We’re on the verge of state championship weekend and for the first time, Maine high school basketball teams will compete for titles in five classes instead of four. Here’s a look at the southern Maine boys’ teams who will compete for a Gold Ball.

South Portland vs. Portland, Saturday, 9 p.m.

South Portland, which meets Portland for the Class AA championship Saturday night, entered the South regional as a 9-9 afterthought. But the Red Riots looked sharp in dispatching overmatched Sanford, taking down No. 1 Thornton Academy in an ugly slugfest in the semifinal, and surprising No. 3 Massabesic by matching the Mustangs’ athleticism and avoiding second-half turnovers.

Senior forward Jack Fiorini has been strong in every tournament game. He’s used his 6-foot-6 frame to alter shots on defense and rebound well. Fiorini has shot well from a variety of spots. Ruay Bol dominated in the second half against Massabesic with 22 points, finishing at the rim better than he has all season, according to Coach Kevin Millington.

But the real key may have been how sound guards Sam DePaolo and Deandre White were down the stretch with their ballhandling – and how well the rest of the team did small things like make hard cuts and come to the ball with strong hands – to cut down on turnovers.

DePaolo isn’t likely to light up the scoreboard (he has 10 points in three tourney games). But if he can put together another zero-turnover second half like he did against Massabesic’s long-armed double-teams, then the Red Riots should get enough shot opportunities for Fiorini, Bol and burly Jordin Jackson around the rim.

“When they’re going to the rim, they’re so big and athletic, they’re tough,” Millington said.

Based on regular-season meetings, Portland should cruise. The Bulldogs beat South Portland 75-56 in the season opener and 68-38 late in the season at South Portland.

But the Red Riots already have avenged a 10-point loss to Thornton and a 17-point loss to Massabesic.

“We talked all the time that it didn’t really matter what happened in the regular season,” Millington said. “Because of this realignment, we knew we were in the playoffs from day one. It was about playing our best basketball. We aren’t happy with the 9-9. We’ll never look back and be happy with the 9-9 record but we knew we were this close. Obviously we have a daunting task ahead of us but our attitude has always been if we’re going to win a state championship, we have to beat Portland.”

Portland vs. South Portland, 9 p.m. Saturday

When Griffin Foley is asked about his role for Portland High, it takes a few seconds for him to answer, searching for the right words.

“I shoot open shots when I get them, I distribute the ball, I rebound a little bit,” he said. “I do whatever I have to do, whatever the coach asks me to do.”

And that’s quite a bit. On a team with star players like seniors Amir Moss and Joe Esposito, and sophomore Terion Moss, the 6-foot-2 sophomore Foley is important in many ways.

“Mentally he’s a tremendous player,” said Coach Joe Russo. “He knows how to play the game, he knows every position. He knows all the plays, offense and defense. He’s a very intelligent player.

“He just has a lot of savvy. He’s a calming factor on the court for us. Things run smoothly when he’s in the game.”

Russo loves his consistency. Foley averaged 9.4 points per game (fourth on the team) along with 3.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.1 steals. He hit 48 percent of his shots, 36 percent of his 3-pointers.

“You have to have a player like that, someone who understands their role but has the skill to chip in when needed,” said Russo.

Russo gives Foley an assignment each game. Sometimes it’s simply to get three rebounds. Sometimes it’s to cover a team’s hot shooter, which Foley did when he covered Malik White of Deering in Portland’s 70-39 win in the Class AA North championship game. “That was my defensive challenge of the year,” said Foley. White scored eight points after getting 23 in the Rams’ semifinal win.

On Saturday, Foley’s assignment will be covering South Portland’s 6-4 Matt Pelletier, something Foley did twice in the regular season.

Foley played sparingly as a freshman and was ready to take on an expanded role this year. He started during summer league games and Russo told him to expect more playing time. “I was ready for it,” he said.

And whatever he’s asked to do, Foley is ready to do it.

“I just go out and play,” he said. “I love basketball and it’s normal to just come out and play the game.

Falmouth vs. Oceanside, 3 p.m. Saturday

Does Falmouth’s title account have more than two Coynes?

In a word, yes, said veteran coach Dave Halligan.

Halligan and his coaching staff knew Falmouth could be a good team and win a lot of games with Thomas and Colin Coyne doing the scoring. To be a championship team it would need to develop a third and fourth option to the offense.

“That’s the gist of it,” said Halligan, whose team meets Oceanside for the Class A championship Saturday.

The ball will still be dominated by Mr. Maine Basketball finalist Thomas and his junior brother Colin. And why not? In their first full season starting together, the pair seamlessly share both the distribution and scoring roles, and combined for 84 points in Falmouth’s three regional wins, including 37 in the convincing 58-44 final against Brunswick.

There is little doubt the Coyne brothers are the primary reason Falmouth is back in Saturday’s title game.

But to focus too much on the Coynes is to forget about the development of senior Sam Skop around the basket and Sean Walsh as a scoring threat.

“Everybody knows about the Coyne brothers and we’ve progressed as a team where other players are stepping up,” Halligan said. “We’ve reached this point now becuase we’ve shared the ball.”

Skop was told in the preseason he would have to expand his role. Instead of being “satisfied with getting rebounds,” as Halligan put it, Skop would need to get more involved. He’s scored 15, 11 and nine points in the three playoff wins.

