Post-season seeds still up for grabs with final hoop contests to be played

Tonight and tomorrow night (barring weather issues) are the final dates of regular season high school basketball, with the final Heal Points to determine seeding due to come out the day after the last games are played.

Many of the local squads have wrapped up tourney bids by drawing a bye through the prelim round, which will take place next Tuesday and Wednesday. Others have earned home prelim games and some will be on the road. A few teams are still fighting to get into the post-season and either need late victories or help from other squads.

Francesca Armstrong of the LCS/MSSM Eagles gets ready to attempt to block a shot taken by Ashland’s Olivia Tardie during Thursday’s game in Limestone.
(Contributed photo/jMavor Photography)

In other words, there are still some things to be determined in preparation for the beginning of the North tourney, which gets underway Friday, Feb. 12 for its third year at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.

What is known for certain at this point is that the Fort Fairfield girls have the No. 1 seed wrapped up in Class C. Coach Larry Gardner’s Tigers are 16-1 overall and have won their last 11 games heading into their finale — tonight’s home contest against Central Aroostook. They are a whopping 35 points ahead of its closest competitor, Penobscot Valley, and 36 in front of third-place Narraguagus, and are a certainty to be playing at 8:35 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16 against the winner of the No. 8 vs. No. 9 preliminary playoff contest.

In Class C boys, the Fort Fairfield boys appear guaranteed the No. 2 seed as they can’t catch No. 1 George Stevens Academy and No. 3 Bucksport cannot catch the Tigers. Fort’s final game at Southern Aroostook will not impact its ranking either way.

For Class D boys, Easton is currently in first and a home win over No. 4 Washburn Thursday will cement the No. 1 position for first-year coach Manny Martinez’s team. A loss to Washburn could complicate things as a Southern Aroostook win over FF could lift them from second place and allow them to overtake the Bears. The Beavers, a lock for a top-four position, still have an outside chance to grab the top seed if they can beat Easton and if they were also able to stop Central Aroostook Tuesday night.

The Panthers are No. 6 and can move up or down a slot depending on the outcome of their final game and those of the team above them in the standings, Bangor Christian, and below them, Shead of Eastport. If the Panthers place seventh, they will be forced to play a home prelim game next Wednesday.


Jenna Boucher of the Caribou Vikings gets off a jump shot while Warrior teammates Morgan Roy (34) and Jordan O’Leary try to defend during Monday’s game in Fort Kent.
(Contributed photo/Sha-Lam Photography)

The only possibility of shaking up the top four seeds for Class D girls would be a loss by No. 1 Southern Aroostook to Katahdin combined with CA upsetting Fort Fairfield. Those circumstances could push the Panthers to first place and the Warriors down to No. 2. Otherwise, barring an upset, it appears the youthful SA squad will be first, five-time defending champ Washburn in second and CA and Shead in third and fourth, with the order to be determined depending on Shead’s final two games.

Ashland was the 11th seed and out of the picture in the division heading into last night’s home game against Madawaska. The only way the Hornets would be able to reach the post-season would be with an upset over the Owls. If that happened, either No. 9 Easton or No. 10 East Grand could be pushed out. Whoever makes it between the Hornets and Bears, or if both get in, they will be on the road for a prelim matchup next Tuesday.

The top three seeds in Class B North will be Mount Desert Island, Houlton and Presque Isle, but contests last night, tonight and Thursday will determine the order. The Shires and Wildcats met up Tuesday in Presque Isle with huge points on the line, while MDI’s game against Ellsworth tonight also has big implications, as does Houlton’s game against Mattanawcook and PI’s against Caribou Thursday.

The Vikings pulled themselves into the playoff picture and the 12th and final position with Monday’s win over Fort Kent, but needed No. 13 Mattanawcook to lose to both Orono Tuesday night and to Houlton Thursday to remain there. If Caribou gets in, a trip to either Ellsworth, Winslow or Bangor (John Bapst) appears imminent next Tuesday.

It appears the Caribou boys will either remain No. 6 or fall a position, depending on what No. 7 Winslow does in its final two games. Either way, the Vikings will host a prelim game next Wednesday, with possible opponents being Central, MCI, John Bapst, Hermon and Mt. View.


Caribou sophomore Nick Allen, in action this winter against Fort Kent, made the Aroostook League all-star team in Class B/C basketball.
(Contributed photo/Sha-Lam Photography)

The Presque Isle boys in Class B, the LCS/MSSM girls and boys in Class C and the Ashland boys in Class D will not be in the playoffs this season.

On Saturday, the PI girls were tied with Mattanawcook at halftime before an 18-8 third-quarter run propelled them to their 14th win of the season, 58-50. Four Wildcats were in double figures in points, with Emily Wheaton tallying 13, Emily Lagerstrom 12, Taylor Williams 11 and Regan Nelson 10.

The Caribou boys used strong defense to get past County rivals Houlton, 51-39 last Tuesday, and Fort Kent, 55-48 Monday. Those victories sandwiched Saturday’s three-point loss at Central of East Corinth.

The Fort Fairfield girls doubled up on Washburn last Wednesday, 70-35, as Emma Campbell came off the bench to score a game-high 17 points. The previous evening, the Hodgdon boys surprised FF, 45-43, thanks to Daden Palmer’s three-pointer with five seconds to go. Ryan Player scored 15 points in the loss.

Also highlighting last week’s action was the Wildcat boys’ 58-40 win over Mattanawcook Academy that snapped a 12-game losing streak which dated back to December. Griffin Guerrette had 20 points and Kyle Rider 12 in the road victory at Lincoln.

Jackie Peers hit a free throw with six seconds left to give LCS/MSSM a 36-35 win over Ashland Thursday in Limestone. The Hornets gave No. 1 Southern Aroostook a battle Saturday, trailing by just six points after three quarters, but were beaten, 43-35. Laura Sturgeon had a career-high 20 points for Ashland.