AUGUSTA — By the time the Winthrop girls basketball team plays its Class C South quarterfinal on Tuesday against Old Orchard Beach, the Ramblers will have gone two full weeks between games. Their regular-season finale was on Feb. 5.

For each of the top three seeds in the region, that’s the price paid for a preliminary-round bye.

“We finished our season with four games in five days, and then it was a mad rush to wait,” Winthrop coach Joe Burnham said. “We took the first week to kind of wrap up the regular season, get some rest and have some fun. Then the second week we kind of got back to it.”

At 16-2, No. 2 Winthrop took a giant step forward this winter. The Ramblers earned the 14th and final postseason slot last winter and lost in the prelims, and now they’re in the new position of being among the region’s tournament favorites.

Led by the constant presence of Aaliyah WilsonFalcone, Winthrop hopes its game translates to the Augusta Civic Center. They lost by 23 at Boothbay on Jan. 22 — their only meeting of the season — but Burnham says the score was deceiving.

“We didn’t come out the way we wanted to, and the score got lopsided in the second half,” Burnham said. “But I liked the way the girls competed against them. If we bring the same type of energy, effort and enthusiasm to the Civic Center, we’ll be fine. That building can be a great equalizer.”

Boothbay was the regional champion in 2016, and the No. 1 Seahawks have been perennial favorites. Faith Blethen and Glory Blethen each stand over 6 feet tall on a team blessed with size and athleticism.

Only twice all season did undefeated Boothbay (18-0) not win by at least 20 points — in a nine-point win over Monmouth in the third game of the season and in a nine-point win over Class B Oak Hill on Jan. 16.

The Seahawks play No. 8 St. Dominic in their quarterfinal, while No. 3 North Yarmouth faces No. 6 Monmouth in another. The tournament has already seen a shakeup in the seedings, with No. 12 Traip set to meet No. 13 Madison in the final quarterfinal matchup — as the kinds of upsets that make tournament play unpredictable showed up early in the prelims.

Madison (6-13) knocked off No. 4 Hebron and Traip toppled No. 5 Hall-Dale, both on the road.

The Rangers-Bulldogs pairing marks the lowest two seeds to face off in a quarterfinal in the region’s history.

“We had a streak in the middle (of the season) where we weren’t successful as far as wins went, but I thought we were in games,” said veteran Madison coach Al Veneziano, whose Bulldogs earned big Heal points with early-season wins over Richmond and Hall-Dale. “We had a chance to win at Winthrop, up one with a minute to go, and getting something out of those games might have helped us.

“What I got out of it was that we worked hard enough to be in the games, and I thought that was going to be something in our favor (late in the year).”

For Monmouth, the tournament is nothing new.

The Mustangs (15-4) are the two-time defending Class C state champions. This year, there is a new coach in Rick Larrabee and a new cast of performers, notably Kaeti Butterfield and Abby Ferland, who were role players as underclassmen but who now carry larger workloads.

“Our last five or six games of the season have been like this, so the girls have been ramping up for tournament play,” said Larrabee, whose team battled through a defensive struggle in a prelim win over Carrabec last week. “I like to keep stuff familiar with the girls so they know what’s going on. It all comes down to executing (in tournament games).”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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