Gardiner players Megan Gallagher, left, Lizzy Gruber, Piper Lavoie and Taylor Takatsu play zone defense as Cony senior guard Julia Reny brings up the ball during a Feb. 23 game in Augusta. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

It’s been two seasons since the Maranacook boys basketball team lost at home. And if someone in the central Maine basketball tournament wants to take the Black Bears down, that’s where they’ll have to do it.

The seeds for the postseason tournament were announced Sunday, revealing which teams will have home-court advantage throughout the duration of the boys and girls tournaments, as well as the preliminary and first round matchups.

In the Class A/B bracket, Maranacook (12-0) took the top seed for the boys tournament, while Gardiner (10-2) got the No. 1 spot in the girls bracket. In the boys field, which will go through the Black Bears’ home court in Readfield, Maranacook and No. 2 Skowhegan will play the winners of preliminary games between No. 8 Mt. Blue and No. 9 Gardiner and No. 7 Maine Central Institute and No. 10 Erskine Academy. The first round will also see No. 5 Cony visit No. 4 Messalonskee and No. 6 Winslow visit No. 3 Lawrence.

There’s a target that comes with being the top seed, but Maranacook is used to it.

“There’s a pressure on us regardless, because coming into this year we went to the state championship, we had a lot of our team back,” coach Travis Magnusson said. “I think people marked their calendar when they played against us anyway. I think it’s the same pressure as it was.”

In the girls field, Gardiner will host the winner of No. 8 Messalonskee and No. 9 Mt. Blue, while No. 2 Lawrence will entertain either No. 7 Cony or No. 10 MCI. No. 3 Erskine will host either No. 6 Waterville or No. 11 Winslow. The set first-round matchup will have No. 5 Maranacook visiting No. 4 Skowhegan.


Erskine Academy’s Sarah Praul, left, steals the ball from Lawrence’s Makenzie Nadeau during a Feb. 17 game in South China. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Gardiner has won 10 consecutive games, and got the top spot over a 10-2 Lawrence team and an 11-1 Skowhegan squad.

“Knowing that it’s entirely up to us, we can just play at home, it’s a great bonus for us,” coach Mike Gray said. “With a case like this, we’ll take any advantage we get. … My kids, they’re just comfortable in their own gym. Probably our best games this year have been a couple of our home games.”

In C/D, the teams locking down home court for the duration of their runs were the Winthrop boys (8-3) and the Hall-Dale girls (5-6).

Hall-Dale, which will host Kents Hill (0-0) on Friday, benefited from an early season victory over Gardiner.

“It’s exciting to be the No. 1 seed, be home throughout the playoffs,” Hall-Dale coach Jarod Richmond said. “We’ve played a very aggressive schedule, and it paid off to get a few wins. This is the magic of Heal points; it’s not how many you win, but who you beat. We’ve been tested. We’ve worked hard all season long. … In a season of unknowns, it’s fitting to draw an unknown opponent in Kents Hill, which hasn’t played a game.”

Messalonskee’s James Smith (4) and Erskine’s Daniel Page battle for a rebound during a Feb. 26 game in South China. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

Also on the girls side, No. 2 Carrabec will play No. 7 Madison, No. 3 Winthrop will host No. 6 Valley and No. 5 Monmouth will go to Jay to play No. 4 Spruce Mountain.


On the boys side, the Ramblers will welcome the winner of No. 8 Carrabec and No. 9 Valley to Winthrop, while No. 2 Madison will get the winner of No. 7 Monmouth and No. 10 Valley. The winner of the third prelim game between No. 6 Mt. Abram and No. 11 Waterville will travel to Jackman to face No. 3 Forest Hills. No. 5 Spruce Mountain visiting No. 4 Hall-Dale finishes the first round.

Preliminary games will be played March 2 and 3. First-round games are scheduled to be played March 4 and 5.


Sports editor Bill Stewart contributed to this story.

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