Here in Maine, as it has for generations, basketball remains the undisputed pinnacle when it comes to high school sports. And as it does every year, the Maine Principals Association tournament becomes a primary focus of attention for thousands of Mainers from Fort Kent to Kittery.
For fans here in our region, this year’s tournament will be one to remember for years to come. In the boys’ Class C ranks, coach Dwayne Carter guided the George Stevens Academy Eagles of Blue Hill to their first gold ball since 2003 as they rolled over the Waynflete Flyers of Portland 59-46 in Saturday’s championship game at the Augusta Civic Center. And with just one senior graduating from the team’s starting five, the Eagles could be right back as a championship contender in 2017.
The season was only slightly less successful for the Class B Ellsworth Eagle boys. One night earlier, in Bangor, the Eagles fell to a strong and disciplined Lake Region team 63-47 in a bid for their first state basketball title in 50 years. But the senior-laden Eagle squad, under coach Peter Austin’s guidance, brought Ellsworth its first regional boys’ championship since 1988 and delighted local fans with a superb 17-5 season capped by a 10-game winning streak that took them all the way to the state final.
And in Class C girls’ basketball, the Narraguagus Knights, who reside just across the Hancock County border in Washington County, finished off their best season in history with their own first-ever state championship. The Cinderella team of the year downed the Boothbay Region Seahawks 33-25 on Saturday night in Augusta.
The high school tournament is a wonderful cabin-fever reliever in the winter months. And our hats are off to all three teams from here in our own neighborhood — winners all — who provided plenty of excitement for families, friends and fans of all ages.