With one game left in the regular season for most teams, the final playoff spots in Class A North are still in play. Four teams — Messalonskee, Medomak Valley, Skowhegan, and Brewer — are fighting for the final three seeds in the upcoming playoffs. For Messalonskee, Medomak Valley, and Skowhegan, the math is simple. Win the season finale Thursday and you’re in. Brewer needs to win its game against Mt. Blue and get at least one of the other three to lose.

“For us, we control our own destiny,” Skowhegan coach Tom Nadeau said.

Tuesday, Skowhegan helped itself with a 54-43 win over Messalonskee. Now 7-10, Skowhegan hosts Lawrence (10-7) Thursday. A win sends the Indians to the regional quarterfinals February 16 at the Augusta Civic Center. A loss means Skowhegan needs a Mt. Blue win at Brewer.

“We’re just going to try to control the things we can control,” Nadeau said.

In Tuesday’s win over Messalonskee, Skowhegan did a nice job containing the Eagles’ penetration and contesting shots, Nadeau said. Tucker Charles and Matthew Parent, Messalonskee’s high-scoring guard duo, combined for just 16 points. Offensively, the Indians got contributions from a handful of players. Leading scorer Marcus Christopher scored 20 points. Carter Hunt scored 12, Chase Carey added nine, and Matush Prokop had eight points to go with nine boards.

Against Lawrence, Skowhegan needs to continue to pay attention to the details, Nadeau said.

“Setting and using screens, rebounding. We need to just do the little things,” Nadeau said.

• •  •

Maine Central Institute’s 88-48 loss at Maranacook on January could have been the start of a nosedive for the Huskies. Instead, MCI used the game as a springboard to a strong second half of the regular season, overcoming the loss of one of their top players to make a run at a bye to the quarterfinals of the Class B North tournament.

“It was a turning point for us,” MCI coach Josh Tardy said.

Since the Maranacook loss, the Huskies are 6-1, improving to 13-4 with the regular season finale at Winslow on Thursday. MCI’s hot run includes a key win over Oceanside. The Mariners sit two points behind the Huskies for the No. 5 seed in the region. The top five earn a bye to the quarterfinals at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. Teams 6 through 11 must play a preliminary round game.

The Huskies are getting hot without one of their best players, junior guard Owen Williams, who is out for the season with a leg injury. Williams tried to play through the injury for three games around midseason, Tardy said, before he was shut down.

“That’s a tough loss,” Tardy said. “(Williams) was our leading scorer and rebounder, and a lock down defender.”

Senior captains Joe Cloutier and Hayden Caldwell have helped make up for Williams’ absence offensively, along with senior Daniel Garamvolgyi and sophomore Gavin McArthur. The return of 6-foot-8 forward Jose Montes Valverde, who missed nine games for a violation of team rules, has helped as well.

“We’re figuring out who we are and who we’re going to have on the court,” Tardy said.

Tardy said he expects the Huskies to enter the tournament as either the five or six seed. If Oceanside beats Class A Medomak Valley Thursday, that should give the Mariners (12-5)  enough points to leap over MCI into the five spot, regardless of how the Huskies do at Winslow. If that happens, there’s a chance MCI could host Winslow (8-9) in a preliminary round rematch next week.

“We try not to look beyond the next game,” Tardy said. “Anything can happen. We know that.”

• • •

Forest Hills completed an 18-0 regular season with Tuesday’s 67-35 win over Vinalhaven. The Tigers will be the top seed in the Class D South tournament.

The Tigers will have 11 days between the end of the regular season  and their regional quarterfinal game on Feb. 16. Coach Anthony Amero said his team will have a work out with Hebron Academy as a warm-up for the tournament.

“It’s tough to find teams, and they are great to work with,” Amero said.

The 2018-19 Forest Hills team compares favorably to two Tiger squads to recently win the Class D state title. Forest Hills averaged 77.6 points per game this season, with a season-low of 62 in a win over Greenville on Jan. 10. The Tigers allowed just 38.2 points per game, for an average margin of victory of just over 39 points.

Forest Hills’ 2013 state championship team averaged 68.6 points while allowing 37.7 points per game. The undefeated state championship team of 2015 scored an average of 68.5 points per game while allowing 36.1.

• • •

Around the state: There may not be a team entering the tournament more battle-tested than Mattanawcook Academy. Ranked No. 2 in Class C North, the Lynx last three games were against No. 3 George Stevens Academy (a 55-53 Mattanawcook win), No. 4 Houlton (a 46-37 MA win), and No. 5 Penobscot Valley (a 65-59 MA loss). The Lynx close the regular season Thursday at No. 11 Piscataquis… Bonny Eagle (14-3) takes a seven-game win streak in Thursday’s regular season finale against Windham. The Scots are in second place in Class AA South and have a pair of one-point wins and a two-point win in their streak… Greely’s 71-60 win over York Tuesday locked up the top seed in the Class A South tournament for the two-time defending Class A state champion Rangers… Woodland completed the two-game season sweep of Jonesport-Beals with a 59-47 win over the Royals Monday. The Dragons (15-1) were scheduled to face winless Shead in the regular season finale Wednesday night, and will go into the Class D North tournament as the top seed.

 

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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