The halfway mark of the high school basketball season is at hand, which is typically the time when the contenders begin to distance themselves from the pack.
But when you look at the girls basketball ranks throughout northern Maine, it’s remarkable how many teams will have a chance to emerge from late February with regional supremacy.
Entering Wednesday’s play, a whopping nine girls basketball teams had unblemished records.
They included Oxford Hills of South Paris in Class AA (8-0), Messalonskee of Oakland (8-0) and Skowhegan (7-0) in Class A, two-time defending state champion Houlton (7-0) in Class B, George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill (9-0), Stearns of Millinocket (9-0) and Madawaska (8-0) in Class C, reigning Class D regional titlist Shead of Eastport (9-0) and Southern Aroostook of Dyer Brook (6-0).
Talk about a wealth of depth.
Of all those unbeatens, perhaps none have been more dominant than Stearns in Class C.
Coach Nick Cullen’s Minutemen have won their games by a whopping 40.6 points per contest, with the closest outing a 48-38 victory over Piscataquis of Guilford.
Stearns also got some sort of payback last Friday in a 59-31 home victory over Dexter, the team that knocked the Minutemen out of the tournament last winter.
Shead has enjoyed a similar dominating output in Class D, breezing out to its undefeated start behind an offense averaging just over 57 points per game.
Coach Dean Preston’s Tigerettes have been equally as stifling on the defensive side, yielding only 27.8 points per contest.
Southern Aroostook, which is right behind Shead in the Class D Heal Point standings, has been just as stout defensively, surrendering just 27.5 points per game.
The two teams don’t play during the regular season, but if their starts are any indication, they could be heading for a late February clash in Bangor with championship hardware on the line.
Hampden, Narraguagus on winning streaks
Don’t look now, but the reigning Class C state champions from Narraguagus have slowly crept up the standings thanks to a seven-game winning streak.
The Knights of Harrington lost two of their first three games, but coach Heather Thompson’s club has rebounded nicely, and has clamped down defensively in the process.
Narraguagus has allowed only 29.1 points per game during its run, which included a 61-37 road victory over a Woodland club that dealt the Knights a 51-50 loss in Harrington in early December.
The Knights were set to put their streak on the line Monday night against Lee Academy.
Hampden Academy has enjoyed a similar run in Class A North, having pieced together a six-game win streak of its own heading in Tuesday’s home contest against Cony of Augusta.
That has vaulted coach Tim Scott’s club into fourth place in Class A North, behind unbeatens Messalonskee and Skowhegan and once-beaten Nokomis of Newport.
The Broncos still have games remaining against all three of those teams, including a showdown at Nokomis on Saturday afternoon.