Monmouth’s Holly Hunt keeps the ball away from Kents Hill’s Rose Jenkins during a Feb. 1 girls basketball game in Monmouth. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

It’s rare when the injury to one player can impact an entire regional basketball tournament, but that could be the case in Class C South girls action.

Angel Huntsman, a senior guard for top-seeded North Yarmouth Academy (17-1) reportedly injured her knee in a Jan. 28 game against Dirigo and will miss most, if not all, of the tournament. Huntsman, a star of the tournament in Augusta last season, was the top player for the Panthers, averaging 10 assists per game.

The Panthers still feature an experienced group. Madilyn Onorato, Graca Bila and Charlotte Harper-Cunningham have all scored in double digits during Huntsman’s absence. The Panthers also have Sarah English, the team’s leading scorer (14 points, nine rebounds per game) and a McDonald’s Senior All-Star selection.

“It’s a tough field, but it’s a wide-open field,” Kents Hill head coach R.J. Jenkins said. “I know Huntsman is out, but (NYA) is certainly still a powerhouse and they play really well together… I feel like there’s so much out there in C South that it’s going to be a bloodbath, and whoever comes out of C South is going to be really, really ready for whoever comes out of the North.”

NYA has gone 3-1 since the loss of Huntsman, but some C South coaches say the loss opens the door for other teams to take advantage.

Old Orchard Beach (15-3), the No. 2 seed, leads the group of challengers. The Seagulls are on a five-game winning streak and have one of the top scorers in the state in Elise McNair, who has scored more than 30 points in a game on multiple occasions.


Jenkins’ Huskies (16-2) are the No. 3 seed and were on a 16-game winning streak before back-to-back losses to Spruce Mountain and Winthrop to end the regular season.

“(The team) is very excited, I’m very excited,” Jenkins said. “We really want to embrace (the experience), make the most of the (the senior’s) last opportunity. They got a little bit of a taste of it last year, getting to the Civic Center, but got knocked out in the first round. I think they really want to build on that. I think that they are, and we feel like we’re better than we were last year. We’ve come together a lot as a group. The team chemistry is really great.

“We had a great (regular) season, 16-2 is probably the best record our program has certainly has had in a long, long time,” Jenkins continued. “They’re really excited for what lies ahead.”

Logan McDonald and Rose Jenkins have been two of Kents Hill’s top scorers this season, but R.J. Jenkins said the Huskies take a lot of pride in their rebounding.”

“We used our speed to get up and down the floor, we run the wing pretty well,” R.J. Jenkins said. “We offensive rebound pretty well, but we also rebound well on defense. We use our size… We like to hit the glass. If we rebound the ball the way that we like to, it lets us get out and use that athleticism and run.”

Richmond’s Breonna Dufrense, left, and Monmouth’s Maeve Burgess fight for a loose ball during a Jan. 17 girls basketball game in Monmouth. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Hall-Dale (15-4), the defending Class C champion, is the No. 4 seed. Of the Bulldogs’ four losses, two have been to one of the top three seeds (Old Orchard, Kents Hill). Hall-Dale has successfully progressed throughout the season with players taking on new roles on the floor.


“We’re pretty optimistic,” Hall-Dale head coach O.J. Jaramillo said. “We’re trending in the right direction. We’re playing really good basketball right now… All things that are preparing us for the tournament I’m hoping we’ve learned from some of these situations we put ourselves in (from the regular season). Hopefully in the tournament we can get over that hump.”

Hayden Madore and Amanda Trepanier have been the top scorers for the Bulldogs throughout the season.

Hall-Dale will meet No. 5 Richmond (15-3) in the quarterfinal round. The Bobcats have been on a roll, losing just one of their last 10 games. Forward Izzy Stewart has been a key player for Richmond both in scoring and rebounding, receiving supporting help from Kara Briand and Breonna Dufresne.

No. 6 Monmouth Academy (13-6) will meet Kents Hill in the quarterfinals. After going 3-3 to start the regular season, the Mustangs went 10-3 in its final 13 games of the regular season. Monmouth fell 50-40 to Kents Hill in its lone regular season matchup on Feb. 1, but gave the Huskies an early scare.

A young but battle-tested Winthrop squad (13-6) holds the No. 7 seed. The Ramblers have shown the ability to pull off an upset, beating Kents Hill 58-43 in the regular season finale Feb. 6. Winthrop also has a victory over rival Monmouth, as well as southern Maine foe Traip Academy.

“We’re excited to get to the Civic Center and play,” Winthrop head coach John Baehr said. “We’ve got a tough (quarterfinal) matchup, but we had a tough prelim. It’s been a good year. We’ve improved. We’ve gotten better every game, every day.”

Madison (13-6) — which had a thrilling 56-53 victory over rival Carrabec in the preliminary round — is the No. 9 seed.

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