This weekend’s boys basketball schedule features several intriguing matchups as teams around the state continue to develop their identities in pursuit of making tournament runs in the New Year.
Friday night’s slate is highlighted by a crossover matchup of Class B schools from the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference and Big East Conference in Rockland as Oceanside hosts Mount Desert Island of Bar Harbor.
Both teams are considered among the favorites in Class B North, with MDI the defending state champion and Oceanside back in B after spending the last two years in Class A where it won the North regional title in 2016 and returned to the championship game again last winter.
MDI and Oceanside are both 1-0, with MDI winning its opener at Old Town 78-41 behind 25 points from junior Derek Collin.
Oceanside scored a 54-40 victory over Waterville in its season debut behind the scoring contributions of Cooper Wirkala (19 points), Jack Lombardo (15) and Trevor Reed (14).
One question entering Friday’s game will be the availability of Oceanside senior forward Michael Norton Jr. The reigning first-team All-KVAC Class A choice missed most of preseason with a high ankle sprain and did not play against Waterville.
Other games Friday night include a Class AA battle in Bangor between the host Rams and Windham, and a Class A clash of 2-0 teams as Hampden Academy treks to Lawrence of Fairfield.
Bangor won its opener against Lewiston 82-47 last Friday as junior forward Matt Fleming, sophomore wing Henry Westrich and junior point guard Damien Vance combined for 72 points.
Windham is 1-1 after a 61-44 loss to two-time defending Class AA state champion Portland on Wednesday. The Eagles got 18 points from guard Nick Curtis, but reigning first-team BDN All-Maine point guard Terion Moss scored 27 to pace Portland.
Bangor will be challenged by Windham’s backcourt tandem of Curtis and Mike Gilman, but the Rams will look to continue building on momentum that began with a six-game winning streak to conclude last season and continued during the summer when Fleming – a second-team BDN All-Maine choice as a sophomore at Oxford Hills of South Paris last winter – joined the Rams after his family moved to the area.
Hampden, the preseason coaches’ pick to win Class A North, has done nothing to cast doubt on that prognostication in its first two games, defeating Messalonskee of Oakland and Camden Hills of Rockport by more than 30 points each.
Senior center Ian McIntyre continues to be the catalyst for the Broncos, scoring 26 points in the win over Camden Hills on Wednesday night, the same evening teammate Kory Winch recorded a triple-double with 16 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists.
Lawrence, which wasn’t picked among the top nine teams in the Class A North preseason coaches poll, has ground out two solid victories, a 58-50 decision over the fast-breaking Cony Rams of Augusta followed by a 52-47 win at Messalonskee on Wednesday.
Saturday’s schedule features more of the newly created crossover games between KVAC and Big East teams in Class B North with Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield at Caribou, Presque Isle at Belfast, Winslow at Orono and Waterville at John Bapst of Bangor.