The towns are separated by a bridge and as Madison coach Al Veneziano said “everybody knows everybody and everybody will be there.”
“There” is the Augusta Civic Center where Mountain Valley Conference rivals Carrabec and Madison meet for the Western Maine Class C girls basketball championship Saturday afternoon.
The teams split during the regular season, each winning by fewer than 10 points on its home court.
“Our home game against Madison, that’s the most people I’ve ever seen in our gym,” Carrabec coach Skip Rugh said. “It’s the perfect storm.”
Both teams are playing well. Third-seeded Carrabec upset No. 2 Maranacook on Thursday in a game Rugh said was one of the Cobras better shooting nights of the year. Madison knocked off Dirigo the same night.
“I was very pleased with our play,” Veneziano said. “We scored 62 points.”
The Cobras, led by 6-foot junior Emma Pluntke, have a little more size than the Bulldogs do, and that’s a point of concern for Veneziano.
“We have to make sure we are rebounding and (they’re) getting one shot at the basket,” he said.
Since the loss of junior Bronte Elias to a knee injury, the Bulldogs have spread their scoring around and Veneziano hopes that continues.
“You can’t put your focus on just one player,” Rugh said. “It all comes down to executing. We both know each other so well.”
Carrabec hasn’t been to a regional final since 1997 while Madison last won one in 2010. Those factors are irrelevant today and both coaches agree it will come down to a couple of controllable factors.
“It usually comes down to emotions and focus,” Rugh said.