The Lawrence High School boys basketball team is still feeling the effects of the football team’s long season. The Bulldogs won the Pine Tree Conference and played Cheverus in the Class A state championship game Nov. 19. Two days later, the basketball team had its first practice, and coach Mike McGee said some of his football players are still banged up.

“We’ve got guys, six, seven guys who are hurt,” McGee said.

Even so, the Bulldogs are 2-0 with wins over Brewer and Brunswick. Tuesday’s 59-53 win over Brunswick provided McGee with a glimpse of his team’s progress.

“It’s huge for us, because our football kids aren’t ready. It’s pretty obvious. When we get ready, we’re going to be an excellent team, but we’re just not there yet,” McGee said following the game. “I was very nervous about this game before Christmas because we haven’t really had a full practice with our kids.”

Lawrence plays at rival Messalonskee (0-2) tonight, then hosts Hampden Academy (2-0), the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference preseason favorite, on Tuesday.

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Madison opened the season with a big win last Friday at Telstar, but the Bulldogs haven’t played since. Madison hosts Boothbay (1-1) tonight, and coach Mike Packard said his team is eager to play.

“It’s kind of tough having a week off,” Packard said, “but on the flip side, we’ve had a week to prepare for a very good Boothbay team.”

Packard said he would like to see the Bulldogs play more disciplined on offense, but that hasn’t been a focus of this week’s practices.

“This early in the season, there are so many areas to improve,” Packard said.

A bright spot in Madison’s 71-66 win at Telstar was junior forward Austin Kane, who scored a game-high 31 points and sank eight 3-pointers. A newcomer to the Bulldogs, Kane transferred to Madison after spending last year at Skowhegan Area High School.

“He’s a good player. He’s obviously a good shooter,” Packard said. “We’re working on his defense and rebounding.”

Junior Steven Lawrence is another player Packard expects to step up.

“Steven is playing well. He’s very versatile,” Packard said.

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Last weekend’s games against Vinalhaven was a great chance for Forest Hills coach Anthony Amero to see his young Tigers play against one of the top teams in the East/West Conference. The teams split, Vinalhaven taking a 57-56 win Friday, before Forest Hills won Saturday, 55-44.

Four of Forest Hills’ eight players are freshmen, and three of them — Matt Turner, Brandon Ouellette and Ryan Petrin — are starting.

“The three freshmen, I wanted to see how they’d handle things,” Amero said. “Friday night, I felt we played well enough to win. We just let it get away. We came back the next day and played well.”

The Tigers’ offense still goes through junior Evan Worster, who scored 23 points on opening night and added 20 on Saturday, but the newcomers helped pick up the scoring. Ouellette scored 12 points on Friday on four 3-pointers, and on Saturday, he added 16 points, hitting four more threes.

Turner contributed nine points Friday and 15 on Saturday. It took the Tigers a while to adjust to Vinalhaven’s 3-2 zone, but once they did, the Tigers played well, Amero said.

“The first night, we had too many one-pass shots,” Amero said. “The second day, we were more patient. We settled in and got a lot of ball movement.”

Forest Hills plays a pair of nonconference games, Thursday night against Pine Tree Academy and tonight against North Haven, before a big East/West Conference game against Valley on Tuesday.

“I’m liking the parity in our conference,” Amero said.

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Free throws: One of the biggest early-season games in the KVAC A is tonight, with Mt. Blue (2-0) playing at Hampden Academy (2-0). Hampden was picked number one in the league’s preseason coaches poll, while Mt. Blue was two. The schedule doesn’t get easier next week for Mt. Blue. On Tuesday, the Cougars host Bangor. … Lawrence was just 8 of 17 (47 percent) from the foul line in Tuesday’s 59-53 win over Brunswick. … On Tuesday, Camden Hills beat Medomak Valley, 71-70, in a showdown between two of the top teams in Eastern Class B. The teams meet again Jan. 24. … On Tuesday, Madison and Mt. Abram play the first of three games against each other. The scheduling quirk is a result of Carrabec’s decision to not field a varsity team this year. The teams will play twice at Mt. Abram (Dec. 20 and Jan. 14) and once in Madison (Feb. 6).

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

 

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