With just three games left in the regular season, there are still a number of scenarios among teams fighting for playoff berths in Eastern Maine Class A.

The top nine teams qualify, with the No. 8 and No. 9 seeds playing a prelim game for a chance to go to the Augusta Civic Center. Erskine is sitting in 11th place, just a point behind Oxford Hills and three behind No. 9 Brewer.

The Eagles play at Oxford Hills tonight, host Brunswick on Tuesday and finish the season Thursday at Cony. A win in any of those games could possibly put them in the tournament but two would virtually assure it. Tonight’s game in South Paris is a big one. Erskine beat Oxford Hills 56-50 in South China and Erskine coach Ben Willoughby expects a physical battle.

“If we want to make it to the postseason, we’ve got some must-wins coming up,” Willoughby said.

Erskine has played a number of teams tough but only has six wins so far against nine losses. They were beaten 48-37 by a solid Edward Little team earlier this week.

“We played hard in that game but we missed an opportunity,” Willoughby said. “We cut the lead to two in the fourth quarter but we couldn’t seem to keep the momentum.”

The Eagles were beaten 60-39 at Brunswick earlier this season in what Willoughby calls one of their worst games of the season. They played without center Tyler Belanger but he doesn’t think his presence would have made much of a difference.

“The game was over in the first half,” he said. “Their quickness really bothered us.”

Brewer plays No. 1 Hampden and No. 5 Bangor and a win against either of those teams would likely push Erskine out of the tournament. It could come down to the final game of the season at Cony, a team the Eagles beat earlier this season in South China.

“That would be interesting,” Willoughby said. “We match up well with Cony.”

Cony, for the time being, appears locked into the No. 8 position. Should the Eagles secure the No. 9 spot, they would have to play the Rams again in a prelim game.

* * *

A banged up and tired Cony team lost 67-40 to Lewiston on Tuesday, the night after beating Oxford Hills in a physical battle in South Paris.

“My guys looked really tired from the Oxford Hills game the day before,” Cony coach Tim Bonsant said. “We had a knock-down, drag-out game against them and got home at 11:30. We looked like a team that played two games in two nights.”

Several of the Rams are playing hurt. Senior Josiah Hayward has a deep thigh bruise while sophomores Ben Lucas and Alex Neill are battling a groin pull and high ankle sprain, respectively. And senior Walker Cooper wore a bandage on his hand Tuesday after peeling skin off it diving for a loose ball.

The Rams host Mt. Ararat tonight, play at Hampden on Tuesday and finish the season at home Thursday against Erskine. They’re only 5-10 but have a solid hold on the No. 8 spot in Eastern Maine Class A thanks to a big win at Lawrence.

“Hopefully we can get healed up and make a run next week,” Bonsant said. “Our goal all year has been to make the playoffs.”

* * *

Maranacook plays a key game in Waterville tonight. Both teams are fairly young with 6-foot-7 juniors in the middle — J.P. Michaud for Waterville and Kyle Boucher for the Black Bears.

“I really think it’s going to come down to which big guy can play best,” Maranacook coach Rob Schmidt said.

Waterville (8-7) is holding down the 13th and final tournament berth in Eastern Maine Class B, 14 points ahead of No. 14 Mt. View. The spot seems fairly secure but Mt. View has two big point-worthy games left, against Winslow, then at home against Waterville the final game of the season.

Maranacook (7-9) is in 11th place in Western Maine Class B and should make the tournament win or lose.

“For us the Waterville game is going to be a real confidence boost, knowing we can play with good teams,” Schmidt said.

* * *

Hall-Dale is coming off three straight losses to Dirigo, Boothbay and Mountain Valley, three teams with a combined record of 35-10.

“They’re three tough teams,” Hall-Dale coach Jim Patrick said. “It didn’t help that we had some kids with the flu, plus the coaches.”

Senior forward Brad Shepherd missed the Boothbay game with the flu and the team shot poorly, with the guards going 1 for 12 from the floor. The Bulldogs (10-6) host Telstar on Monday and finish the season at Monmouth on Wednesday. Hall-Dale is currently fourth in Western Class C and assured a tournament berth.

“They have really played good up until the last few games,” Patrick said. “They’re still on track. We’ve just got to make sure we can turn the page and get through this bad week we had.”

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

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