Last season, Austin Kane was a first team all-Mountain Valley Conference selection, and he helped lead the Madison Area Memorial High School boys basketball team to the Western Class C semifinals.
Recently, Kane was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and the Madison community has come out in huge support of its friend and former teammate.
In just a few weeks, the Madison community has rallied around Kane and his family, raising between $3-4,000, Madison athletic director Chris LeBlanc said.
“It’s coming back and helping one of our own,” LeBlanc said.
Kane was just a few weeks into service in the Air Force when he was diagnosed, and is being treated in Texas.
The Madison boys and girls basketball teams began wearing “Austin Strong” t-shirts during pregame warmups, and the shirts are available for fans to purchase, too. In support of Kane, both boys and girls basketball teams at rival Carrabec bought t-shirts and wore them in pregame warmups prior to last week’s games against Madison. The opposing teams posed for pictures that will be sent to Kane in Texas.
The winner of the 50/50 raffle at both Madison vs. Carrabec games donated the winnings back to Kane and his family, LeBlanc said, adding more than $800 to the fundraising total.
An alumni basketball game is planned for March 8, as well as a spaghetti dinner, LeBlanc said.
“We’re planning other fundraisers, too,” LeBlanc said.
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The times for the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championship games are set. The Class B championship game will be on Saturday at Cony High School in Augusta. The Class A game will be on Monday at the Augusta Civic Center. Both games are scheduled for 7 p.m.
The Class B game will be between Oceanside and Camden Hills. The rivals split a pair of regular season games, with each winning at home. Oceanside took the first meeting, 84-67. The Windjammers earned the split with an 88-83 win in January.
The Class A game will feature Hampden against Brunswick. Hampden won at Brunswick in December, 64-55. The game was just one of two wins by the undefeated Broncos that was decided by less than 10 points.
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A number of area teams have playoff spots secure, but some could change position as the regular season ends on Friday.
Messalonskee and Oxford Hills entered Thursday tied for fifth place in Eastern Class A. If both win their regular season finale (Messalonskee plays at Lawrence on Friday, Oxford Hills hosted Mt. Blue on Thursday), Messalonskee should go into the tournament fifth, and Oxford Hills sixth.
Depending on how it does against Messalonskee, Lawrence will either host Lewiston in a preliminary round game, or travel to take on the Blue Devils. With a loss to the Eagles on Friday, Lawrence needs a Lewiston loss at Edward Little to maintain the home game next week.
Waterville entered Thursday’s game against Belfast needing a win and a Gardiner loss to Medomak Valley to keep the 11th seed in Eastern Class B.
With North Haven’s loss to Forest Hills on Tuesday, Valley secured a top five spot in Western D and a bye to the semifinals.
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Around the state: Entering Thursday, only four teams remained unbeaten: Portland, Hampden, Houlton and Easton. Despite being unbeaten, Easton trailed first place Washburn (15-2) by 12 points in the Eastern D Heal Point standings… Five teams — Falmouth, Bonny Eagle, Greely, Dirigo and Hyde — had one loss… All eight teams that played for a state title last season will be in the playoffs, although Class B state champ Falmouth cannot defend its title. Due to rising enrollment, Falmouth is in Class A this season.