The Cony girls basketball team finished the regular season unbeaten and enters today’s Eastern Maine Class A tournament at the Augusta Civic Center as the top seed. But coaches in the field of eight teams don’t see a clear-cut favorite and that includes Cony coach Karen Magnusson, whose Rams went 18-0.

“Once you get into the tournament it doesn’t matter,” Magnusson said of her team’s record. “Everybody is 0-0. We have momentum going in, but it’s a one and done thing so we just have to show up and play our game.”

Cony draws No. 9 Bangor, which beat Brewer in a prelim game for the right to face the top seed. Bangor fields one of the tallest lineups in the tournament, but Cony handled them in the regular season, 58-37.

“I think it’s wicked even,” Edward Little coach Craig Jipson said. “It’s a good group of tournament teams.”

Added Mt. Blue coach Tom Philbrick: “Our goal is to win Eastern Maine. If we thought Cony was the clear-cut favorite, there’s really no sense in showing up.”

Jipson’s Red Eddies, who are seeded second, lost three times to the Rams this season, including Monday’s Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A championship game. But all three games were close, including a regular-season, double-overtime decision in Augusta. In the first-round, Edward Little will face No. 7 Hampden, a team it didn’t play during the regular season.

“They’re really a slow-down, kind of walk-it-up team,” Jipson said. “It’s going to be kind of a match of wills. They like to slow it down and play in the 30s and 40s and we’d like to get it up in the 60s.”

The other two matchups feature teams who met during the regular season. No. 4 Mt. Ararat played No. 5 Messalonskee once in Oakland and came away with a 15-point win. Both coaches think tonight’s game will be much closer considering Messalonskee senior guard Mary Badeen played only in the second half of that game.

Messalonskee has another top scorer in center Megan Pelletier while Mt. Ararat has good overall size but not a lot of depth.

“Obviously we’d like to limit Badeen and her touches and also keep the ball from Megan Pelletier down low,” Mt. Ararat coach Kelly LaFountain said. “We would like to be able to control the tempo and penetrate and get to the foul line.”

Messalonskee has a few other weapons in Kassi Michaud and Mikayla Turner and as coach Keith Derosby points out it’s tough to shut both Badeen and Pelletier down on any given night.

No. 3 Mt. Blue and No. 6 Skowhegan met twice in the regular season, each winning on its own court.

“I think we’re pretty well matched up,” Philbrick said. “They’ve been struggling and I think they’ve lost their confidence a little bit but I know come tournament time when it’s one and done, they’ve got too much history not to be there.”

There are plenty of individual stars in the tournament. Cony’s Mia Diplock averaged 16.2 points a game and was named the KVAC’s south division player of the year. She’s was joined on the all-south first team by teammate Josie Lee, who led the conference in rebounding. Edward Little junior Ashlee Arnold led the KVAC in scoring at 16.3 ppg., and was named to the all-south first team along with Mt. Ararat’s Mallory Nelson.

Skowhegan senior Amanda Johnson was named north division player of the year and was joined on the all-north first team by Badeen and Pelletier of Messalonskee, Mt. Blue’s Gabby Foye and Hampden’s Jordan Maxwell.

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.