AUGUSTA — Tyquan Ekejiuba is the best player in the state that no one knows about.

The senior point guard for Hyde School of Bath made an impressive tournament debut Saturday for the top-seeded Phoenix against Buckfield, finishing with 10 points and eight assists.

“I think he’s one of the best point guards in Maine,” Hyde coach Peter Rowe said. “He’s a pass-first point guard which is rare these days. He sees the open man, plays defense for four quarters and doesn’t take a play off.”

Listed generously at 5-foot-7, Ekejiuba says he can dunk on a good day. That’s about as boastful as the humble left-hander gets. A Randolph, Mass., native, Ekejiuba attended Holderness School in New Hampshire last year.

“I needed a second chance,” he said. “My grades weren’t good going into my senior year so I decided to take another year, look at another school. And Hyde just seemed like the right place for me.”

A cornerback and wide receiver for the football team, Ekejiuba said basketball is his first love and he’s looking at schools in the New England Small College Athletic Conference.

“I’m trying to get on the radar,” he said.

Saturday he showed his ability to see the floor with a couple of cross-court passes through traffic. Had his teammates finished a little better, he easily could have had 12 or 14 assists.

“I’ve been watching the NBA and the person I watched the most first-off was Steve Nash,” Ekejiuba said. “He’s an unselfish player, pick and roll. He’s always looking to pass but he can score as well. These days, definitely Rondo. I love the Celtics so I always watch Rondo.”

Fans can get another look at Hyde and Ekejiuba at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Augusta Civic Center when they face Vinalhaven in the semifinals.

* * *

The Valley boys basketball team struggled in the first quarter of their Western D regional quarterfinal win over North Haven, but the early morning start time (the game tipped off at 8:30 a.m.) was nothing new for the Cavaliers.

During the Christmas break, the Cavaliers practiced at 9 a.m.

Cavaliers coach Wade Morrill pointed out that the Cavaliers played much better in the second quarter, which started … sometime around 9 a.m.

“It probably started around 10 minutes of 9,” Morrill said. “I think the boys are pretty much used to that and 9 a.m. is usually when these boys get going.”

The Cavaliers will play in the regional semifinals, which start at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, which Morrill thinks will help.

Valley traveled to Augusta on Saturday morning. The trip from Bingham to Augusta took about an hour, players said.

“8:30 came pretty early, but it wasn’t too bad,” guard Caleb Wade said.

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The Rangeley girls can breathe a sigh of relief after 5-foot-10 center Jenney Abbott received medical clearance to compete in the Western D tournament next week.

Abbott, one of the top players for the No. 2 Lakers (16-2), suffered a knee injury late in the season.

Coach Heidi Deery originally feared Abbott would miss the tournament.

“She’s starting to do more and more each night,” Deery said. “She has been cleared to play. There’s still a question as to whether she can get through a tough game, but we’ll see. At this point, it looks pretty good.”

Rangeley will play No. 7 Greater Portland Christian (8-9) in a regional quarterfinal game at 11:30 a.m. Monday.


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