AUGUSTA — The Brewer and Skowhegan boys basketball teams have gone down different paths this season. But both have landed at the same destination.

The Witches (19-1) will meet the River Hawks (14-6) for the Class A North title on Friday night at the Augusta Civic Center. For Brewer, the game is a chance at redemption. The Witches fell 68-58 to a Cooper Flagg-led Nokomis team in the A North final last season. The Warriors went on to win the state title while Brewer has been a favorite to return to the regional final this season.

“Our goal the whole time was to get back to where we were last year and it feels good to be back (in the regional final),” said Brewer guard Evan Nadeau, who scored 20 points for the Witches in an 83-36 win over Cony in the semifinal round on Wednesday night.

For the River Hawks — who lost 58-30 to the Witches in the semifinals last year — it’s the next progressive step for a team that has battled back from an 0-3 start to go 14-3 in their last 17 games.

Brewer broke a 12-year old Class A North tournament record against the Rams by making 14 3-pointers. The previous mark was held by Hampden Academy, which had 12 in 2011.

“Brewer, they push (the ball offensively) when they need to, they’re going to pull (up) when they need to,” Skowhegan head coach Tom Nadeau said. “They’ll be methodical. They’ll be well coached, so we’ll see what happens.”


Brewer has been nearly perfect all season. The Witches have led all Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A teams in points scored per game (70.56) and points allowed per game (45.89). Brewer boasts one of the top scorers in the conference in forward Brady Saunders, who averages 21.6 points per game (fifth in the KVAC), is second in field goal percentage (.655) and 3-point percentage (.449) and first in free throw percentage (.892). But Saunders is far from Brewer’s lone offensive option. Nadeau, a senior guard, nailed five 3-pointers against Cony. Senior forward Brock Flagg hit four 3-pointers and provided strong work in the post, pulling down 11 rebounds.


“We just got to get back to playing our kind of basketball,” Brewer head coach Ben Goodwin said. “Moving the ball a little bit, getting our open shots and playing hard-nose defense. I thought we did a much better job of that (against Cony).”

But there is one blemish to Brewer’s season, and just one team that can lay claim to victory over the Witches. That would be Skowhegan, which beat Brewer 49-48 on the road on Feb. 3.

You won’t find Skowhegan players at the top of the major KVAC stats, and the team prefers it that way. It says so on its warmup t-shirts, adorned with the slogan “We above me.” The River Hawks have an unselfish attitude in terms of offense, and it showed on Wednesday night in their 54-34 semifinal win over Messalonskee. Four Skowhegan players scored 10 or more points against the Eagles. Guard Patrick McKenney and forward Kyle LePage each led the River Hawks with 12 points, while forwards Collin LePage and Adam Savage each added 11 points. As a team, Skowhegan is third in KVAC A in scoring (59.33 points per game) and fifth in scoring defense (53.66 ppg).

Skowhegan’s Kyle LePage (32) and Adam Savage (34) defend Brewer’s Brady Saunders (13) in the first half of a Dec. 9 basketball game in Skowhegan. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

“We’ve got some of the best size in the state,” Savage said. “We’ve got about five people around 6-5. That’s obviously a strength. Our ability to (beat) double-teams in the post, try to kick it out and move (the ball) around, that’s one of our strengths. Defensively, we’re a defensive minded program. Our coach has always taught us basic fundamentals on defense and we’ve stuck to it. It helps us win games.”

“(Skowhegan) is a tough team,” Goodwin said. “They’re going to come out ready to play. They’re very physical, they’re very big. We know it’s going to be a battle. They beat us at our place towards the end of  the season. We know it’s going to be a battle, we’ve got to come ready to play.”

Skowhegan may not have a true leader in stats, but it has a leader on the court and for the moment in Savage, a senior who provides no problem showing an opponent where he is on the floor. On Wednesday, it came via a thunderous dunk over Messalonskee center Merrick Smith.

Two teams. Two different paths. But both will collide for the same goal on Friday night.

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