Skowhegan’s Jaycie Christopher twirls the net in celebration after her team won the Class A state championship game against Greely. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

The return of the first full girls basketball season in two years was a memorable one, particularly in central Maine.

Skowhegan beat Greely to capture its the first Class A title in program history at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland. Jaycie Christopher scored 24 points for the River Hawks, while Callaway LePage added 17 points and had nine rebounds. The River Hawks finished the season a perfect 22-0.

For Christopher — who was named the Maine Gatorade Player of the Year and Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A Player of the Year this week and will play for Division I Boston University next year — winning a state championship was the realization of a dream that began in 2010, the last time the program won a regional title. Christopher was in the stands with her family when the River Hawks — then led by current UMaine-Augusta women’s basketball coach Heath Cowan — beat Brunswick 38-36 for the Eastern Class A title.

“I remember being here, I was 6, I wasn’t even 7 yet,” Christopher said after Skowhegan beat Lawrence 44-30 for the Class A North title at the Augusta Civic Center on Feb. 26. “I was sitting (on the bench side of the arena) with my family. I remember so clearly, Skowhegan had to go the full length of the court and made a shot at the buzzer… Watching them celebrate and cut down the nets, that was the moment I was like, ‘I want to do that, too.’”

The River Hawks were not the only area team to capture a state title. Hall-Dale beat Stearns 57-42 to win its first Class C title since 2011. Hayden Madore led the Bulldogs with 16 points, while KK Wills added 12 points. Hall-Dale also finished 22-0.

Hall-Dale players hug after they beat Old Orchard Beach 48-42 in a Class C South girls basketball semifinal on Feb. 25 at the Augusta Civic Center. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Getting to the state final was far from an easy task for the Bulldogs. Hall-Dale had to overcome an 18-point deficit to beat North Yarmouth Academy in the Class C South final.


“We’ve been on a roller-coaster ride this season,” senior forward Iris Ireland said. “It’s just one of those years where everything adds up. It’s almost perfect.”

In Class A, Lawrence (17-4) managed to make a Class A North final appearance while overcoming adversity during the regular season. An automobile accident earlier in the season kept guard MaKenzie Nadeau out for the remainder of the year, while also knocking out leading scorer Hope Bouchard for several games.

“We really had three seasons,” Lawrence head coach Greg Chesley said. “We had our preseason to Christmas, undefeated, getting ready for Skowhegan. Then we had a pretty major event happen that took out a couple girls. We also got hit by the COVID factor at the same time, we played a varsity game with only seven girls. We had that stretch and I couldn’t be more proud of how they responded.”

Gardiner, led by the play of star forward Lizzy Gruber, and Erskine Academy each made it to the Class A North semifinal. The Tigers, who were beaten by Lawrence in the semifinals, finished the season with a 17-3 record. The Eagles, led by the play of Makenzie Roderick, finished 10-9.

Gardiner’s Lizzy Gruber defends Lawrence’s Hope Bouchard during a Class A North girls basketball semifinal game Feb. 23 at the Augusta Civic Center. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Cony (10-8) had a strong regular season with the play of transfers Indiya Clarke and Sage Fortin, along with freshman Abby Morrill. Unfortunately for the Rams, both Clarke and Morrill suffered injuries and missed the postseason, ultimately leading to an A North quarterfinal loss.

In Class B, Mount View had one of its best seasons in recent memory. Thanks to the play of senior Hannah Coolen, the Mustangs (8-12) beat Waterville in the preliminary round to make its first appearance in Bangor since the 2008-2009 season. Presque Isle would go on to beat the Mustangs in the quarterfinals.


“I’m so happy for these girls,” Mount View head coach Mark Cooper said. “People don’t even realize the last time the Mount View girls played in Bangor, it was the Bangor Auditorium, it wasn’t the Cross Insurance Center. There are (30-plus year olds) living in our district that played (at that time), it’s been so long. This year we won (eight) games, which is the most we’ve won in a decade.”

In Class C, Carrabec reached the Class C South semifinals. Forward Cheyenne Cahill — who reached the 1,000-point scoring mark during the season — was named the Mountain Valley Conference Player of the Year.

North Yarmouth Academy’s Josie Harper-Cunningham, left, and Madilyn Onorato, right, double cover Carrabec’s Cheyenne Cahill during a Class C South girls basketball semifinal on Feb. 24 at the Augusta Civic Center. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

In Class D, Forest Hills (13-8) reached the Class D South final, pulling a surprising 34-29 win over top-seeded Valley in the semifinal round.

“These girls were (in the gym) every day, shooting foul shots, doing layups, working out,” said first-year head coach Bob Manix. “They’re just a completely different team than they were last year. I couldn’t be more proud of where we are.”

Perennial D South contender Rangeley (11-4) managed to reach the semifinals despite having just seven players on the roster this season. The Lakers were eventually knocked out by eventual D South champion Seacoast Christian.

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