Winthrop high school boys basketball coach Todd MacArthur sees the regular season as 18 chances for his team to grow. If progress is continuously made, he can look at each game as a pencil mark on a wall, each one a little higher than the last. From Tuesday’s 75-69 overtime win against Boothbay, the Ramblers can grow and learn a great deal.

Winthrop led much of the game by double digits, but the Seahawks rallied to tie it on a last-second 3-pointer by Hunter Crocker to send the game to overtime. The Ramblers missed free throws down the stretch in regulation to keep the door open for Boothbay’s comeback, but made nine of 12 from the line in overtime to put the game away. The win gave Winthrop (13-1), the defending Class C state champion, a regular-season sweep of Boothbay (11-3) and a firm hold on the top seed in the upcoming regional tournament.

“It’s always hard to beat a program like Boothbay twice. Even when we were up big, we knew they’d fight and claw,” MacArthur said. “We came through when it mattered the most.”

To MacArthur, the win was a chance for his team to learn about what it takes to close out a tough opponent, and that will help when they play in the tournament on the Augusta Civic Center court.

“I can talk about learning these lessons, but the only way they can learn them is go through them,” MacArthur said.

The Ramblers close the regular season with four games against four Class B opponents. Winthrop plays at Mountain Valley (6-7)  Thursday, before home games against Lisbon (7-5), Spruce Mountain (12-2), and Oak Hill (6-8). Spruce Mountain handed the Ramblers their only loss, 52-41, last week.

“There’s no easy games. That’s the point I’ve been selling my team the last few weeks,” MacArthur said. “We’re looking forward to it. As a coach, you couldn’t build a schedule any better, with all these tough games at the end of the season.”

 

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Skowhegan opened the season playing .500 ball over the first six games, but since, the team has won five of its last seven games to improve to 8-5 and plant itself well into the A North playoff field.

“The guys are just buying into hard work,” coach Tom Nadeau said.

The scoring has come via committee, Nadeau said, with freshman Adam Savage and sophomore Levi Obert leading the way. Defensively, Skowhegan has been led by junior Jimmy Reed and senior Matush Prokop.

Monday’s loss to Medomak Valley began a run of three straight against three of the top four in the region’s Heal point standings. Skowhegan hosts No. 2 Cony (9-4 ) Saturday, and hosts No. 4 Messalonskee (9-3) Tuesday.

“Every team remaining on our schedule, we can beat, but we can lose too, if we don’t take care of things,” Nadeau said.

 

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Erskine coach Tim Consent said this would be a season of growth and rebuilding for his young team. That work was finally rewarded on Monday with the Eagles’ first win of the season, a 67-42 victory at Gardiner.

“This team has played really hard all year,” Bonsant said. “They haven’t quit on me or their teammates.”

The biggest challenge for the Eagles has been shooting. For the season, Erskine is shooting 22 percent from the floor, Bonsant said. Monday’s win was a quantum leap forward, shooting-wise, as the Eagles went 50 percent (25 of 50) from the floor.

“The last three weeks we’ve put up a ton of shots in practice. Probably more than they did all offseason. This sport is a skill sport. You’ve got to be able to put the ball in the hoop,” Bonsant said. “We’re outrebounding some teams by a two-to-one margin, but we might miss 15 layups.”

Bonsant said if he were a younger coach, his team’s shooting woes would frustrate him. A veteran, Bonsant knows they’re working at it and eager to improve.

“At 50 (years old), I understand they’re giving me their best,” Bonsant said. “There’s no bad attitudes on this team. They’re positive in practice. I’m really enjoying coaching these young men.”

 

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After a slow start, Madison has shown improvement and climbed into the C South playoff picture. The Bulldogs lost four of their first five games. Since then, Madison has won five of eight games to improve to 6-7. With those victories, Madison climbed into 12th place in the regional standings and currently holds the final playoff spot in C South.

“Defensively, we’re such a better team than we were in December. The boys have really come together. They’re a tight knit group and that’s fun to coach. They compete hard with each other,” Madison coach Jason Furbush said.

Offensively, the addition of junior guard Cameron Cobb has been a boost. Cobb averages 16.5 points and nine rebounds per game. Senior Caden Franzose has shot well from the perimeter, Furbush said. Thomas Dean and Christian Cabrera have done the little things that don’t show up in the box score, Furbush said, citing the defense both have played on some of the opponents’ top players.

The Bulldogs host rival Carrabec on Thursday.

 

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Forest Hills coach Anthony Amero picked up another honor recently, earning Northeast Section Boys Basketball Coach of the Year from the National Federation of State High School Associations. Forest Hills won the Class D state title last season and enjoyed an undefeated season.

As winner of the Maine Principals’ Association Boys Basketball Coach of the Year, Amero qualified for the sectional consideration. Earlier this season, Amero earned the 300th win of his coaching career. Last fall, he was inducted in the Thomas College Sports Hall of Fame.

The NFHS has eight sections. The Northeast Section includes the six New England state, along with New York and New Jersey.

Forest Hills is enjoying another strong season. The Tigers are 14-0 and in first place in the D South. Forest Hills hosts Greenville on Thursday.

 

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Around the state: Leavitt junior Wyatt Hathaway scored his 1,000th career point in the Hornets’ win at Biddeford on Monday. According to Mike Hathaway, Wyatt’s father and Leavitt’s coach, Wyatt accomplished the milestone in just 49 games… Defending Class B state champ Caribou suffered its first loss of the season Saturday, falling at Hermon, 46-42. The Vikings (12-1) are still atop B North… It’s a three-way fight for the top seed in D North, with Van Buren, Schenck and Jonesport-Beals within five points of each other. None of three face the other two in the regular season.

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