FAVORITES: You have to look at the top two seeds, Portland and South Portland, as having the inside track. The Bulldogs are the defending state champions and had a 37-game winning streak before No. 7 Cheverus ended it. The Red Riots have the tallest team in the tournament and talent to match. Still, most agree this tournament could be wide open. A lot will come down to matchups, with some teams, even the lower seeds, having the edge if they execute.

WATCH OUT FOR: Gorham has the talent and size to go deep into the tournament. The Rams just have to beat Deering in the quarterfinals. Deering blew out Gorham in two regular-season games. Falmouth is kind of a mystery team. The Yachtsmen play in a different conference from almost everyone else in Western Class A, and it remains to be seen what the return of scorer Thomas Coyne from injury will mean for their chances.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Stephen Alex, senior guard, Portland (17.0 ppg); Kevin Weisser, senior forward, Windham (20.9 ppg); Jaren Muller, senior forward, South Portland (16.0 ppg); Garang Majok, senior forward, Deering 14.0 ppg); Jack Simonds, senior forward, Falmouth (20.0 ppg); Sam Kilborn, junior forward, Gorham (12.0 ppg.)

DID YOU KNOW?: Portland Coach Joe Russo’s teams have qualified for the tournament in 24 of his 25 seasons with the Bulldogs. His teams have won three state titles, including last year.


FAVORITES: Top seeds Yarmouth and Cape Elizabeth finished the regular season strongly and could be the teams to beat. No. 3 Morse and No. 4 Lake Region are confident and capable of going deep. Adding an element of the unknown are Lincoln Academy and Spruce Mountain, who play in different leagues than the rest of the field. Lincoln Academy and Spruce Mountain have most of their teams intact from a year ago.

WATCH OUT FOR: No. 7 Greely has improved significantly since the start of the season and beat Poland by 20 in a prelim. Experience could serve Lincoln Academy and Spruce Mountain well. The tournament could have the makings of being wide open.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Adam LaBrie, senior guard, Yarmouth (13.0 ppg); Ethan Murphy, senior guard, Cape Elizabeth (4.0 assists); Eddie Galvin, senior forward, Cape Elizabeth (13.7 ppg); Ethan Winglass, senior forward, Morse (23.5 ppg); Mike McDevitt, sophomore forward, Greely (15.7 ppg); Jack Lesure, junior guard, Lake Region (11.6 ppg); Devin Scherer, senior forward, Lincoln (15.0 ppg)

DID YOU KNOW?: Greely has made the Class B tournament 24 straight years.


FAVORITES: The top three seeds, Boothbay, Dirigo and defending regional champion Waynflete, appear to have the inside track. Mountain Valley Conference teams, including Boothbay and Dirigo, beat up on each other during the season. Veteran Boothbay Coach I.J. Pinkham has another slant on the tournament. “I think it’s wide open and that there are five or six teams who could win it.” Said Waynflete Coach Rich Henry: “I think that there are some teams in the middle seeds that are going to be tough – Maranacook, Old Orchard in particular. It usually comes down to the ability to execute on the large (August Civic Center) court, playing aggressively without getting into foul trouble, and dealing with the runs that take place over the course of a game.”

WATCH OUT FOR: No. 8 Maranacook plays a Class B schedule and could be primed for a good tournament. Unfortunately for the Black Bears, they play top-seeded Boothbay in the quarterfinals. Winthrop and Madison are playing well.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Milo Belleau, senior guard, Waynflete (16.8 ppg); Harry Baker-Connick, senior guard, Waynflete (3.6 assists); John Hepburn, senior forward, Boothbay (16.0 ppg), Evan Hepburn, senior, forward, Boothbay (10.0); Riley Robinson, junior guard, Dirigo (22.0 ppg); Tyler Morang, senior guard, Winthrop (14.7 ppg); Eric Hogan, junior guard, Old Orchard (11.0 ppg)

DID YOU KNOW?: Pinkham has won over 500 games in 40-plus years as a head coach.


FAVORITES: No. 1 Forest Hills and No. 2 Valley, the defending regional champion, look like the favorites. They had two good battles during the regular season, with Forest Hills winning both. Valley beat No. 3 Hyde by 10 points late in the regular season. Forest Hills won the Gold Ball in 2013.

WATCH OUT FOR: No. 4 Seacoast Christian brings an impressive record and lots of experience into the tournament.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Matt Turner, senior guard, Forest Hills (14.0 ppg); Tanner Daigle, senior center, Forest Hills (18.0 ppg); Cody Laweryson, sophomore guard, Valley (16.0 ppg). Collin Miller, sophomore forward, Valley (10.0 ppg); Isaac LaCroix, senior forward, Seacoast Christian (19.0 ppg); Chase Gendron, senior forward, North Yarmouth Academy (12.5 ppg)

DID YOU KNOW?: In 18 seasons as the Forest Hills coach, Anthony Amero has had five 1,000-point scorers, including Turner, who reached the milestone this season.


FAVORITES: Edward Little and Hampden Academy each won a game against the other during the regular season. The top-seeded Red Eddies beat No. 2 Hampden late in the year. Based on that, Edward Little has to be a slight favorite over the Broncos, the defending regional champs, but not by much. No. 3 Messalonskee is tall and talented and a threat to take it all. Cony and Lewiston, who meet in the quarterfinals, are known for their speed and athleticism

WATCH OUT FOR: No. 6 Oxford Hills has one of the top players in the KVAC in senior Andrew Fleming and a strong supporting cast. The Vikings could be primed for a strong tournament

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Ian Mileikis, senior guard, Edward Little (17.7 ppg); Nick Mayo, senior center, Messalonskee (24.4 ppg); Andrew Fleming, senior forward, Oxford Hills (16.6 ppg); Nick Gilpin, senior guard, Hampden Academy (15.7 ppg)

DID YOU KNOW?: Messalonskee’s Mayo is the Player of the Year in the KVAC.


FAVORITES: No. 3 Old Town is the defending state champion. Top-ranked Medomak Valley is getting strong play from several players, while Winslow is a tough and physical team. The Panthers edged the Black Raiders 66-63 for the KVAC championship

WATCH OUT FOR: As usual, this could be one of the most competitive tournaments of the bunch. There are several teams capable of winning it all. Maine Central Institute and Mt. Desert Island got hot at the end of the year and were impressive in prelim wins. No. 7 Oceanside is playing very well.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Justin Martin, senior forward, Winslow (22.0 ppg), Nicholas DePatsy, junior forward, Medomak Valley (21.6 ppg); Nick Mazurek, junior forward, Oceanside (15.0 ppg); Eric Hoogterp, senior guard, Old Town (19.0 ppg)

DID YOU KNOW?: Medomak Valley Coach Nick DePatsy has been a head coach at three other schools. His teams have qualified for the tournament in 22 of his 25 seasons, and have been in one state final and three regional finals.