FAVORITE: There is none. Even though top-seeded McAuley has won 17 games in a row since an opening loss, the four-time defending state champs will face tough competition from a number of teams.

WATCH OUT FOR: No. 3 Gorham. The Rams lost to McAuley by 11 in December and to Deering by one in January. They have an explosive offense, led by dynamic sophomore guard Emily Esposito and sharp-shooting senior guard Abby Hamilton.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Jess Willerson, junior center, McAuley (14.0 ppg, 8.0 rebounds); Emily Esposito, sophomore guard, Gorham (17.5 ppg, 8.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 3.7 steals); Amanda Brett, sophomore forward, Deering (10.8 ppg, 7.8 rebounds); Maddie Hasson, junior guard, South Portland (16.8 ppg, 7.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists), Sadie Nelson, junior forward, Windham (17.0 ppg, 8.5 rebounds), Victoria Lux, senior center, Thornton Academy (10.1 ppg, 8.1 rebounds)

DID YOU KNOW?: McAuley is attempting to become the first team to win five consecutive Western Class A championships since Portland won six in a row from 1987-1992. The Bulldogs won one state title during that time, in 1988.


FAVORITE: It isn’t often that a No. 3 seed is regarded as the favorite, but that might be the case here. Third-seeded Greely has won nine in a row and has been very impressive. Included in that streak is a 35-point win over No. 4 York.

WATCH OUT FOR: Top-seeded Spruce Mountain. The Phoenix are the great unknown, now in the KVAC after previously playing in the MVC. Spruce Mountain, which gets contributions from six seniors, held its opponents under 45 points 15 times.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Ashley Storey, senior center, Greely (19.4 ppg, 10.4 rebounds, 3.5 steals, 4.0 blocks); Shannon Todd, junior guard, York (14 ppg, 6.7 rebounds, 4.5 assists); Maria Valente, senior guard, Gray-New Gloucester (14.4 ppg, 7.8 rebounds, 3.0 steals, 2.8 assists); Emily Keene, senior forward, Spruce Mountain (11.8 ppg, 5.5 rebounds), Montana Braxton, junior guard, Cape Elizabeth (14.2 ppg, 6.3 rebounds, 3.9 steals)

DID YOU KNOW?: Spruce Mountain has won 63 consecutive regular-season games, with an 18-0 mark in its first year in the KVAC this winter. The Phoenix advanced to the regional semifinals last year.


FAVORITE: Top-seeded Maranacook has three losses, but all were to highly ranked Class B teams – two to Spruce Mountain (No. 1 in Western B), one to Medomak Valley (No. 3 in Eastern B). Two-time KVAC Player of the Year Christine Miller leads the Black Bears.

WATCH OUT FOR: Fourth-seeded Old Orchard Beach. When the Seagulls, who lost to only one Class C team this year, get their 3-point shooting going, they are a tough team to stop. They love to force the tempo.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Christine Miller, senior center, Maranacook (16.4 ppg, 8.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists); Abby Dubois, senior forward, Old Orchard Beach (16.4 ppg, 4.5 steals); Morgan Crocker, senior guard, Boothbay (14.5 ppg, 2.5 steals); Jessica Conant, senior forward, Dirigo (15.6 ppg, 6.6 rebounds, 3.7 steals).

DID YOU KNOW?: OOB’s Abby Dubois is 37 points shy of 1,000 for her career. To ensure a chance at the milestone, the Seagulls will likely need to advance to the regional championship game, which they haven’t done in over a decade.


FAVORITE: Let’s look at No. 2 Rangeley. The Lakers typically make a deep run – they lost in the regional final to Forest Hills at the buzzer last year – and were dominant in a 17-0 regular season, averaging 65 points a game while giving up only 20.

WATCH OUT FOR: Top-seeded Pine Tree Academy. The Breakers are young and don’t have the tourney tradition of other Western Class D schools, but they can play, led by freshman Alex Goodman.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Alex Goodman, freshman guard, Pine Tree Academy (19 ppg, 5.6 assists, 5.3 steals); Taylor Esty, senior forward, Rangeley (17 ppg, 8.0 rebounds); Keely Taylor, senior guard, Forest Hills (10 ppg, 8.0 assists)

DID YOU KNOW?: Pine Tree Academy had never beaten Forest Hills before this season. The Breakers won both games against Forest Hills, 39-35 on the road and 59-31 at home.


FAVORITE: Let’s call it co-favorites. Top-seeded Bangor and No. 2 Lawrence only lost to each other, each winning at home. They have been the best teams all season.

WATCH OUT FOR: No. 3 Oxford Hills. The defending regional champs lost to Bangor by only seven and to Lawrence by nine. They are tourney-tested.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Mary Butler, senior guard, Bangor (10.0 ppg, 11.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists); Nia Irving, junior forward, Lawrence (23.4 ppg, 18.2 rebounds); Julia Champagne, senior guard, Brunswick (22.5 ppg, 8.2 rebounds, 6.4 assists); Anna Winslow, senior forward, Oxford Hills (14.4 ppg, 7.0 rebounds)

DID YOU KNOW?: Lawrence Coach John Donato got his 500th career win in December with a 76-39 victory over Brewer. He has been coaching for 38 years, with most of his success at his first stop, Houlton, where he won 261 games and four state titles. He now has 510 career wins.


FAVORITE: Mt. Desert Island isn’t seeded first without reason. The Trojans steamrolled most of their opponents and beat second-seeded Presque Isle – the recent standard bearer for Eastern B – twice, including a 24-point decision on Jan. 24.

WATCH OUT FOR: Third-seeded Medomak Valley. The Panthers allowed 36.4 points per game, and their four losses were by a total of 20 points.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Sierra Tapley, junior guard, Mt. Desert Island (16.6 ppg, 3.7 assists); Kelsey Shaw, junior forward, Mt. Desert Island (16.1 ppg, 10.3 rebounds); Hannah Graham, senior guard, Presque Isle (17 ppg, 4.0 assists); Hannah Marks, senior guard, Medomak Valley (16.6 ppg, 2.1 assists); Rachel Pease, senior forward, Camden Hills (10.0 ppg, 11.0 rebounds)

DID YOU KNOW?: It will be a family reunion of sorts when Camden Hills plays Oceanside in the quarterfinals at 10:35 a.m. Saturday. Oceanside is coached by Samantha Wiley, a former Camden Hills player. Her sister, Mya, is a freshman guard for Camden Hills.