Tournament starts this week for several County high school basketball teams

3 weeks ago

By Joseph Cyr, Special to The County

HOULTON, Maine – The regular season of high school basketball has come to an end, but the work is not yet finished for many Aroostook County teams.

An impressive 20 of 31 squads in the County (65 percent) qualified for the Maine Principals Association postseason this year, with 10 teams earning byes directly to the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. For the remaining 10 teams, however, a preliminary playoff victory is what is needed for the chance to play in Bangor.

Preliminary playoff games are slated to be played Tuesday, Feb. 13 for girls and Wednesday, Feb. 14 for boys. The quarterfinals begin Friday, Feb. 16, in Bangor, with semifinals starting on Feb. 21. Regional championships are slated for Feb. 22 (Class B) and Feb.23 (Classes C and D).

The state championships are March 1 in Bangor for Class B and March 2 in Augusta for Classes C and D.

Local squads qualifying for the postseason this year are the Caribou boys and girls; Presque Isle boys and girls; Houlton-Greater Houlton Christian girls; Fort Kent boys and girls; Hodgdon boys and girls; Fort Fairfield boys; Southern Aroostook boys and girls; Wisdom boys and girls; Easton boys and girls; Katahdin boys and girls; Washburn boys; and Ashland boys.

The following is a breakdown of teams by Class and gender.

Class B North boys

Caribou finished with a 14-4 overall record, earning the Vikings a No. 4 seed in Class B North, while Presque Isle finished 12th with a 5-13 record. The cross-town rivals find themselves paired up for the third time this season, albeit this time in a preliminary playoff contest at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 14, at Caribou. The Vikings have beaten Presque Isle twice – 58-25 at Presque Isle and 57-48 at Caribou. 

Members of the 2023-2024 Caribou High School boys varsity basketball team are, front from left, Manager Parker Adams, Andrew Cummings, Kaymen Sargent, Dakota Trombley, Dawson St. Pierre, Sam Hebert, and Brayden Brescia; and back, Kyle Corrigan, Alex Bouchard, Tristan Robbins, Owen Corrigan, Dylan Bouchard, Colby Ouellette, Max Morrow, Landen Belanger, Manager Caleb Kuklak, and Ben Rosser. (Staff Photo Paul Bagnall)

The winner advances to the quarterfinals to take on No. 4 Orono (15-3) at 9 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 17. The Red Riots beat Presque twice during the regular season, but lost to Caribou in their one meeting on the year.

Houlton-GHCA finished with a 4-14 record and were 13th. The Shires did not make the playoffs this year. Ellsworth is the top-ranked team in the region with a 15-3 overall record.

Class C North boys

Fort Kent finished second in Class C North with a 12-6 overall record. The Warriors earn a bye directly to the quarterfinals, at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 19, when the team will face the winner of the prelim between No. 7 Mt. View (12-6) and No. 10 Piscataquis (11-7). Fort Kent did not face either of these teams during the regular season.

Members of the Fort Kent varsity boys basketball team for 2023-24 are front from left, Aden Jeffers, Mason Pelletier, Wil Morneault, James Lamarre, Dominic Cyr and Ricky Huang; and back, Assistant Coach John Naranja, Tobias Naranja, Gavin Severe, Ethan Daigle, Drew Deschaine, Eddie Lewis, Caleb Lavertu, Assistant Coach Dominique Rossignol and Head Coach Chad Cyr. (Staff Photo Chris Bouchard)

Fort Fairfield finished third in the region with a 12-6 record. The Tigers also received a first-round bye and will play the preliminary winner of No. 6 George Stevens Academy (14-4) versus No. 11 Dexter (7-11) in the quarterfinals on Monday, Feb. 19, at 4 p.m. Fort Fairfield did not face either of those teams during the regular season.

Hodgdon finished fifth with a 15-3 record and will host No. 12 Narraguagus (9-9) in a prelim game on Wednesday, Feb. 14, at 5 p.m. Hodgdon did not face Narraguagus during the regular season. If the Hawks are successful, they will face No. 4 Machias (14-4) in the quarterfinals, Tuesday, Feb. 20, at 4 p.m.

Madawaska finished with an impressive 11-7 record, but were 13th in the region. The Owls did not qualify for the playoffs this year.

Calais is the No. 1 seed in the region with a 15-3 record.

Class D North Boys

Two-time defending Class D champs Southern Aroostook finished with a 12-6 record, earning the team the No. 3 seed in the region. The Warriors have a first-round bye and will play in the quarterfinals Saturday, Feb. 17, at 4 p.m. against the prelim winner of No. 6 Jonesport-Beals (11-7) and No. 11 Ashland. (6-12). 

Members of the 2023-24 Southern Aroostook boys basketball team are front, from left, Ethan Collier, Dylan Burpee, Brennan Burpee, Lincoln Hardy and Trafton Russell; and Manager Brooke Ivey, Manager Brooke Shields, Coach Brett Russell, Daniel Kuindersma, Richard Chambers, Kason Lawlor, Connor Lane, Dillan Bishop, JV Coach Camden Porter and Manager. Rylee Webb. (Contributed photo: Joseph Cyr)

Ashland travels to Jonesport-Beals Wednesday, Feb. 14, at 3 p.m. Southern Aroostook beat Ashland twice (63-25 and 91-20), but did not face GSA during the season.

