Maddie Fitzpatrick led the Cheverus girls’ basketball team to a 17-0 record in the regular season and the top seed in Class AA North. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

There is no shortage of intriguing storylines as the Maine high school basketball season heads into the postseason.

From undefeated teams to programs back in the playoff mix after years away, the boys’ and girls’ basketball tournaments will have plenty of drama in store as they begin next week.

The action starts with preliminary games at higher seeds on Tuesday and Wednesday, and then shifts to the Portland Expo, Augusta Civic Center and Bangor’s Cross Insurance Center on Friday. In addition, Class AA teams have quarterfinals at higher seeds next week before the winners head to Cross Insurance Arena in Portland. State championships in five classes are scheduled for March 1-2.

In the southern regions, as well as the southern Maine-led Class AA North, four teams take undefeated records into the postseason – and two come from the same school. Oceanside’s boys’ and girls’ teams both went 18-0, and will fend off challengers as Class B South’s No. 1 seeds.

“We love every step of it,” said Larry Reed, coach of the high-octane Oceanside boys. “It’s a bit competitive too, which is a lot of fun. It’s almost ‘Who’s going to be the one that blinks first.’ … It’s fun, it’s great, it’s healthy competition amongst each other, and we hope we can both stay on this journey together for as long as we possibly can.”

Both Mariners teams have cause for motivation as their tournament runs begin. The Oceanside boys were a top seed at 17-1 last year, and made it all the way to the state final before falling to Orono. They’re the team to beat in B South again, and they have their sights set on finishing the job they nearly completed last time.


“We are dialed in,” Reed said. “We lost the state championship by only three points last year, and no longer than we were back on the bus and the twins (Carter and Cohen Galley) were already messaging me, ‘We’ve got to get back there.’ ”

The Oceanside girls will be hungry as well. The Mariners completed their third straight undefeated regular season, but are likely to remember what happened last year, when a loss to Spruce Mountain in the regional final derailed their hopes for a second straight state title and ended a 53-game winning streak.

Aubri Hoose and the Oceanside girls finished the regular season with an undefeated record for the third straight year. The Mariners are the No. 1 seed in Class B South. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

“It’s been our motivational tool that we’ve used throughout the year,” Oceanside girls’ Coach Matt Breen said. “It’s something that we’ve talked about, some of the things that we thought we could do differently to hopefully change that this year.”

The other undefeated teams are the Valley girls in Class D South and the Cheverus girls in AA North. The Stags absorbed some key offseason departures to go 17-0, with seniors Maddie Fitzpatrick, Ruth Boles and Megan Dearborn leading the way.

Coach Bill Goodman said he’s focused on keeping Cheverus sharp and focused. The Stags last played on Feb. 2 and will have a first-round bye.

“The last couple of weeks, teams have been playing us tougher, they’ve had more different game plans,” he said. “The good part is they’re throwing stuff at us and we’re learning how to handle it. The bad part is all the film is out on us.”


The tournament fields will also feature some defending champions in good position for another title run. On the boys’ side, South Portland is a third seed in AA South and sporting a modest 9-9 record, but has also come on strong with wins in eight of its last 11 games. Oxford Hills, which won the AA girls’ title, appeared in trouble after starting 2-5, but 11 straight wins moved the red-hot Vikings up to second behind Cheverus.

The Old Orchard Beach girls, who won the Class C title, earned a shot to defend their championship by going 7-11 and grabbing the 10th seed in the South region.

The playoffs will also feature teams that, after rough years dropped them down a class, now have high hopes. One of those teams is the Noble boys, who at 14-4 are the third seed in A South behind Gray-New Gloucester (16-2) and Falmouth (15-3). The Knights had one winning season in 35 years entering this winter, but the team – and the community supporting it – was awaiting this opportunity.

Coach John Morgan leads a practice in November for the Noble High boys’ basketball team, which moved to Class A South this season. The Knights are 14-4 and have the No. 3 seed in the region. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

“It’s been incredible for the morale of the team and confidence of the team,” Coach John Morgan said. “This last week, we played two home games against GNG and Massabesic and it was really packed in our gym, you had to get there early to get a seat. Everybody is excited to travel, and I think we’re going to have a good amount of people from this community traveling to the Expo to watch us.”

Noble’s not alone. The Biddeford girls, 0-18 last year in Class A, are 11-7 and a ninth seed in B South. The Waynflete girls (13-5) are the second seed in D South after missing the Class C tournament last year. The Poland girls (12-6) are the sixth seed in C South after going 0-18 last year in B. And the Deering girls, 8-50 in AA the last three full seasons, are the fifth seed in A South.

The Rams are 9-9, but have wins over top-four seeds in Mt. Ararat and Fryeburg Academy, and losses by five points or fewer to No. 2 Brunswick and No. 3 Gray-New Gloucester. In a deep A South field, Deering believes it can be a dark horse.

“I think so,” Coach Mike Murphy said. “It’s high school sports, you just never know who’s going to deal with the jitters and who can deal with making foul shots under pressure and who can take care of the ball. … It really comes down to, can you keep those outside factors (out) and play within yourself?”

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