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Class 'A' Basketball Capsule

February 11, 2009

East

#1 Edward Little

Contender:
The Red Eddies turned it on down the stretch, and own a league best 11 game win streak heading into the tournament. E-L can turn to the league's best player, Corey Therriault in a crunch. The senior is the league's leading scorer (21.7 ppg) and finished in the top twenty in the league in rebounds (17th), assists (10th), three-pointers (t-1st) and steals (3rd). The Red Eddies hardly give up second chances and are a tremendous rebounding team. Shane Ciriello and Bo Leary would start for most teams in the league, but provide a spark off the bench.
Pretender:
A semifinal matchup with Bangor looms at the Augusta Civic Center. The Rams have ended E-L's season countless times over the past decade, and played E-L tough, losing by four at home and nine on the road.

#2 Brewer
Contender:
The Witches possess perhaps the league's most balanced offense. Dom Drake, Billy Bissell and Coby Hutchins all are in the top twenty in the league in scoring. Drake is a game changer defensively, he leads the state in steals and sometimes seems like he's everywhere on the floor. He also recorded the only triple-double of the year in Class 'A', a ten point, ten steal, eleven rebound game versus Mt.Blue.
Pretender:
Lost three of five down the stretch, including the KVAC championship game versus E-L. Of Brewer's four regular season loses, two came against Mt.Blue, a team Brewer could see in the regional semi-finals.

#3 Morse
Contender:
Any coach would be jealous of the Shipbuilders post-perimeter tandem of Alex Kee and Ryan Cheney. Kee is ninth in the state in scoring (17.3 ppg) and Cheney is fifth in the state in rebounding (10.3 rpg). Kee and backcourt mate Alonzo James can turn it up from downtown. The shipbuilders defense has been steady, allowing just 46.89 points-per game, 4th best in the KVAC.
Pretender:
Lost two of its last four,and just pulled one out against non-qualifier Brunswick. Could see Cony in the regional semi's, a team Morse lost to twice.

#4 Hampden
Contender:
Won five straight to end the season. Brad Dolan and Jacob Moore provide a solid 1-2 scoring punch. With seven games decided by four points or less, the Broncos have experience in tight contests.
Pretender:
Loses to non-playoff teams Skowhegan and Messalonskee give the Broncos a Jeckyl and Hyde look.

#5 Bangor
Contender:
After what Bangor lost in talent from last years team, you can't blame the Rams for a slow start, but they made up for it with a furious finish. After E-L, nobody finished stronger than Bangor, winning eight of its last nine, including back to back wins over Mt.Blue and Brewer to finish the year. The Rams control the tempo and a tenacious on defense, leading the league in scoring defense. A coaching staff that knows how to prepare this time of year.
Pretender:
Limited tournament playing experience. Leading scorer Dan Taft averages under ten a game, so the Rams must control tempo.

#6 Mt. Blue
Contender:
There's plenty of reason to like the Cougars as a low seed to emerge from the Region. Ben Russell and Jamie Sawyer have shown consistency game-in game out, and are both top ten scorers. Mt.Blue can defend (2nd in KVAC in scoring defense) and can score (2nd in KVAC in scoring), so if one end of the floor is having an off night, the other end can compensate.
Pretender;
Interior defense will get tested against teams in the Cougars side of the bracket ; Morse and Brewer. Didn't finish the regular season strong, losing two of its last four games.

#7 Cony
Contender:
The Rams have found a groove, and finished the season with six straight wins. Senior Brian Carville is a double-double every night, and teamed with Greg O'Neil, the Rams possess a top-tier one-two punch. Cony's tempo leads to good-quality shots, and the top seven can score.
Pretender:
Tough first round matchup with a Brewer team they did not see in the regular season.

#8 Mt.Ararat
Contender:
The Eagles are a good outside shooting team that can get hot and put up 70-80 points without a problem. Josh Walker is a strong leader from the point guard position and has shown mettle at the free-throw line, hitting clutch free-throws down the stretch in several games. Cam Vermette is a do-everything player who is in the arguement as the league's best player.
Pretender:
Vermette injured his ankle in game 17, and scored just three points in the Eagles preliminary win, his health is a major wildcard. The Eagles won just three road games, so adjusting to the Civic Center will be key.

