For most people, the Eastern Maine boys basketball tournament begins Friday night with its arrival at the Bangor Auditorium.
But don’t try telling that to players from Mount View High of Thorndike or Schenck High of East Millinocket, both of whom used overtime Wednesday night to earn their trips to the quarterfinals.
Schenck used a buzzer-beater by Chris Byron to force overtime against Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln in its Class C prelim, then used a buzzer-beater by Aaron Waite to earn the 62-59 victory.
The win marked the second straight season Schenck has advanced from the No. 11 seed to Bangor.
“It’s the same scenario as last year,” said Waite. “Now we just have to keep it going.”
Mount View had to endure three overtimes before edging Maranacook of Readfield 69-66 in its Class B prelim. The Mustangs used a late 3-pointer by Kyle Harvey to force overtime, then produced the tying points at the end of each of the first two overtimes before securing their trip to the quarterfinals.
“I think the desire to get to Bangor fueled everything,” said Mount View coach Jim Pettis. “All year long we’ve talked about getting this chance.”
Mount View won’t have to wait long to realize its Auditorium ambition. The boys quarterfinals begin Friday with a pair of Class B games. Defending state champion Erskine Academy of South China, the No. 3 seed, faces No. 6 Mount Desert Island at 7:05 p.m., followed at 8:35 by No. 10 Mount View against No. 2 Foxcroft Academy.
Here’s a glimpse at the B, C and D boys tourney fields:
Class B: This year’s field features five Big East teams (Foxcroft Academy, Presque Isle, Fort Kent, Mount Desert Island and Ellsworth) and three Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference programs (Camden Hills, Erskine Academy and Mount View). … No. 1 Camden Hills is the last unbeaten boys basketball team in Eastern Maine, and probably is glad No. 9 Ellsworth eliminated Winslow in preliminary-round play Wednesday – Winslow has knocked the Windjammers out of the tournament each of the last two years. … Erskine Academy last winter extended the KVAC’s hold on the gold ball to four years (Camden Hills in 2001 and 2002, Winslow in 2003). … Foxcroft, the three-time Big East champion, had its 13-game winning streak ended with a loss at Bucksport to end the regular season. … Quarterfinal foes Presque Isle and Fort Kent split two earlier meetings, with No. 4 PI earning the most recent win, a 76-50 decision on Feb. 10. … No. 5 Fort Kent is making its first Bangor appearance since 1996.
Class C: A new Eastern Maine and state champion will be crowned, as Houlton fell to No. 8 Piscataquis of Guilford in the prelims. … No. 1 Dexter has led this division from wire to wire thanks to its senior leadership, balanced offense and defensive consistency. … No. 2 Penquis of Milo brings a 10-game winning streak into postseason play, including a victory against Dexter. … No. 7 Calais is another hot team, with 13 wins in 15 games since an 0-4 start. … Washington Academy parlayed a season-ending victory against No. 5 George Stevens Academy into its No. 3 seed. … No. 4 Madawaska has had a breakthrough season, and is seeking its first-ever tourney win at the auditorium.
Class D: Top-seeded Lee Academy earned the only bye, and the balanced Pandas will make their first tourney appearance at the Bangor Auditorium in 13 years. … No. 2 Central Aroostook took Calvary Chapel of Orrington to overtime in last year’s EM final, and returns a high-octane offense that produced 96 points in its prelim win. … No. 3 Calvary Chapel. the defending state champion, is 39-2 over the last two seasons. … Led by 1,500-point scorer Jason Thompson, No. 5 Washburn hopes to improve on last year’s quarterfinal appearance, but faces a rematch against No. 4 Katahdin of Stacyville, which boasts more than 700 wins on the sidelines in head coach Bill McAvoy and assistant Phil Faulkner. … No. 6 Deer Isle-Stonington’s roster features four Ciomeis and three Eatons, many of whom see considerable duty for the Mariners. … No. 7 Greenville is a wild card in the field, having played just one game against the other tourney entries, a 68-41 loss at Calvary Chapel. … And what would an Eastern D tournament be without coach Ordman Alley and the No. 9 Jonesport-Beals Royals, who will begin play at the “Ordietorium” on Saturday night coming off a win in the Downeast Athletic Conference championship game and a 33-point road prelim victory at Hodgdon.