It should be a telling weekend in the North Atlantic Conference women’s basketball ranks.
The top two teams in the both the East and West divisions will square off on back-to-back days, which should further clarify the picture for the upcoming conference tournament, which begins Feb. 26.
Maine Maritime Academy of Castine and Husson College of Bangor, which occupy the Nos. 1 and 2 positions in the NAC East, are gearing up to entertain West division leaders Castleton State and Johnson State, both of which are from Vermont.
Coach Craig Dagan’s Mariners (12-7 overall, 7-1 NAC) take on Castleton State (13-6, 9-1 NAC) Friday at 6 p.m. at Smith Gymnasium. MMA is riding a six-game winning streak, while CSC has won seven straight.
MMA faces Johnson State (9-10, 5-4 NAC) Saturday at 2 p.m.
Coach Kissy Walker’s Eagles (10-9, 6-2 NAC) face Johnson State on Friday at 6, then play host to Castleton State on Saturday at 2 p.m.
MMA holds a one-game lead over Husson in the East, but could take a step closer to sewing up the top overall seed (and home court throughout the playoffs) with a sweep.
Meanwhile, a Husson sweep would keep the Eagles in home-court mode and maintain them within a game of first place in the division.
Castleton State, which has a 31/2-game edge over Johnson State in the West, could put itself in good position to earn the overall No. 1 playoff seed if it could gain a difficult road sweep at MMA and Husson.
The Spartans have excelled defensively, allowing a league-low 39.6 points per game on 27 percent floor shooting in conference play. That has been key, since CSC is scoring only 58.7 ppg.
Aaron Gallant solid at Tufts
Aaron Gallant has worked his way into a starting role at Tufts University in Medford, Mass.
The former Bangor High School standout, a BDN All-Maine second-team selection in 2005, is a junior for the Jumbos.
Gallant is averaging 8.3 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.3 assist per game for coach Bob Sheldon’s squad, which is 10-9 overall, 0-5 in New England Small College Athletic Conference play, this season.
The 6-foot guard, who was among the state’s top defensive players for coach Roger Reed at Bangor High, has started all 19 games this season and is averaging 25.7 minutes per contest.
Gallant leads the squad with both a .564 field-goal percentage (57-for-101) and an .875 free-throw percentage (35-for-40). He has elevated his play considerably after averaging only 11.7 minutes per game coming off the bench last winter.
St. Joseph’s lists hall of fame class
Saint Joseph’s College in Standish has announced six people will join its Athletic Hall of Fame Class next fall.
The group includes softball coach and administrator Dick Bailey, basketball player Carl Howell (Class of 1999), baseball player Jesse LaCasse (2003), women’s soccer standout Kelly (Wood) Smith (1994), women’s basketball star Carla (Taliento) Savino (1985) and men’s soccer performer Mike Bolanz (2000).
The induction ceremony is scheduled for Nov. 8 at the Saint Joseph’s College dining hall. A 5:30 p.m. reception will be followed by dinner and the inductions.
For information, call the SJC alumni office at 207-893-7890.
Yates sets Gettysburg TJ record
Shannon Yates of Gettysburg College set the school’s indoor triple jump record and qualified provisionally for the NCAA Division III Championship during Saturday’s Ursinus College Frank Colden Invitational at Collegeville, Pa.
Yates, a senior from New Vineyard who attended Mt. Blue High School in Farmington, won the triple jump with a leap of 37 feet, 1/2-inch. That surpassed the NCAA provisional standard of 36-81/4 and eclipsed the previous Gettysburg record of 36-101/4 set in 2007 by Lindsey Visbaras.