The Down East Family YMCA girls’ basketball team placed second in the Sheriff’s Cup tournament played March 8-10 throughout Ellsworth. The team posted double-digit wins over Central Aroostook in the quarterfinals and Houlton in the semifinals. HANCOCK COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT PHOTO

DEFY success at Sheriff’s Cup highlights strong youth basketball season

ELLSWORTH — The Down East Family YMCA boys’ and girls’ basketball teams had solid showings in this weekend’s Sheriff’s Cup tournament held throughout the city.

After advancing to the tournament quarterfinals, the DEFY girls’ team reached the last four with a 51-29 victory over Central Aroostook. The team then advanced to the championship game with a 56-45 win over Houlton in the semis before taking second place overall with a 43-34 loss to Nokomis.

On the boys’ side, the DEFY A team earned a 59-37 win over Presque Isle in the quarterfinals. The team then lost 68-52 in the semifinals against Skowhegan, which went on to claim the tournament championship with a 49-46 victory over Brewer in Sunday’s final.

This year marked the 19th edition of the annual tournament, which drew 33 middle school-level club teams (20 boys’ teams and 13 girls’ teams) from all over eastern Maine to Ellsworth to raise money for local charities. Games were held Friday through Sunday at Ellsworth High School’s Katsiaficas Gymnasium, both Ellsworth Elementary-Middle School gyms and the DEFY gym.

Ellsworth’s success in the Sheriff’s Cup continued a strong year for local youth basketball teams. The highlight of the year thus far came last month when the Ellsworth Elementary-Middle School boys’ team finished off an undefeated season.

Playing Reeds Brook Middle School of Hampden for the Eastern Maine Middle School League title Feb. 12, Ellsworth Elementary-Middle School jumped out to a 17-9 lead in the first quarter before stretching its advantage to 31-14 at halftime. The Falcons cruised from there to seal the championship and finish with a 17-0 record.

“The boys had a great season,” head coach Mike Harris said. Harris coached with Scott Kenny and Moe Pierson.

Team members of the 2018-19 Falcons were Kaleb Conners, Drew Cote, Billy Garland, Lane Griffin, Michael Harris, Will Hutchins, Peter Keblinsky, Brady Kenny, Chance Mercier, Miles Palmer, Drew Pierson and Sam Wagenknecht.

Other local youth basketball teams to win tournament championships this season include the DEFY 5th/6th-grade girls (Eastern Maine Basketball League and Orono Memorial Hoop Classic; 31-1 overall record during travel season), 5th/6th-grade boys (Lincoln Invitational) and 3rd/4th-grade boys (Glenburn Recreation Department Invitational).

Mike Mandell

Mike Mandell

Mike Mandell is the sports editor at The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander. He began working for The American in August 2016. You can reach him via email at [email protected]

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