Things are pretty good right now in the Magnusson household.

Cony High School girls basketball coach Karen Magnusson enters Friday night’s game against Mt. Ararat in Topsham with her Rams at 15-0. A few miles to the north and west, her husband, Travis Magnusson, is the coach of the Dirigo boys team which is also 15-0.

“It’s kind of fun,” Karen said. “It’s pretty neat.”

The spouses seldom see each other’s team play since most teams play Tuesday and Friday nights. They’ve each seen two or three of the other’s games live and many more on film since they break them down at home. The styles of each team are similar.

“It stems from the fact that we’re both point guards,” Karen said. “We both like an uptempo style and we think defense is the most important part of the game.”

Both played basketball at the University of Maine at Farmington, where they began dating and both scored more than 1,000 points and dished out more than 500 assists in their careers. They immediately had great respect for one another’s coaching ability and share drills and opinions throughout the season.

“It’s nice to throw ideas off each other,” Karen said.

The work of an unbeaten season for both teams is far from over. The Rams face one of the toughest tests of the season against Mt. Ararat, a team they beat 53-45 in Augusta on Dec. 30. The Eagles have one of the tallest teams in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A division, a problem for the Rams, whose tallest player is 5-foot-10.

“They have the size,” Magnusson said. “We’ve been rebounding well. That has to be a focus every night.”

The Rams have the KVAC’s top rebounder in 5-8 Josie Lee while senior Melanie Guzman is also in the top 10.

Dirigo also faces some crucial games against Mountain Valley and once-beaten Spruce Mountain.

• • •

The Maranacook girls must wonder what might have been had senior point guard Katie Poulin played this season. Poulin tore the ACL in her right knee during an exhibition game the day after Thanksgiving while landing after taking a shot.

“I came down on it wrong,” Poulin said. “I went back into the game, passed the ball and immediately collapsed. It gave out again. I knew I was probably done for the season right there.”

The Black Bears are 5-11 in Western B heading into Friday night’s home game against Waterville. They almost certainly would have contended for a playoff spot had Poulin played. She has attended all the team’s games and practices.

“It’s obviously been difficult to go and watch when I can’t play,” Poulin said. “I always imagine what the game would be like if I were in there. They’re doing the best they can and I try to encourage them.”

Two days before Thanksgiving, Poulin’s older brother Mike tore the ACL in his left knee and was lost for the season. Mike is the point guard and captain for the University of Southern Maine. Fortunately, he has two years of eligibility left. The siblings are going through rehabilitation although Katie is healing faster than Mike is.

“I can jog a little now,” she said.

An excellent soccer player, Katie has yet to decide what she’ll do next year. If she attends a small college, she may decide to play one or both sports. “I like them about the same,” she said.

In the meantime, she hopes to heal quickly enough to work out with the Maranacook basketball team this summer.

“There’s a lot of young kids that have been stepping up this season,” she said.

• • •

Recent losses to Leavitt and Nokomis have encouraged rather than discouraged Gardiner.

The Tigers (13-2) faces Morse tonight then have a showdown at home against Leavitt in the final game of the regular season.

“Before we started (the Leavitt) game I was telling them they’re good, but we can play with them,” Gardiner coach Mike Gray said. “I don’t think all of them believed it. After the game they were excited that we get them again.”

Gardiner is currently third in Eastern B and would like to maintain that position to avoid a prelim game.

“If we win that game (against Leavitt) we lock up the three seed,” Gray said. “But even if we don’t, it’s a good tune-up for the playoffs.”

The Tigers are a veteran team this season with good leadership from their captains, Jenna Moore and Hillary Owen.

“Jenna was a captain last year,” Gray said. “She knows exactly what we want to do at all times. She sets the tone in games. I think Hillary does a lot more in practice. She understands the game as well as anybody I have. It’s good to have two kids who lead in different ways.”


• • •

Monmouth needs a win in either of its last two games to reach the Western Maine Class C tournament.

The Mustangs are 7-9 and hold down the 12th and final playoff spot with Sacopee Valley on their heels. They play Tuesday at Lisbon and finish the season at home against Hall-Dale. They beat Lisbon by two the first game of the season while they have yet to play Hall-Dale.

“Win one, we’ll be in,” Monmouth coach Scott Wing said. “Lose both and we won’t. The big thing for us is we’ve just got to be able to score the ball. Our defense is always pretty solid.”

• • •

Richmond will make up its game at Rangeley on Monday. Richmond (12-1) is first in the Western D standings while Rangeley (13-1) is second. Richmond earned a two-point win when the team met in December in Richmond.

“They always seem to improve during the season pretty dramatically,” Richmond coach Molly Bishop said of the Lakers.

Junior Payton Johnson returned to the lineup recently after missing most of the season with a concussion. She scored 11 points in Tuesday’s win against Valley.

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

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