Recent showdowns help sort Class C North picture — for now

Class C North may be the deepest division in Maine boys high school basketball this winter, though several games played in recent days have more clearly defined the top of the standings – at least for now.

It’s probably no surprise that George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill, the two-time defending state champion, has emerged atop the rankings as the Eagles concluded the first half of their schedule by handing Lee Academy and Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln just their second losses of the season.

Last Saturday’s 52-41 win over No. 4 Lee enabled coach Dwayne Carter’s club to avenge a season-opening loss in part by limiting the Pandas to just two points in the first quarter – exactly as the Pandas had done to the Eagles in their Dec. 9 encounter at Lee.

Lee did rebound from that slow start to build a 33-27 lead through three quarters, but sophomore Caden Mattson picked up the slack left by older brother Max’s absence from the lineup due to a back injury with 14 fourth-quarter points as GSA outscored the Pandas 24-9 over the game’s final eight minutes.

The older Mattson returned to action Tuesday night as George Stevens ended No. 6 MA’s five-game winning streak, scoring the game’s first 13 points en route to a 73-46 victory. Senior guard Taylor Schildroth led the Eagles with 23 points while the 6-foot-7 Mattson contributed 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the field along with five rebounds and three blocks.

GSA ( 8-1) will take its eight-game win streak into Friday’s home game against 6-2 Bucksport, a team it outlasted in overtime on Dec. 19.

MA, on the rebound after a one-win season last winter in Class B, got a big all-around game against George Stevens from senior guard Alex Brown and at 6-2 remains poised for a return to postseason play in Class C.

No. 2 Central Aroostook, up from Class D this season, extended its own winning streak to eight games with a wild 69-63 victory over No. 3 Fort Fairfield at the Panther Palace in Mars Hill on Monday night.

Coach Jason Woodworth’s club (8-1) controlled most of the contest after Ben Thomas scored 17 first-quarter points to stake the Panthers to an early lead.

Central Aroostook ultimately built its lead to 21 points early in the fourth quarter before 7-2 Fort Fairfield furiously rallied to within four points and possession of the ball in the final minute before the Panthers hung on for the pointworthy victory.

Another quality team in the division is No. 5 Houlton, which has won two straight since a three-point loss at Mattanawcook on Dec. 28. The Shiretowners have a big home game coming up Jan. 18 against Presque Isle, at 6-2 the No. 3 team in Class B North.

And consider this for depth within the division: No. 7 Sumner of East Sullivan and No. 13 Dexter are separated by just 2.909 Heal points.

It all should make for an interesting second half of the season.

Ernie Clark

About Ernie Clark

I'm a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association, my coverage areas range from high school sports to mixed martial arts.