AUGUSTA — Two teams. Two different sets of expectations. A game away from the same goal.

The Forest Hills boys basketball team (20-0) is a victory away from the opportunity to defend its Class D title. The Valley girls basketball team finished last season 10-10 and departed the tournament in the regional semifinals. Now the Cavaliers (10-10) are a victory away from playing in its first state final since 2009.

But first, both have to beat teams Greenville  for the Class D South titles. Both games will be played Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center. The No. 3 Cavaliers take on the No. 1 Lakers (18-2) for the girls championship at 1 p.m.

The No. 1 Tigers take on the No. 3 Lakers (11-9) for the boys crown at 2:45.

Forest Hills is averaging 82 points a game and allowing 44.  They’ve hit the 90-point mark on four occasions. Forest Hills did have one of its biggest scares of the season in the semifinals Wednesday – a 54-39 win over Temple Academy.

The Tigers trailed 23-20 at the half, before senior Parker Desjardins took over and scored 21 of his 34 points in the second half to seal the victory.

“That was a rough game,” Desjardins said. “We didn’t execute what we wanted to do (offensively) and had a hard time.”

The Tigers and Lakers will meet for the third time this season. Greenville gave Forest Hills its closest game of the season, falling to the Tigers 60-58 on Jan. 8 in Greenville. The Tigers cruised to a 91-60 victory in the second meeting Jan. 23 in Jackman.

“The problem with Greenville, we’ve known (the players) since fifth grade,” Forest Hill coach Anthony Amero said. “Valley and Greenville are always the toughest (opponents) because they know everything about us. They gave us our toughest regular season game — 60-58 — so that should sell some tickets. They play very similar to us. They like to take a lot of shots, they’ve very athletic and very, very quick. Great soccer team. Speed-wise, we can’t outrun them. But hopefully, it’s just a shootout both ways and its a better game to watch (than the semifinal).”

“It’s going to be a tight game,” Desjardins added. “They’re fast. They play really good defense… They’ll be tough. They play a similar style, so whoever comes out more intense and wants it more (will win).”

Greenville is making its third Class D South final appearance in the last four seasons, winning both of their previous two trips. Greenville fell 51-39 to Machias in the Class D final in 2017 but won the state title in 2018 with a 47-46 win over Woodland.

Greenville earned its place in regionals with a 51-46 win over No. 2 Rangeley in the semifinals on Wednesday, led by Camden Harmon’s 19 points. The Lakers were also aided by center Adam Ethier, who had 18 points and 11 rebounds.

“(Forest Hills), they run, they definitely run,” Greenville coach Joseph Pelletier said. “Parker Desjardins is a very talented player — probably the best I’ve seen in seven years. They move the ball quick, they get some shots up and they get down the floor. The play a 1-3-1 (zone) and kind of extend it to get you caught up in their pace. We need to make sure we don’t get caught up in their pace”

Valley’s regular season was a bit more of a roller-coaster ride. By Jan. 18, the Cavaliers had a record of 5-6, which included a four-game losing streak in the middle of the season. They also entered the playoffs on the heels of their worst loss of the year — falling 52-11 at Greenville on Feb. 5.

But Valley has been far more assertive in the playoffs, picking up a 39-24 victory over Forest Hills in the quarterfinals, before pulling off a 49-47 upset over No. 2 Rangeley in the semifinals on Thursday, when Emily Collins nailed the deciding jumper in the final minute of the contest. Like Desjardins, Collins took over in the second half, scoring all of her 11 points in the final quarter-and-a-half of play.

“It’s great for the kids (to head to regionals),” Valley coach Paul Belanger said. “This is why you do it, to see the reaction (of the players). Did you see the reaction on their face after the game? That’s why you coach. If you win the game, great. But its really about the reaction you get out of them. They haven’t been to a regional final in anything — in any sport — in years. It’s going to be nice for them, maybe they can get that monkey off their back and get there every year.”

Should Valley win, it would be the fourth Class D final appearance in program history. The Cavaliers have yet to win a Class D championship, falling to Woodland 49-35 in its last appearance in 2009.

The Cavaliers will have quite a challenger on their hands Saturday. Greenville is the defending Class D South champion, beating Rangeley 41-20 last season before falling to Southern Aroostook 55-30 in the state final. The Lakers have been rather dominant throughout their playoff run, beating North Haven 59-14 in the quarterfinals and Seacoast Christian 52-33 in the semifinals.

 

Dave Dyer — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Dave_Dyer

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