Thursday, April 24, 2014
Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer
Dustin Cole is averaging more than 28 points per game for Bonny Eagle, one of several could-win-it-all teams in a balanced Western Class A.
WESTERN CLASS A
South Portland's Tanner Hyland
Wells' Jake Moody
FAVORITES: As in most tournaments, the teams at the top have the edge, but if you're looking for a clear favorite, you're out of luck. The top four -- South Portland, Deering, Bonny Eagle and Portland -- have had their moments. They have the potential to get hot and win the regional title. South Portland was playing the best until being upset by Cheverus, which didn't make the tournament. The Riots, Rams and the Bulldogs all went 1-1 against one another in the regular season. The Scots beat Deering but lost to South Portland and Portland in close games. "Anyone in the tournament has a shot," said Deering Coach Dan LeGage. "There's enough parity that if any of the top teams play poorly, they won't survive."
WATCH OUT FOR: No. 6 Scarborough has played the leaders tough except for South Portland -- a 76-55 loss Jan. 2. Thornton Academy has won 10 of 12, including a 50-37 win over No. 10 Windham in a prelim Tuesday. The Trojans also beat Portland 64-52 on Jan. 18. Westbrook has beaten Bonny Eagle and Portland.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Dustin Cole, junior, guard, Bonny Eagle (28.3 ppg, 5.8 apg); Tanner Hyland, senior, guard, South Portland (19.7 ppg, 5.8 apg); Labson Abwoch, senior, center, Deering (15.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg); Matt Talbot, junior, center, Portland (10.8 ppg, 9.8 rpg); Ryan Camire, senior, forward, Sanford (23.1 ppg., 5.3 rpg)
DID YOU KNOW: Four tourney coaches have won at least one state title. Tony DiBiase of Scarborough has won at Gorham (Class B), Portland and South Portland. Joe Russo of Portland and Dan LeGage of Deering have two titles apiece, and Bob Davies of Thornton has one.
EASTERN CLASS A
FAVORITES: Top-ranked Hampden Academy, with two starters from the club that lost in the state final, is the team to beat. Hampden and No. 2 Edward Little haven't met. Lawrence, not far behind the top two, plays strong defense and can shoot.
WATCH OUT FOR: Brunswick, a strong sixth seed, playx Lawrence in a Saturday afternoon quarterfinal. Lewiston could be a spoiler but lost its top player to a knee injury. No. 7 Messalonskee is peaking at the right time.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Zach Gilpin, junior, forward, Hampden (16.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg); Spencer Carey, senior, forward, Lawrence (16.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg); Blake Gordon, junior, guard, Brunswick (14.2 ppg, 4.9 rpg); Quin Leary, senior, forward, Edward Little (14 ppg., 9.0 rpg); Sean Ford, senior, forward, Edward Little (17.0 ppg. 9.0 rpg)
DID YOU KNOW: Lawrence Coach Mike McGee has 348 wins in 28 seasons with the Bulldogs.
WESTERN CLASS B
FAVORITES: Falmouth and York, ranked Nos. 1 and 2, are favored to reach the final. Who knows what will happen if that scenario plays out? They split during the regular season, each winning big at home. York Coach Randy Small and Falmouth Coach Dave Halligan will tell their players not to overlook any team, but the fact of the matter is that if either Falmouth or York don't win the tournament, it would be a major surprise.
WATCH OUT FOR: No. 3 Cape Elizabeth has a history of playing well in the tournament. No. 7 Greely is playing the best it has all season and the Rangers were considered one of the top teams in preseason. No. 6 Wells has two scorers in Jake Moody and Dylan Stevens who can put up the points.
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