If you want to pick a theme for the Eastern Class A boys basketball semifinals, try “no surprises.” Both of Wednesday’s games are the third meeting of the season between the teams involved.

“With these final four teams, I don’t know if there’s a clear favorite,” Messalonskee coach Peter McLaughlin said.

No. 3 Messalonskee (14-5) takes No. 2 Hampden (17-2) at 7 p.m. at the Augusta Civic Center, with No. 4 Lewiston (12-7) vs. No. 1 Edward Little (18-1) to follow at approximately 8:30.

“This is a game we’ve been looking forward to,” McLaughlin said. “We’ve had a couple battles with (Hampden).”

In each case, the higher seed won both regular-season games, although each was close. Hampden beat Messalonskee, 64-62, in overtime before taking a 57-47 win in the rematch, which was a two-point game in the final minute before the Broncos pulled away with free throws.

Edward Little beat rival Lewiston, 65-57 and 58-53.

“I don’t think they’ll be any secrets,” Hampden coach Russ Bartlett said.

There’s certainly no secret to playing Messalonskee. Try and contain 6-foot-8 Nick Mayo and hope the Eagles’ other players, like Taylor Turner and Nate Violette, don’t find their shooting touch. In Messalonskee’s quarterfinal win over Oxford Hills, Mayo had 31 points and 14 rebounds, while Turner added 11 points.

In their last meeting, Hampden held Mayo to 14 points and eight rebounds, well below his Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference leading 24.2 points and 13.4 rebounds per game.

“You have to make (Mayo) take tough shots,” Bartlett said.

Jack Bernatchez is Messalonskee’s best defender, and guard Sawyer Michaud was second in the league in assists, with almost five per game.

“Sawyer is the guy who gets our offense going,” McLaughlin said.

Three-time defending regional champ Hampden is led by junior Nick Gilpin (16.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, 7.3 assists per game). Along with Gilpin, Branden McIntyre is an offensive threat for the Broncos, and made 27 3-pointers in the regular season.

Both Edward Little and Lewiston are senior-heavy teams, and this crop of Red Eddies and Blue Devils has played a lot of basketball against one another.

“Our kids have been playing against them since they were wearing diapers,” Lewiston coach Tim Farrar said.

Edward Little coach Mike Adams said all of Eastern Maine sat up and paid attention when it saw Lewiston’s 89-51 win over Cony in the quarterfinals.

“What they did to Cony kind of put the fear of God into everybody in the East,” Adams said. “It’s always competitive when we play Lewiston. It always brings out a lot of emotions on both sides.”

The top-seeded Eddies are led by Ian Mileikis (17.6 ppg) and Lew Jensen (9.9 rpg). Luke Sterling averages 3.3 assists per game.

Lewiston has size, with 6-10 Trevor Irish (8.5 rpg) and 6-3 Isaiah Harris (8.6 rpg) among the top rebounders in the conference.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM


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.

Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.