The Forest Hills boys basketball team is 15-0, in first place in the Western Class D Heal Point standings, and prepping for what it hopes is another deep playoff run. Coach Anthony Amero knows his time with a group of four seniors who have contributed since their freshman season is coming to an end.

Matt Turner, Brandon Ouellette, Ryan Petrin and Tanner Daigle each played key roles for the Tigers when they reached the 2012 Class D championship and when the Tigers won the state title in 2013.

“I’ll be sad to see them graduate,” Amero said. “They’re very focused. All four average double digits in scoring. They’re fun to coach because they’re so unselfish.”

So far, the quartet has a combined 3,196 career points. Turner is four points from 1,000 and should reach the milestone on Friday when Forest Hills hosts Buckfield. Ouellette has 804 points, Daigle has 711, and Petrin has 685. With the four in the lineup, the Tigers are 70-9.

The Tigers average 67.1 points per game this season, while allowing 37.3 points per game, and they’re jumping on opponents early. The average halftime score of a Forest Hills game is 40-16 with the Tigers on top. The Tigers are also staying out of foul trouble, allowing just under 10 free throw attempts per game.

“What I love is we’re back to the old Forest Hills style of we’d rather give you a layup than foul,” Amero said. “They’re dialed in defensively this year. They get after it.”

Forest Hills has two home games remaining this season, on Friday against Buckfield and Tuesday against Greenville. With wins, the Tigers extend a home winning streak that goes back to the 2011-12 season. Forest Hills’ last home loss came Jan. 3, 2012, against rival Valley, Amero said.

• • •

This has been a season of streaks for Messalonskee. The Eagles won their first three games before enduring a four-game losing streak. Messalonskee pushed its winning streak to seven with a win over Mt. Blue on Monday. The Eagles are now 10-4 and in third place in Eastern Class A.

Everyone knows the Eagles are led by Nick Mayo, the 6-foot-8 senior who will play at Eastern Kentucky University next season. Players who have stepped up and played well for Messalonskee during its current winning streak include junior forward Taylor Turner, sophomore guard Nate Violette, and junior forward Jack Bernatchez, coach Peter McLaughlin said.

“Taylor’s had a couple double-doubles, and he’s been getting key rebounds,” McLaughlin said. “Nate is a good outside shooter. Jack’s playing great defense. It’s been a team effort.”

Next up for Messalonskee is a game Friday at Skowhegan, before a big home game Tuesday against top-ranked Hampden.

“We’re focused on Skowhegan right now,” McLaughlin said. “Coach (Tom) Nadeau has got them playing well.”

Messalonskee closes the regular season with games against Brewer and Lawrence.

“We want to hit our stride come tourney time,” McLaughlin said.

• • •

New Mt. Abram coach Heath Cowan expected this season to be one of instruction and to help get the Roadrunners to learn his system. Mt. Abram is 3-10, but with a few wins in their final five games, could make the Western Class C tournament.

“The last couple of weeks, I’ve thought we’ve started to take strides toward team basketball,” Cowan said. “We’ve got some winnable games coming up. If we get a couple of those, we have a chance to get into a prelim game.”

Cowan said he’s liked the leadership he’s seen from seniors Quinton Hanna, Tristan Dyer and Logan Boyce.

“Those three seniors are trying to play the game the right way,” Cowan said. “The guys are fighting. That’s a testament to them.”

The Roadrunners play Friday at Telstar (4-9).

• • •

Around the state: Eastern Class C may be the most competitive region in the state. Each team has at least two losses, and the top six teams in Heal Point are separated by just 16 points. Houlton (11-3) is in first place in the region… Defending Class B state champion Old Town is undefeated (13-0) but in fourth in Eastern Class B. Expect the Coyotes to gain some Heal Points in the final weeks of the regular season and move up… Next Thursday’s game between Ft. Fairfield and Washburn could be for the for top spot in Eastern Class D… If Portland is going to run the table and finish the regular season undefeated, it will have to play well on the road. Four of the Bulldogs’ final five games are away from home.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM


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