Every year, it seems, there is a surprise team in the Western Class A girls’ basketball tournament.

A year ago it was Windham High, which rose from the seventh seed to the regional championship game before losing to eventual state champ McAuley.

This year?

Well, it could be the Eagles again. Windham is seeded 11th at 8-10 but finished strong with five wins in its last seven games.

Or it could be sixth-seeded Falmouth, which will host Windham at 8:15 p.m. Wednesday in a preliminary-round game.

Why the Yachtsmen?

Well, because Falmouth, a member of the Western Maine Conference and not the SMAA, plays a Class B schedule in the regular season and is sort of an unknown to the Class A schools. The Yachtsmen went 12-6, with their biggest victories coming against York and Lake Region, seeded fourth and sixth in Western Class B.

But Windham Coach Brody Artes knows better than to underestimate any opponent.

“I mean, they’re No. 6 for a reason,” he said. “They won 12 games and I think they have as good a team as a lot of teams in the SMAA. They have some size, and that’s going to cause a problem for us, and (senior guard Ally) Hickey is as good a player as we’ve seen this year.”

Falmouth Coach Mari Warner dismisses the notion that her team is at a disadvantage playing a Class B schedule.

“We play the Class A schools throughout the summer,” she said. “And we played Deering before the season, in the SMAA Challenge so I think the kids feel good about it. We try to do as much as we can with the SMAA.

“Besides, these days the kids all play each other anyway. (They) know more about Windham than I do.”

Well, at least two of them, Hickey and Dayna Vasconcelos, played with Windham’s top player, Sadie Nelson, on an AAU team last summer.

“So we kind of know a little bit of what they’re about,” said Vasconcelos, a senior forward.

Vasconcelos said the Yachtsmen “are excited for it. We’re ready to show what we’ve got.”

And what Falmouth has is a pretty good team. In seniors Hickey, Vasconcelos and Jessica Burton, the Yachtsmen have three experienced leaders. Hickey had a sensational year, leading Falmouth in scoring, rebounding, steals and 3-point shooting.

“She really has stepped up her game,” said Warner. “I always felt she had this in her. But she struggled her sophomore year. She got it back her junior year. And this year, it was her time.”

Sophomores Adelaide Cooke, Alaina Birkel and Abby Ryan have provided valuable help to the seniors.

Vasconcelos said the players got together at the beginning of the year to talk about expectations. “We wanted to get the communication going between the older players and younger players,” she said.

Perhaps Falmouth’s biggest victory came on Jan. 6. The Yachtsmen trailed York by 13 at the half, but rallied for a 65-55 victory.

“They just really played good basketball in the second half,” said Warner. “I think it proved a lot to them.”

What it showed, said Vasconcelos, “was how much we’ve grown as a team. That’s not something that we would have been able to do in the past.”

Now, the Yachtsmen face another test. Windham is led by Nelson (17 points and 8.5 rebounds per game) but has been getting a lot of contributions elsewhere lately. And the Eagles are looking to make another run.

“The girls believe they can go on a run because a lot of them experienced it last year,” said Artes. “We’ll see what happens.”

The Yachtsmen also want to make a statement. But they aren’t looking past Windham.

“We’re just taking it one game at a time,” said Warner. “That’s our mantra and we’re not looking any further.”