Katahdin finished fourth with a 16-2 record. The Cougars also have a first-round bye and will take on No. 5 Easton (14-4) in the quarterfinals, Monday, Feb. 19, at 9 a.m. The two squads did not face each other during the regular season.

Washburn, No. 8, finished with an 8-10 record and will host No. 9 Wisdom (6-12) on Wednesday, Feb. 14, at 6 p.m. The teams split during the regular season, with the Beavers picking up a 57-55 victory at St. Agatha, while the Pioneers were victorious 69-41 at Washburn.

Central Aroostook (2-16) finished 12th, while Van Buren (2-16) was 15th and East Grand (0-18) was 16th. Schenck is the top-ranked team in the region with a perfect 18-0 record.

Class B North Girls

Caribou placed fourth in the region with a 12-6 record. The Vikings earned a first-round bye and will play No. 5 Belfast (12-6) in the quarterfinals, Saturday, Feb.17, at noon. The two teams did not meet during the regular season.

Members of the Caribou girls varsity basketball team are, front from left, Gracie Rossignol, Brynne Hamilton, Madelynn Deprey, Ainsley Caron, Liv Adams, and Lily McCrossin; and back are, Meagan Martin, Madelyn Morrow, Kayden Guerrett, Phoebe Solomon, Joslyn Griffeth, Brianna Levesque, and Amelia Godin. (Contributed Photo)

Presque Isle finished eighth in the region with a 9-9 record. The Wildcats will host a preliminary round game against No. 9 Washington Academy (7-11), Tuesday, Feb. 13, at 4:30 p.m. The two squads met twice on the season, with Presque Isle winning 28-20 on the road, but falling 49-37 at home. The winner advances to the quarterfinals, Saturday, Feb. 17, at 4:30 p.m. against No. 1 Ellsworth (18-0).

Houlton-GHCA finished 11th with a 7-11 record and travels to No. 6 Mount Desert Island (12-6), Tuesday, Feb. 13, at 6 p.m. MDI beat the Shires twice – 62-36 and 52-25.

Class C North Girls

Fort Kent finished second in the region with a 14-4 record. The Warriors have a first-round bye and play in the quarterfinals, Monday, Feb. 19, at 8:30 p.m. against the prelim winner of No. 7 Woodland (11-7) versus No. 10 Bucksport (11-7). The Warriors did not play either squad during the season.

Members of the Fort Kent varsity girls basketball team for the 2023-24 season are, front from left, Emma Caron, Julia Cyr, Madeline Philbrook, Mia Voisine and Hannah Lovley; middle, Niah Durost, Nicole Daigle, Emma Kelly, Isabelle Sterris and Angel Pelletier; and back, Amarii Weaver, Cassidy McBreairty, Ellie Roy, Lily Wertgen, Lily Oliver, Katherine Michaud and Emilee Blodgett. Emlyn Nadeau was not present for the photo. (Staff Photo Chris Bouchard)

Hodgdon finished sixth in the region with a 14-4 record. The Hawks will host a prelim game against No. 11 George Stevens Academy (6-12) on Tuesday, Feb. 13, at 6 p.m. Hodgdon did not face GSA during the regular season.

Fort Fairfield (9-9) finished 16th, while Madawaska (1-17) was 18th, neither squad made the playoffs this season. Dexter is the top-ranked squad in the region with a 17-1 record.

Class D North Girls

Two-time defending champ Southern Aroostook is once again the No. 1 seed in the region with a 17-1 record. The Warriors’ only loss on the season was to Class C Hodgdon. SA has a first-round bye to the quarterfinals, Monday, Feb. 19, at 1:30 p.m. where the team will face the prelim winner of No. 8 Deer Isle-Stonington (5-13) versus No. 9 Easton (7-11). The Warriors did not face either squad during the season.

Members of the 2023-24 Southern Aroostook girls basketball team are, front from left, Jazmyn Ellingwood, Madison Shields, Hannah McGary, Emmalee Landry and Cami Shields; and back, Coach Cliff Urquhart, Manager Savannah Anderson, Hope Curry, Olivia Ellingwood, Libby Anderson, Ally Shields, Alexa Hersey, Emma Stubbs, Statistician Mackenzie Lilley and Manager Rylee Kuliga. (Contributed Photo/Joseph Cyr)

Easton travels to Deer Isle-Stonington on Tuesday, Feb. 13, at 4 p.m. in the preliminary round. The two teams did not meet during the regular season.

Central Aroostook finished 12-6 and are ranked second in the region after competing in Class C last year. The Panthers have a first-round bye to the quarterfinals, Saturday, Feb.17, at 8:30 p.m., where the team will face the prelim winner of No. 7 Katahdin (11-7) versus No. 10 Stearns. CAHS beat Katahdin twice (42-37 on the road and 49-44 at home), but did not play Stearns during the regular season. 

Katahdin hosts Stearns Tuesday, Feb. 13, at 6 p.m. in the prelim round.

Wisdom finished with a 13-5 record and is ranked third in the region. The Pioneers have a first-round bye and will take on No. 6 Bangor Christian (9-9) in the quarterfinals, Saturday, Feb. 17, at 7 p.m. The two teams did not meet during the regular season.

Washburn (8-10) finished 12th, while East Grand (3-15) was 14th and Van Buren (2-16) was 15th. The three squads did not qualify for the tournament this year.