Easton boys hope to make most of abbreviated season

3 years ago

EASTON, Maine — The Easton boys basketball team has made 10 consecutive Northern Maine Class D postseason appearances. That includes eight tournament trips to Bangor highlighted by the 2016 regional championship and a berth in last year’s Class D regional final.

There’s no gold ball to pursue this winter due to COVID-19, but a veteran Easton club with seven seniors remains poised to make the most of the shortened 2021 season.

“When you get deep in the tournament year after year you see a lot more younger kids going to the games, watching them and seeing how much fun the older guys are having and how much the community gets behind them. It gives them that want to be part of it at a younger age,” second-year head coach Bradley Trask said.

“As you look 10 years back the kids that were watching then at 6, 7 and 8 years old are now the seniors who are a big part of the program.”

The Bears return three starters from the 2019-20 team that finished sixth in the final Northern D Heal Points with a 12-6 record, then defeated No. 3 Van Buren and No. 7 Deer Isle-Stonington before falling to No. 4 Machias 53-42 in the regional final.

Guard Austin Carver earned all-tournament honors while forward Camden Michaud gained honorable mention status last winter. They are joined by forward Kyle Flewelling as senior starters. Other classmates on the roster are forward Kody Carter, guards Owen Nicholson and Mitchell Flewelling and center Holden Stoutamyer.

The Bears have no juniors on the roster as Ben Currier is sitting out the season after undergoing shoulder surgery.

Sophomores Ben Wipperman, Evan Carter and Cade Ennis and freshman Owen Sweeney also are expected to contribute.

“My seniors have all been together since they were in elementary school so they’ve all played well together,” Trask said. “I also have younger kids who all fit well with the program and into what we have as a plan for our offensive and defensive schemes.

“The best part is they’re all good kids.”

Easton’s regular-season schedule has two games apiece against Van Buren, Washburn, Ashland, Wisdom of Saint Agatha and Katadhin of Stacyville and one game each against Fort Fairfield and Central Aroostook of Mars Hill.

Easton could be one of the most prepared teams in the region. While school-based summer basketball programs were canceled in 2020, many of the Bears took to the local outside court to work on their games.

The team also was able to participate in Maine Principals’ Association-sanctioned skills and drills workouts during December before the start of official practices on Jan. 4.

“They’ve all worked hard because they want to get better and be successful, whether that’s at the Bangor tournament, which last summer they didn’t know if we’d have or not but now we know we won’t, or in an Aroostook County tournament or just any games that we get.”

Easton hopes to at least replicate the success it had last fall when the Bears reached the Aroostook County Class D soccer final. Plans for similar postseason play in basketball come early March remain uncertain.

“We’re disappointed there’s no tournament in Bangor because I think we could have made another deep run,” Trask said. “I think we would have been one of the top teams in Class D again.

“But these kids are very competitive so if we play five games they’ll want to win five games and if that’s all we get they’ll be happy with that. If there’s an Aroostook County championship, our goal will be to win that.”