There will be few secrets when the Monmouth and Winthrop boys basketball teams meet Wednesday night in Winthrop with a trip to the Western Maine Class C tournament on the line.
The Mountain Valley Conference rivals split their two meetings during the regular season, each winning on its home court. No. 7 Winthrop (11-7) is playing better ball right now than No. 10 Monmouth (6-12) which lost its last five regular-season games. But as Monmouth coach Lucas Turner points out, “everybody is 0-0 right now.”
In the second meeting in Winthrop, the host Ramblers pressed effectively and forced a quicker tempo than Turner and his Mustangs like.
“The key for us is to be able to handle the pressure better than we did in that second game,” Turner said. “We’re definitely going to be working on breaking their pressure (this week in practice).”
In a Western Maine Class D boys preliminary game Tuesday, No. 8 Richmond (7-11) hosts No. 9 Buckfield (9-9) Each team beat the other on its home court during the regular season. In Western Maine Class B, No. Maranacook (8-10) hosts defending Class B state champion Yarmouth (10-8). The Black Bears earned home court advantage with a win against Gardiner in the regular-season finale.
Girls prelim girls will be played Tuesday. On paper, Winslow’s preliminary round Eastern Maine Class B tournament game against Gardiner looks like a mismatch.
Winslow finished 6-12 and squeaked into the 13th and final spot while Gardiner (14-4) finished fourth and is on a roll, having won six straight games. But Winslow won the one regular-season meeting between the teams, 44-43 in Gardiner.
“Gardiner’s playing, I think, some of their best basketball,” Winslow coach Lindsey Welch said. “I think if we can control the game and play our basketball (we can win).”
The Tigers pressed Welch’s Black Raiders effectively early and took a 14-point lead, but got into foul trouble and took off their press which allowed Winslow back into the game. Sophomore Devin Fitzgibbons made a free throw to ice the win with five seconds left to play.
“Nothing went right for us in that game,” Gardiner coach Mike Gray said. “We’re playing so much better now. That game was kind of a wakeup call for us.”
In Eastern Maine Class A, No. 9 Cony (11-7) travels to No. 8 Brewer (9-9). The host Witches pulled out a 41-40 win over the Rams in the regular season. In Western Maine Class B, No. 9 Maranacook (11-7) travels to No. 8 Freeport (12-6) while No. 10 Oak Hill (11-7) plays at No. 7 Cape Elizabeth. None of those teams played one another during the regular season.
In Western Maine Class C games. No. 9 Hall-Dale plays at No. 8 St. Dominic (10-8) while No. 11 Kents Hill (5-9) plays at No. 6 Monmouth (13-5). Hall-Dale and St. Dom’s split a pair of games in the regular season, each winning on the other’s home court while Monmouth and Kents Hill didn’t play one another.
Gary Hawkins — 621-5638