Erskine Academy’s drop to Class B this season has yet to be reflected in wins and losses, but girls basketball coach Scott Corey has already noticed a difference.

“I think it may be a little early but the three games we’ve competed in already have been better than any three we played (last year) in Class A,” he said.

The Eagles are 1-2 with a win against Mt. View, a 23-point loss to Maranacook and a four-point loss to Morse. Last season they went 1-17 in Eastern Maine Class A.

The Class B games are closer and the crowds generally larger than the ones the Eagles saw in Class A. And the start times are usually at 6:30 instead of 7.

“There’s a lot to like about it so far,” Corey said.

The greatest difference Corey has seen is bench depth.

“When I go to my bench, your seven, eight and nine kids aren’t the same as the kids in a school with 900 kids,” he said.

The Eagles return six starters to go with six newcomers and the blend of the two groups has been a smooth one thanks to the leadership of seniors Hannah Bridges and Mia Taylor. Bridges put a lot of time into her game in the offseason, Corey said.

“This is her team,” Corey said. “The kids call her Mom. The kids all just want to follow her lead. This is the last kid I would have said this about her freshman year. She’s very unassuming.”

Corey said Taylor has followed suit.

“She and Hannah are a great tandem in terms of their leadership and the way they have united this team so quickly,” he said.

• • •

Oak Hill is slowly blending its new players with returning talent. The Raiders were 3-2 heading into Wednesday night’s game against Carrabec. The Raiders have wins against Mt. Abram, Telstar and Wiscasset and losses to Monmouth and Spruce Mountain.

“We’re not as far ahead as I thought we’d be,” Oak Hill coach Tom Morong said. “A lot of it is correctable.”

The Raiders have had success with full-court pressure but in many instances have been unable to turn those opportunities into baskets. Morong is using 10 or 11 players a game and believes finding the right combination will be a key to solving the Raiders inconsistencies. For now, he’s getting sound play from senior center Kelsey Collins and sophomore point guard Jamie Proulx.

“We’re starting to put periods together now,” Morong said.

The Raiders play at Hall-Dale on Saturday and in a tournament at Central Maine Community College over the Christmas break.

• • •

First-year Winthrop coach Joe Burnham is undertaking a major reconstruction project with a Ramblers team that has won just one game in the past two seasons.

“Our expectations are still the same, to move the program forward in a positive direction,” Burnham said. “Right now, the steps we’re taking feel like baby steps.”

Three players from last year’s team decided not to play this year, a result Burnham believes from losing so many lopsided games.

“They’re thrown into the lion’s den that is the MVC,” he said. “It burns some of them out.”

Burnham spends the majority of his practices working on fundamentals and said he’s seen improvement. The team was 0-4 entering Wednesday night’s game with two of those losses by lopsided scores.

“Even though some of those scores were lopsided, in no way did I think they ran it up on us,” Burnham said.

Burnham has been pleasantly surprised by a couple of players new to the team. Freshman Shie Smith has led the Ramblers in rebounding every game and first-year senior Abby Helm has infused some energy into the team.

“It’s her fourth year of basketball ever,” Burnham said. “She’s starting for us just because of the energy and toughness she brings.”

• • •

Hall-Dale was 2-2 entering Wednesday night’s game at Mountain Valley and coach Brandon Terrill is discovering what he already knew about the Mountain Valley Conference.

“There’s a big clump of us in (the middle) in the MVC this year,” he said. “I think any of us could beat anyone on a given night.”

Spruce Mountain, a Class B team playing in the predominantly Class C MVC, is the clearcut favorite followed by Madison, which beat Hall-Dale earlier this week.

“I think we’re coming along,” Terrill said. “We had a tough one up in Carrabec last Wednesday. We challenged the girls to bounce back and we had a good solid win against Wiscasset and played well against Madison.”

Terrill said the team’s offense is a work in progress but is coming along.

“We made a change offensively after the Carrabec game,” he said. “We’re using more dribble-drive. I think we’re on track.”

The Bulldogs continue their tough week by hosting Oak Hill on Friday night. Then they’ll play in the Capital City Hoop Classic against Class A opponents Cony and Hampden.

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638[email protected]Twitter: @GaryHawkinsKJ

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