For Walsh, a 6-foot-6 junior, the adjustment process involved a midseason trip to the junior varsity. Halligan said it was a decision met with approval by both coaches and Walsh. “We needed another scorer, and he needed to work on his shot and work on taking his shot, and most of it was just his confidence.”

Walsh opened the tournament with 13 points and three 3-pointers against Westbrook. He added seven points with two 3-pointers against Brunswick.

If Skop and Walsh continue to contribute 15 to 20 points and the Coynes do their regular thing, Falmouth could be adding a Class A gold ball to go with its 2010 and 2013 Class B versions.

Oceanside vs. Falmouth, 3 p.m. Saturday

Coach Matt Breen looked at his club in preseason and saw lots of talented perimeter players, and a good-shooting, better-passing point guard in Keenan Hendricks who could get them all the ball.

“We didn’t have a lot of size and what size we had could spread the floor,” Breen said.

The edict was issued. Oceanside would look for the 3-pointer.

In the playoffs another proclamation was made. Oceanside would make a lot of 3-pointers when it counted. As in a Class A regional record of 30, tying the record for a regional in any class.

What makes the strategy tough to defend is the number of good shooters and Hendricks’ passing (nine assists per game).

All five starters made at least one 3-pointer in each regional game. Sam Atwood had the most with 10 and Hendricks stroked seven, with Nate Raye making six.

Breen said the vast majority of his team’s 3-pointers have fit into the “good shot” category.

“I would describe a good 3-pointer as one where the shooter is standing straight up, and he’s catching and shooting, and where we can draw the defense and kick for a wide-open shot,” Breen said.

“We did hit a couple that were contested but for the most part the kids did a good job moving the ball and no one was selfish.”

The perimeter effectiveness also has improved with the return of the Mariners’ one true inside threat, three-year starter Nick Mazurek, a senior.

Mazurek missed 10 games in the middle of the season with a stress fracture in his foot. All five of Oceanside’s losses came without Mazurek.

“We have to go to the post just to keep (defenses) honest,” Breen said. “Having Nick back was huge for us and having him go down with injury was also big for us because we’ve had kids develop who have given us quality minutes in the playoffs”

Lake Region vs. Ellsworth, 8:45 p.m. Friday

For the 11 returning varsity players, the path to this year’s Class B state championship game against Ellsworth began with a crushing loss to Cape Elizabeth in last year’s regional final.

Lake Region led that 2015 see-saw contest with a bit more than five minutes to play only to see Cape Elizabeth go on an 11-0 run fueled by the Lakers’ turnovers.

Led by senior captains Nate Smith and Jack Lesure, Lake Region cleansed that memory with Saturday’s convincing 53-43 win against Yarmouth. Smith scored 17 points to lead the team, Lesure added 14 and was named the regional’s outstanding player.

It had been 31 seasons since Lake Region’s last regional title, won by the 1985 state championship team.

“There have been a couple teams that have come close in that time,” Lesure said. “Even last year we got to the Western Maine final, but to be able to go to the state championship game is something where I can’t even explain how I’m feeling.”

“This has been their focus and their work ethic for the last four or five years,” said Coach John Mayo. “This is what they’ve wanted to do. They’re a pretty relentless group and you know, in close games, we’ve seemed to come out on the better side of it. It’s been like that all year.”

In the South regional, the Lakers had a 55-26 scoring advantage in the fourth quarter, winning each by at least seven points.

“At halftime we talked about that,” Lesure said. “We just said hey, we’re the number one (seed) for a reason and we just have to trust what we do. We’ve got to grind and do whatever we can. Nate and I were talking. There was no way we wanted to hold up another runner-up trophy.”

Waynflete vs. George Stevens Academy, 8:45 p.m. Saturday

Coach Rich Henry talked about 6-foot-1 senior guard/forward Milo Belleau’s physical attributes (eleveates well, left-handed, good shot), his improved defense, his ability to stay out of foul trouble and his smart, unselfish play.

“He influences the game when it’s time,” said Henry, whose Flyers will meet George Stevens Academy for the Class C title Saturday.

In the regular season, Belleau hit a shot at the buzzer to secure a Senior Night win against Traip Academy. He scored six points in less than 1:30 to win a game at Class B Fryeburg Academy. Perhaps most impressive was when he scored five points in 30-second span to upset Class A Falmouth.

“We ran the out-of-bounds play for him and he hit the game-winning shot, and he’s done that three or four times for us,” Henry said. “He knows that’s going to be the time for him to do something.”

Belleau’s propensity for late-game heroics have led to the phrase “Milo’s Magic” catching on in the Waynflete community. It also has a calming, comforting effect on the team if they trail late.

“Comfort isn’t quite the right word but we don’t get (mentally) down,” Henry said.

Waynflete was tested by its schedule, which included 10 games against Class B teams (its only losses are to B South finalists Lake Region and Yarmouth) and the win against Class A Falmouth.

“They’re a good team and they made us pay for it,” Falmouth’s Halligan said. “Waynflete is very athletic. They’ve got a big kid in the middle and Milo Belleau is a big-time player.”

Four Flyers also saw significant playing time in the 58-56 state championship loss to Houlton in 2014. Belleau and point guard Abel Alemayo started, defensive stopper and consistent scorer Will Nelligan was the first player off the bench, and sixth-man Willy Burdick was another reserve. Center Yai Deng didn’t play but was on the bench as a freshman.