Erskine concluded its season Thursday night against Cony in a budding rivalry that is expected to end next season when the Eagles drop to Class B.
“It’s not a done deal but I don’t see any way we can’t,” Erskine coach Ben Willoughby said of his team’s drop from Class A to Class B. “I think B is a much better fit for us. We’ve been playing schools that are twice as big as us.”
After reaching the Class A tournament for the first time last season, the Eagles graduated eight seniors and have struggled this season at 2-15 going into Thursday night. But they’ve had their moments, one coming last Friday when they knocked off tournament bound Oxford Hills, 54-41
“It was a great effort,” Willoughby said. “Oxford Hills had beaten us at their place. Playing on our home floor we were able to hit a few more shots.”
The Eagles got a 3-pointer and a three-point play from sophomore Ryan Rodrigue to help ice the victory. Rodrigue was called up from the junior varsity about a third of the way through the season.
“He’s very quick,” Willoughby said. “He handles the ball well and he’s probably one of our better rebounders.”
The Eagles have relied on seniors Devin Duncan and Caleb McGuire to do most of the scoring this season. Duncan, a 5-foot-6 guard, carried most of the load in the early part of the season, scoring a season-high 28 points against Edward Little. His production has dropped as he’s drawn more attention.
“The first half of the season teams were guarding him straight up,” Willoughby said. “In the last half, guys are leaving their men and double- or sometimes triple-teaming him. Devin’s done a good job of not forcing shots.”
McGuire, who is 6-6, has taken up some of the scoring slack for Duncan over the second half, averaging double figures with a couple of games over 20 points thrown in.
“He’s just really applied himself,” Willoughby said. “Even though he’s 6-6 he’s not scoring all his points under the basket. He’s a tough matchup. If you put a big guy on him, he’s able to go by. And he’s able to post up a smaller player.”
The Eagles are once again graduating eight players as they prepare for their move to Class B.
“We’re graduating all of our size, but we will be very quick,” Willoughby said.
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After opening the season at 2-5, Kents Hill has gone 5-2 over its last seven games to even its record at 7-7. Coach R.J. Jenkins said this is partially a product of the schedule becoming easier and due in part to having the team play together for awhile.
“We’re quick and athletic and rely on our press,” Jenkins said.
Senior guard Eli Roberts of New York City leads the team in scoring at 23 points a game. Most of his points come from mid-range jumpers or drives to the basket.
“He’s relentless,” Jenkins said. “He’s a real good finisher.”
Nelkas Kwemo, a 6-4 junior from Montreal, Quebec, has averaged 10 points and 15 rebounds a game over the last 10 games while senior Ethan Feldman of New York City has also picked up his game. Jake Ades of Sands Point, N.Y. is the point guard while post graduate Tim Swaby of Greenwich, Conn., is the player who makes the defense go. Swaby has already accepted a scholarship to play lacrosse for Division I Jacksonville University and brings some attributes of that sport to the basketball court.
“He’s a crazy athlete,” Jenkins said. “He’s so fast. He loves to play defense. He’s the key to our press.”
Freshman Luke Arsenault of Manchester has played well in spots, recently grabbing seven rebounds in a game against New Hampton. Jenkins said the 6-2 forward is one of the team’s better outside shooters.
The Huskies have six games left and could qualify for the New England Prep School Athletic Conference Class C playoffs, but it won’t be easy.
“We’re going to have to win at least four of those,” Jenkins said.
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Chris Braley, a former standout at Nokomis, announced via his Twitter feed Thursday that he’ll play his college basketball at Stony Brook University. Braley is a senior at Phillips Exeter Academy, a prep school in New Hampshire.
The 6-foot-4 Braley has helped the Big Red to an 18-1 record.
A member of the America East Conference, Stony Brook is 17-5, with an 8-1 record in America East play this season, good for first in the conference.
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With the regular season winding up this week, there are only two unbeaten teams left in the state — Hampden in Eastern Maine Class A and Jonesport-Beals in Eastern Maine Class D. Hampden is the defending Eastern Maine champ while Jonesport-Beals won the Class D state championship last year.
Two unbeatens went down this week. Class C Houlton lost to Class B Caribou 54-48 in a battle of Eastern Maine powers while Falmouth was ripped by York 65-39 for its first loss in 17 games in a Western Maine Class B matchup. Both Houlton and Falmouth had beaten those teams at home earlier this season.
Travis Lazarczyk contributed to this report
Gary Hawkins — 621-5638