Forest HIlls’ Parker Desjardins, left, drives by Temple defender Zach Wiles during a game earlier this season in Waterville. Morning Sentinel photo by Michael G. Seamans

If you think the Forest Hills boys basketball team – which averages 83.7 points per game – is all run and gun, you haven’t looked at the Tigers defensive effort. While piling up the high scores, Forest Hills has also held opponents to an average of 45.7 points per game.

“Anybody who gets in a shootout with them, they’re in trouble,” Temple Academy coach Scott Corey said of trying to match Forest Hills bucket for bucket.

At 18-0 and with a 40-game win streak entering the tournament, the Tigers are the clear favorite in the Class D South tournament at the Augusta Civic Center.

Regional quarterfinals begin Saturday at noon with No. 5 Valley (5-13) playing No. 4 Temple Academy (8-10), followed by No. 8 Seacoast Christian (4-14) vs No. 1 Forest Hills (18-0). The quarterfinals continue Monday at 9 a.m., with No. 6 Pine Tree Academy (9-9) vs No. 3 Greenville (9-9), followed by No. 7 Vinalhaven (7-11) vs No. 2 Rangeley (15-3).

“The kids are excited to go down there (to Augusta) and make a splash,” Forest Hills coach Anthony Amero said.

Temple and Valley split a pair of regular season games. Valley enters the tournament with just two wins in its last nine games, but one of those wins came over Temple, 56-53, on Jan. 18. In the rematch five days later, Temple took a 49-44 win.

Thomas Bishop and Bradley Farrington are key offensive players for Valley. For Temple, the key is improving defensively and adjusting to the sightlines of the Augusta Civic Center court. Marko Ajvaz, Stevo Kruta, and Dragan Jovanovic are Bereans who saw ample time on the Augusta court when the team reached the regional final last season.

“We’re playing a team that’s used to winning in Augusta. Valley kids will play hard,” Corey said. “The backdrop, you can’t duplicate that. It’s two hoops in the middle of nowhere. Can we get defensive intensity and rebound? That’s the question.”

Forest Hills defeated Seacoast Christian by 50 points, 88-38, late in the regular season. The Tigers are led by 1,000-point scorer Parker Desjardins, and Hunter Cuddy, who enters the tournament just 19 points from the 1,000 milestone.

“There’s definitely an advantage when you’re that one seed. You feel a little more confident in that first game. You dial it in a little quicker,” Amero said.

Temple’s Stevo Kruta (40) puts a shot up against Rangeley in the first quarter of a game earlier this season in Waterville. Morning Sentinel photo by Michael G. Seamans

Rangeley enjoyed its best regular season in 17 years. The Lakers are led by guards Kenny Thompson and Nolan Boone. Rangeley swept a pair of lopsided games from Vinalhaven early in the season.

“We have been focusing on the things that we feel that we can do well, not necessarily what an opponent will do against us. We did beat them twice previously but we are not  assuming that this will be an easy game nor are looking past it,” Rangeley coach Jeff LarRochelle said. “We want to try to control the flow and be deliberate with ball and keep turnovers down to a minimum.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

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Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

 

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