After an up-and-down start to the season, the Winslow High School boys basketball team is riding an up. The Black Raiders enter Friday’s game at Mount View on a five-game win streak. With an 8-3 record, Winslow has climbed into fourth place in the Class B North Heal point standings.

“Really, it’s just a matter of getting healthy,” Winslow coach Ken Lindlof said.

With illness and injury decimating the roster, Winslow went to Rockland to play Oceanside on Jan. 2 with six varsity players in uniform. The Black Raiders lost that night, 59-47. With players returning to the lineup since, most notably starting guard Colby Pomeroy, Winslow hasn’t lost since, winning each game during the streak by at least eight points, including a 57-49 victory over Oceanside in the rematch on Monday.

“There was a lack of continuity,” Lindlof said. “Once we started getting healthy, we gained a lot of energy as a team.”

A healthy team gives Lindlof the depth he expected from the Black Raiders as he began his first season as coach. A number of players have made contributions to Winslow’s success, he said.

“Guys’ roles are more identified,” Lindlof said.

The second half of the season will find the Black Raiders more often than not on the road. Just two of Winslow’s remaining seven games are at home. Those road trips include tips to rivals Lawrence and Waterville, as well as tough Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B games at Maranacook and Maine Central Institute.

• • •

It’s been 20 years since the Carrabec boys reached the tournament. It’s too early to pencil the Cobras into the field this season, but for the first time in a long time, they’re in the discussion as the regular season heads to the closing stretch.

“It’s good to be at least talking about that,” coach Heath Cowan said of his team’s playoff chances.

At 4-7, Carrabec sits in 11th place in the Class C South standings, and that would gives the Cobras the final playoff spot in the region.

Entering Thursday night’s game at Dirigo, Carrabec had three wins in its last four games. That includes a 61-55 decision at Boothbay. Cowan said in speaking to former Carrabec coach and program historian Erik Carey, that win may be the first in team history at Boothbay.

“That game isn’t one you’re thinking you’re going to get, ever,” Cowan said.

The Cobras also have wins over Mt. Abram and Monmouth in this stretch, as well as a three-point loss to Lisbon. The team needs to improve on late game time and score situations, Cowan said, adding that the team’s lack of prep in those situations is on him. As the Cobras have focused on fundamentals, they simply haven’t practiced those situations often, he said.

“We’re playing better defense,” Cowan. “Guys aren’t afraid to shoot. If guys are open, they’re letting (shots) go.”

Carrabec still has tough games left to play, including games against Richmond and Hall-Dale. The Cobras also have games that are potential wins, and those could help Carrabec hold onto its playoff spot.

“We haven’t been this excited this late in the season in a long time. We’re having fun,” Cowan said.

• • •

Rangeley senior Kyle LaRochelle has been on a scoring tear. In the last five games, LaRochelle averaged 29 points, helping the Lakers go 4-1 and improve to 8-4 on the season.

LaRochelle scored his 1,000th career point in the one loss over the stretch, 53-45 to Class C Buckfield. LaRochelle scored 32 points in the Lakers 59-51 win over Seacoast Christian on Monday.

Rangeley is in fifth place in the Class D South standings, with a big game against top-ranked Valley (8-2) set for Friday night.

• • •

Nine schools are set to participate in the first unified basketball jamboree Saturday at Thomas College. Teams taking part are Deering/Portland, Hampden, Leavitt, Lewiston, Massabesic, Morse, Mount View, Westbrook, and Winslow. Unified basketball is played by special needs students partnered with students without developmental disabilities.

The jamboree begins at 9 a.m. with Winslow vs. Leavitt. Each team will play at least two games, with the action concluding with a 3:30 p.m. game between Morse and Mount View.

• • •

Around the state: With the regular season now more than half complete, just four teams in the state remain undefeated: Portland (AA), Greely (A), Hermon (B) and Hall-Dale (C) … Woodland fell from the unbeaten ranks with a 58-52 loss to Fort Kent on Monday… A rematch of last season’s Class D state championship game is set for Saturday, when Greenville takes on Machias. Machias took the Gold Ball last year.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM