There’s been a lot of congratulations sent the way of the Messalonskee High School girls basketball team since it won the Class A North regional title last week. Coach Keith Derosby said the team appreciates the sentiments, but reminded fans the season isn’t over yet.

“We’re business as usual. Obviously, everyone wants to congratulate us on where we’re at. Thankfully, the girls’ mindset is, ‘why are you congratulating us? We still have one more game to go,'” Derosby said after a recent practice. “We’re not focusing on what we’ve done to this point. We’ll do that after we’re done. Right now, it’s forward thinking.”

The undefeated Eagles (21-0) will take on Brunswick (18-3) in the Class A championship game Saturday afternoon at the Augusta Civic Center. Tip is set for 1:05. This is Messalonskee’s first state game appearance since falling to Deering in the 2009 final, and the Eagles are going for their first state championship since winning Class B in 1987. With an upset of top-seeded Greely in the South regional final, Brunswick is playing in the state championship game for the first time.

“We’ve got four strong leaders. We’re a tight-knit group,” Brunswick coach Sam Farrell said of his team. “This is a lunch pail team. They show up and they get to work.”

While both teams play in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference, Messalonskee plays in the North Division and Brunswick plays in the South, making this the first meeting of the season between the teams. That doesn’t mean the Eagles and Dragons are unfamiliar opponents.

“I played AAU with a couple of their girls, Sabrina (Armstrong) and Maddy (Suhr), and they’re both really good shooters,” Messalonskee senior guard Sophie Holmes said. “Maddy looks to block people, we know that. Sabrina, she’ll pull up in front of anybody at any point, anywhere on the court.”

In describing Armstrong, Holmes may as well have been describing herself. A Miss Maine Basketball semifinalist, Holmes is one of the most prolific scorers in the state. She averaged 22 points per game during the North tournament to win the Bob Whytock Award as the tournament’s most outstanding player.

“Sophie Holmes is a special talent. She can score any which way she wants. I think every kid Messalonskee puts on the floor is athletic,” Farrell said.

It’s the Holmes factor that made it tough for Farrell to compare the Eagles to any team Brunswick has faced this season.

“Nobody else has a Sophie,” Farrell said.

The Dragons know Holmes isn’t the only offensive weapon on Messalonskee’s roster. Senior McKenna Brodeur, junior Ally Turner and freshman Gabrielle Wener also are scoring threats.

“We need to contest every shot. We don’t want to turn it over, because they’re so good in transition. It will probably come down to the glass, which team rebounds,” Farrell said.

Suhr was recently named KVAC A South Player of the Year after averaging more than 14 points and nine rebounds per game. Armstrong and forward Brooke Barter joined Suhr on the all-conference first team.

“They’re long, they’re athletic and they can shoot the lights out. They know how to play. They just had a huge game against Greely, so they’ve got to be confident,” Derosby said of Brunswick.

Added Holmes: “Ultimately, we’re going to try to play our game and take control of the game and play our speed.”

Derosby added that the Eagles have a comfort level in the Augusta Civic Center, having played numerous games there over the last couple of seasons.

“We’ve played a lot of games there. Obviously, in games like (state championships), that goes right out the window in the first two minutes if things don’t go well,” Derosby said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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