AUGUSTA — Expanding high school basketball in Maine to five enrollment classes was discussed for several years before it became a reality last month.

On Friday, the basketball committees that run the postseason tournaments in Portland, Augusta and Bangor met at the Maine Principals’ Association’s headquarters to squeeze an extra class into next February’s schedule.

“This is the culmination of 18 months of work,” said Thornton Academy Athletic Director Gary Stevens, the chairman of the regional tournament in Portland.

The 12-member group decided on locations for the new regionals, placing Class AA South in Portland and Class AA North in Augusta.

February school vacation is traditionally tournament week. That won’t change, but now the quarterfinals will start two days earlier in Portland and Augusta, on the Wednesday before vacation week. Both Portland and Augusta will host 10 more games than in the past.

State championships for all five classes will be held the weekend after the regional finals.

“The tradition of having regional tournaments is part of high school basketball. I think one of the biggest questions going into the meeting was where the Class AA North tournament would be played,” Stevens said.

While that class includes Bangor, Lewiston, Edward Little and Oxford Hills – which have played at the Augusta Civic Center as part of the Eastern Class A tournament – it also includes SMAA schools that have played their tournament games in Portland – Deering, Portland, Cheverus and Windham.

Stevens said the decision to play the Class AA South regional at the Portland Expo and Cross Insurance Arena was a “no-brainer.”

Portland will also still host Class A and B South regionals. The total number of games will increase from 28 to 38.

The Augusta Civic Center will host Class AA North, Class A North and Class C and D South, resulting in an increase from 42 to 52 games. The Cross Insurance Center in Bangor will host Class B, C and D North and will have 42 games, the same as this year.

“We’re going to keep things as they are,” said Jim Frost, the Bangor tournament chairman.

In Portland, the quarterfinals will still be played at the Expo before the tournament moves to CIA for the semifinals and finals. The tournament will start on Wednesday, Feb. 10, with two Class AA South quarterfinals. Two more Class AA South quarterfinals will be played the next evening. It’s yet to be determined which days will feature boys’ or girls’ games.

“It makes very good sense to start the tournament early,” said Gary Groves, the Portland tournament site director. “We still have some things to work out, but will we do that at a later date.”

The regional finals will be Feb. 19 and 20.

Class AA North quarterfinals will also start Feb. 10. There will be no preliminary round games in Class AA, as only six teams will make the tournament in each region.

The state finals will be played Feb. 26 and 27. The 2016 sites will be Class AA and A in Portland, Class C and D in Augusta and Class B in Bangor. The exact dates for each class will be determined later.

The 2017 championship game sites will be Class AA and A in Augusta, Class B in Portland and Class C and D in Bangor.

Snow storms and the possibility of rescheduling games is often a factor during tournament week, as it was last February. Stevens said the Expo will be made available after the quarterfinals if a second site is needed to complete the Portland schedule.

The subject of holding the Class AA tournament a week later was brought up, but it didn’t gain any support – in part because arena availability would be an issue.