Maine High School Basketball Preview
Cheverus – Last year’s defending champions look perfectly poised for a repeat as they return arguably the state’s top backcourt in Mick Distasio and Indiana Faithful. Distasio is a lethal catch and shoot player with deep range while Faithful looks poised to break out and establish himself as the state’s top lead guard. But the supporting cast isn’t too shabby either as it features a handful of experienced seniors, a talented junior in Lenny Cummings, and up and coming freshman in Cam Olsen. When you consider that Maine coaching legend Bob Brown is still roaming the sidelines, you get a pretty good picture of Cheverus’ many advantages.
Portland – You gotta love Portland’s inside out scoring punch with the exciting Koang Thok making plays on the perimeter and skilled big man Eddie Bogdanovich anchoring the team’s frontline. Portland has two talented young guards who could share the ball-handling responsibilities in James Ek and Will DiFanti, in addition to a good amount of vetern experience for head coach Joe Russo to rely on. Portland’s biggest obstacle…having to go through Cheverus just to get to the Class A title game as both teams compete in the Western conference.
South Portland - “Keegan Hyland for three”…get used to it because if you’re in the South Portland gym at any point this year you’ll probably hear it quite often. One of New England’s most lethal snipers will provide South Portland with a player capable of lighting up the other team at virtually any time. And even if the 2008-2009 campaign isn’t the year South Portland claims the Golden Ball they could be the early favorite for the 2009-2010 season as they don’t have a single senior on their roster.
Mt. Blue – They are the class of the east this year after only losing one player to graduation a year ago. While they may not have a bonified star like a Distasio or Hyland, they do have plenty of experience and depth with guys like Ben Russell, Jamie Sawyer, and Devon Zamboni leading the way.
Others – Hampton Academy will be led by the junior trio of Jacob Moore, Noah Burditt, and Nolan Turner as they hope to knock off Mt. Blue and represent the east in the state title game…Corey Therriault and Dominic Bailey headline another team from the east hoping to make a run in Edward Little…Thornton Academy has James Morse and that alone should make them competitive. If sophomore Andrew Shaw is ready for the bright lights then they will definitely be in the hunt come February…Bangor lost virtually their entire team last year but we’re still talking about Bangor High School and the state of Maine, which means one way or another they’ll be contenders before it’s all over…Dominc Borrelli is one of the top juniors in the state and he will be the foundation of Westbrook’s attack. If the supporting cast produces, they’ll be a team to be reckoned with…Deering could be a dark horse program is seniors Ronald Abwoch and Khadar Abbas step up and have big seasons.
Camden Hills – They’re looking for retribution after falling in the Eastern Maine state final last year, and they have all the talent to get it as they feature talented senior Gordan Fischer along with arguably the state’s two top sophomores in Tyler McFarland and Graham Safford. There is also tremendous depth on this squad both in terms of experienced seniors and also talented youngsters….all in all, the smart money is on Camden Hills in Class B.
Maranacook – The defending champs lose a ton but you can never underestimate the experience factor. Last year’s role players will have to thrive in increased roles this year if they’re to make another run. Devon Garrity, Pat Norwood, Ben Johnson, and Sam Poulin are all upperclassmen who should be able to contribute.
Cape Elizabeth – Last year’s Western Maine champions are hoping they can get back to the state title game with the likes of Ben Fox, Alex Bowe, Johnny Messia, and Connor Lawler leading the team as seniors.
Others – Mattanawcook is another team that will have to regroup after losing a lot of talent from last season, namely Derek Libbey, but they have enough talent to do it…Greely and Falmouth are two teams that could potentially make a run and challenge Cape Elizabeth in the west
Dirigo – When you have a Big East player in Class C you are expected to win the state title. Thomas Knight and Dirigo will be dealing with those expectations all year long, but if the talented southpaw gets enough touches, he’s likely to deliver the Golden Ball because no one will be able to stop him down low.
Calais – The Blue Devils entered last season’s post-season undefeated and as the two time defending state champions. But after being unseated by Winthrop they’re ready to reclaim their crown this year. Cal Shorey and Jordan Leeman are two seniors who will do damange. Cal’s younger brother, Cam Shorey, is one of the top sophomores in the state but will likely miss the season with a torn ACL.
Others – Washington Academy, Lee Academy, Dexter and Schenck will all contend in the east. Meanwhile Winthrop (despite the loss of Sam Leclerc), Traip, and Wiscasset will be the players in the west.
Central Aroostook could be poised to repeat as the state champions but they’ll have plenty of competition in the east from Woodland, Fort Fairfield, and others. Valley and Buckfield are among the favorites in the west.