West

#1 Cheverus

Contender:
In Mick Distacio and Indiana Faithful, the Stags might have two of the best five players in the state. Veteran players like Peter Foley and Dan Foster know their roles and do the little things. Faithful may be the best defender in the state, in back-to-back games he shut down Keegan Hyland and James Morse. Junior Lenny Cummings (7 ppg/5 rpg) has emerged as a valuable post-option for the Stags. Cheverus ran through the regular season unbeaten, and only had one game they didn't win by double-digits. Coach Bob Brown's been here before, actually Bob Brown's been there many times before.
Pretender:
A second round matchup with Thornton, the only team to stay close with the Stags.

#2 Westbrook
Contender:
Size. With Dominic Borrelli and Nick Jobin, the Blue Blazes have the most potent inside tandem in the state. The Blue Blazes rebound the ball on both ends of the floor. Borelli and Jobin both rank in the top ten in the state in rebounding. Since missing the early part of the season, Borrelli has caught fire down the stretch. Point guard Jose Nouchanthavong has emerged as a steady presence, and despite seeing teams slump off him all year long to help in the post, he's made good decisions. Christian Hamilton has shown the ability to knock down three's when left open. A good draw, as Westbrook has the potential to cruise to the regional final without playing a team it has lost to this year.
Pretender:
Guards must continue solid play as teams will try to make them beat them.

#3 South Portland
Contender:
Tournament history is ripe with examples of the state's top player leading his team to championships, South Portland would like to see this tale replayed this year. Keegan Hyland gives S.P. the state's most sought after recruit. He leads Class 'A' in scoring at 28.2 ppg, and went off for 47 against T-A. The Red Riots have above average depth, and some big bodies. Point guard Jon Dibiase has shown tremendous improvement.
Pretender:
The injury to Matt Lee prior the Cheverus game is a killer. Lee was scoring 13 points per game and was a top tier three-point shooter. The Red Riots lost three of their five games without Lee. Someone must emerge as a second scoring option for S-P to go deep.

#4 Thornton
Contender:
The Golden Trojans are loaded with talent. James Morse is one of the state's best all-around players, he ranks 8th in scoring (17.8 ppg), 2nd in assists (5.6 apg) and third in steals (3.7 spg). Ian Barwise brings championship experience. Coach Bob Davies has role players like John Trull and Doug Wilcox who bring the intangibles. Andrew Shaw may be the league's top sophomore.
Pretender:
Barwise and Morse have had bouts with foul trouble. A first round matchup with Deering, which gave T-A one of it's only three loses.

#5 Deering
Contender:
A guard oriented team, the Rams can kill you from outside. Khadar Abbas and Ronald Abwoch both rank in the top twenty in the state in three-pointers. Dan Legage can bring waves of defenders off the bench and create the up tempo-helter skelter game Deering prefers. Sophomore Jamie Ross has emerged down the stretch as a dependable interior player.
Pretender:
The Rams are the smallest team in the tournament, and their guards must rebound and play big. Deering depends on some youth which will be tested. The health of Ed Tiribassi, who has missed games due to sickness, could be a wildcard.

#6 Portland
Contender:
Whether or not Portland admits it, the preliminary game was probably a good thing for the Bulldogs, who are still trying to put it all together. There is talent, starting with Ed Bogdanavich, who will play at Bates next year. The senior is one of the state's best interior players. Kong Thok is a do-it-all player.
Pretener:
Inconsistency has dogged the Bulldogs. Sometimes Portland's too dependent on perimenter shooting and goes stretches without involving Bogdanavich.

#7 Windham
Contender:
A first round matchup with Westbrook isn't a picnic, but Windham played the Blue Blazes close in their regular season finale. Windham also kept up with Cheverus early in the season, so the Eagles have played at the level of their competition. Garrett Clemmer is one of the league's best, and perhaps most underrated player. The Eagles have had several players step-up, and they have balance.
Pretender:
The Eagles are not a big team, and will need to play much bigger against a huge Westbrook front line.

#8 Biddeford
Contender:
After starting 2-4, the Tigers went 9-3 down the stretch. Robin Wilson and Abdirahman Mohamed both rank in the top twenty-five in the state in scoring, and provide a good scoring duo. Mohamed is one of the best shooters in the league.
Pretender:
The Tigers have a tough draw with Cheverus to open. Players around Wilson and Mohamed need to have 'step-up' games.

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