! Who Do you Like! I’ll Take EL! Eddies head to EM Finals!

5.Thornton----16-3 Golden Trojans Get Revenge! How Sweet It Is! Beats Deering! 51-48! Great Game! Close! But Trojans Get it! Barwise Huge Game! Trojans Move On! Up Next! A Real Biggie! They Get the # 1 Cheverus Stags! Wednesday Night! CCCC! 7:30pm! Be There! Might be Interesting! Going to Need their best Game of The Season!
Good luck Trojans!

6.Greely------17-2 Rangers! Rangers! Rangers! # 1 In B West! They Crushed GNG! 68-35! We All Love Patrick! Up Next! Semi-Finals! Thay Get the Capers! Of Cape Elizabeth! Thursday Night! CCCC Baby! It’s Going to Be An All-Out-War! Who wins This One! I’ll take Cape in a Close one! By 3!

7.Bangor----13-5 Here Come The Rams! It’s Tourney Time! Big Game! Big Win! Rams Take Down Hampden! 67-44! Wow! How Good Are They! We Shall Find Out! Huge Game Up Next! Rams Take on # 1 Edward Little! ACC! Wednesday! 8:30pm! Eddies by 8!

8.Portland---14-6 And Here Comes The Bulldogs! Are They Just Hitting Their Stride! Maybe So! Gets Revenge on South Portland! 72-49! Russo Has to Be Happy! At least for Now! Huge Game Next! Semi’s! They Get the Blazes! Of Westbrook! A Battle Royal! A Big-Mans Game! Wednesday Night! CCCC! 6:00pm! This One’s a Toss-Up!

9.Cape Eliz.--15-4 Capers Back on Track! Gets Revenge! Beats Yarmouth! 66-58! Bowe is Tough! And So is Cape! Capers Head to Semi’s! Big Game! # 1 Greely Rangers! Thursday Night! CCCC! Wowzer! This is Crazy! Cape Gets it Done! Wins by 3! Heads to WM Final!

10. Dirigo----17-1 Cougars were Idle!  Big Tom is Rested! They Start Monday! ACC! 8:30pm! They Get Waynflete! They Get the Win! By Big Numbers! Head to Semi’s! On Thursday!

Teams Knocking at the Door:

Mt. Blue-----------15-5
Wiscasset---------17-1
Hyde---------------13-2
Falmouth----------16-3
Wash. Acad.------17-1
Orono-------------16-2
Presque Isle------18-2
Ft. Fairfield------18-0
Lake Region------15-4
Calais-------------13-4
Stearns-----------16-2
Cent. Aroostook-16-3
Forest Hills-------18-1

Til’ Next week: Good luck to all teams! There might be a WIZ sighting at the ACC on Monday! And there might be a WIZ sighting at the Mecca on Tuesday.

The WIZ

Cougars dismantle Shipbuilders, 58-45

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: February 15th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

It showed. Russell scored 24 points Saturday, Sawyer added 19, and the Cougars asserted their will at both ends of the floor in a convincing 58-45 Eastern Class A quarterfinal victory over Morse at Augusta Civic Center.

Rangers turn Patriots inside-out Top-seeded Greely rolls over Gray-New Gloucester, 68-35

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: February 15th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

PORTLAND - Gray-New Gloucester held the lead for about 20 seconds during the first quarter of Saturday's Western Class B boys' basketball quarterfinal. Then the Greely Rangers remembered why they spent the night before shaving their jersey numbers and other markings into each other's hair.

Lakers dry up against Bucs

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: February 15th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

AUGUSTA - Peter Rowe called time out and reminded his players that this was their time.

His Elan boys' basketball team had watched Greenville take an early lead in the third quarter and were dictating play. Rowe wanted his kids to realize that this was the moment they had worked for, and it was time to make it their own.

Tigers bounce Bucks Forest Hills claw way back to top Buckfield

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: February 15th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

The top-seeded Tigers saw that very scenario in their Western D quarterfinal and managed to escape with a stunning 40-36 overtime win against eighth-ranked Buckfield.

Red Eddies take down Eagles

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: February 15th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

AUGUSTA - Fuel injected by emotion, Edward Little started strong and finished stronger Saturday night.

Neither the specter of an often troublesome top tournament seed nor grieving two of their biggest fans distracted the Red Eddies, who held Mt. Ararat scoreless for the first three minutes of every quarter except the second and cruised to a 61-32 victory in the Eastern Class A boys' basketball quarterfinals at Augusta Civic Center.

Lakers surge past Falcons

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: February 15th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

PORTLAND - Tournament jitters had the Lake Region Lakers sailing through tumultuous waters in the first half of Saturday's Western Class B quarterfinal with Mountain Valley.

"Coach (Mike Francoeur) just said we've got to stop turning the ball over and relax. We just had to get good shots," Lake Region junior forward Matt Langadas said.

Blazesí big run decides it early

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: February 15th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

PORTLAND — Twice in the regular season, Westbrook High had to hold off Windham in close games. Saturday night in the Western Class A quarterfinals, the Blazes were determined to make it easier on themselves.

The second-ranked Blue Blazes held Windham scoreless for a stretch of 9:45 over the second and third quarters to turn a close game into a 58-42 victory at the Portland Expo.

Lawrence pulls an upset

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: February 15th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

AUGUSTA — Brooks Spaulding missed four foul shots in the third quarter when his team managed just two points. So yeah, he was nervous when he stepped to the foul line with 4.6 seconds left.

Max Haney was benched by Lawrence Coach Mike McGee in the first half, so he, too, wanted a little redemption when he stepped to the line two seconds later.

Portland turns close game into rout

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: February 15th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

PORTLAND — For much of the regular season, the Portland High boys’ basketball team played well in stretches. One minute, the Bulldogs would look great, the next minute, not so great.

Saturday night, the Bulldogs put together a complete game against South Portland, a team that had beaten Portland twice in the regular season.

Francoeur has warm memories of EL

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: February 15th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

Mike Francoeur is nearly a decade removed from where he got his varsity basketball coaching start at Edward Little. But Edward Little still isn't that far removed from the Lake Region coach's thoughts.

Cougars dismantle Shipbuilders, 58-45

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: February 14th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

It showed. Russell scored 24 points Saturday, Sawyer added 19, and the Cougars asserted their will at both ends of the floor in a convincing 58-45 Eastern Class A quarterfinal victory over Morse at Augusta Civic Center.

Rangers turn Patriots inside-out Top-seeded Greely rolls over Gray-New Gloucester, 68-35

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: February 14th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

PORTLAND - Gray-New Gloucester held the lead for about 20 seconds during the first quarter of Saturday's Western Class B boys' basketball quarterfinal. Then the Greely Rangers remembered why they spent the night before shaving their jersey numbers and other markings into each other's hair.

Lakers dry up against Bucs

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: February 14th, 2009 by Tom Nolette

AUGUSTA - Peter Rowe called time out and reminded his players that this was their time. His Elan boys' basketball team had watched Greenville take an early lead in the third quarter and were dictating play. Rowe wanted his kids to realize that this was the moment they had worked for, and it was time to make it their own.
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