The Lawrence High School girls basketball team is ready to defend its Class A championship.

The Bulldogs held their first day of tryouts Monday with two very familiar faces leading the way, Boston University commit Nia Irving and Domi Lewis.

“Since those two have been involved in the program, they’ve been the anchors of our championships,” Lawrence head coach John Donato said. “Both are (Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference) all stars so hopefully we can find players to play around them.”

There seems to be a good pool of candidates. Donato said 25 or so players came to tryouts Monday, numbers which he credited in part to the team’s success last season.

“That is a draw anyways. Everyone wants to be a part of a winner,” Donato said. “We had some pretty excited kids.”

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For the fourth straight season, the Winslow High School boys basketball team is a victim of the football team’s success.

“I was joking with Trenton Bouchard and he has not been to one basketball tryout in his four years of high school,” Black Raiders head coach Jared Browne said. “I don’t think that’s a record that’s going to be broken.”

Browne said he has seven players he is waiting on from the football team, but the process is nothing new to them.

“They know me and my expectations,” Browne said. “I’ll give them some time if they need it, but they know our goals as a basketball program and I’m positive they’ll be ready to go on Monday.”

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Not every winter sports team held its first practice Monday, as the Winslow girls ice hockey team has been playing for a few weeks now.

“That’s the way the (Maine Principals’ Association) has set it up so we go along with what the MPA says,” Winslow coach Chris Downing said. “We start two weeks sooner and end two weeks sooner.

“…Practices are moving along. We had 24 kids on Day 1 and we still have 24 kids on Day 11.”

Given where the Black Raiders were just a few seasons ago, the turnout and retention rate is particularly encouraging. It was just last October that the program was in danger of being cut.

“We’re very happy with the turnout, very happy with the program,” Downing said. “You go from 11 and now we’ve doubled that and they’re learning the game. That’s what we’re teaching them. We’re teaching them how to play hockey.”

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

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Twitter: @Evan_Crawley