State championship weekend gets under way at 7 p.m. Friday with the Class B girls’ title game in Bangor. By the time the last net is cut down Saturday night, five girls’ champions will be crowned.

Here’s a look at some of the championship teams and matchups.


vs. Edward Little, 6 p.m. Saturday

Coach Laughn Berthiaume was putting his team through the progression drill at practice Tuesday and Kaylea Lundin couldn’t have been happier. The drill starts out as a two-on-one fast break, then evolves into a three-on-two, then a four-on-three and so on.

“I love that drill. It’s my favorite one we do,” said Lundin, the Rams’ 5-foor-2 junior point guard. “It’s to practice fast breaks and to get out. I love running.”

And Berthiaume loves to get Lundin running. On a team that includes star players such as junior guard Emily Esposito and freshman center Mckenzie Holmes – both first-team SMAA picks – Lundin is the table-setter.

“She does it all,” said Berthiaume. “She rebounds great for her size. She’s on the (SMAA) all-defensive team. She comes to practice and genuinely has fun every day.”

And she runs. “She has an extra gear that other players don’t,” said Berthiaume. “When she goes end-to-end with the basketball, she’s faster than most kids just sprinting.”

Lundin showed that extra gear in the regional final against South Portland when she grabbed a defensive rebound and sprinted down the court for a scooping layup that resulted in a three-point play. She scored all eight of her points in the decisive fourth quarter.

Craig Jipson, the Edward Little coach, knows what to expect. “They are by far the best AA team this year,” he said. “They have three kids who, from what I’ve heard, are getting Division I offers. And I love their point guard. She makes them go.”

Lundin credits senior guard Emily Bragg with helping her. The two are matched up every day in practice and Bragg “makes it very difficult for me,” said Lundin. “She’s stronger than I am and has always given me great competition.”

Bragg said Lundin’s speed has helped her game. “She can run up and down the court for hours,” said Bragg. “Chasing her in practice is a pain.”

But matchups like that have helped the Rams this year. “We have a lot of good matchups in practice,” said Berthiaume. “It’s fun to do competitive drills and see how far they can push each other.”

Edward Little is playing in its first championship game and Gorham in its first since 2000, when it was in Class B.

The Rams are also unbeaten, which adds a little drama.

“There’s a lot of pressure,” said Bragg. “Everyone is just expecting you to win. Because we haven’t lost, they think there’s no chance you lose. That puts a lot of weight on your shoulders.”

Added Berthiaume, “If you had asked me at the beginning of the season if being undefeated meant something, I would have said no. Winning the last game is the goal. At this point it means both.”


vs. Lawrence, 1 p.m. Saturday

There is the misconception that York is a two-player team – seniors Shannon Todd and Chloe Smedley. It’s easy to believe because the two were semifinalists for the Miss Maine Basketball award, and Todd – who’s heading to play at Northeastern University in Boston – is one of the three finalists.

But the Wildcats never have relied on just Todd and Smedley. They are the team’s two leading scorers – Todd at 16.6 points, Smedley at 13.4 – but York brings a 21-0 record into the state championship game because everyone has contributed at some point.

“It’s been happening every game throughout the season,” said Todd, who also averaged 7.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.4 steals. “It doesn’t have to be me or Chloe or even one of other starters. It can be Emma (Thomson) off the bench, or Morgan (Chapman). It’s been fun to play like that. Everyone is working together and pushing each other.”

Look at Saturday’s regional final against Greely. York was led by senior forward Mia Briggs, who averages 10.1 points but scored 21 against the Rangers. And Madigan Cogger (5.3 points) scored 13. Todd and Smedley? 12 and 11 each.

“Since Day One I told the girls this had to be a team effort and that everyone had to contribute whatever they can whenever they were asked,” said Rick Clark, who is coaching his final game, retiring after leading the Wildcats for the last 34 winters. “And that’s what has got us to where we are. Everyone has done it from the start.”

Eleven players returned from a team that suffered a disappointing quarterfinal loss a year ago. Five of those are seniors who have been on the varsity since their freshman year. They know that they share their last game with Clark.

“We’re in it together,” said Todd. “(Clark) has done a good job with making the season about us and not him. He knows what it means to us.”

Clark, who has 508 career wins, has tried not to think about this being his last game.

“It hasn’t been very hard (not to think about it),” he said. “We’ve been busy with tournament week, then this. After the fact, win or lose, it will probably hit me a little more.”

For now he’s looking forward to a matchup of two unbeaten giants. Lawrence, the defending Class A champion, is coached by John Donato, who has 532 career wins.

“I hope it’s a good game,” said Clark. “I hope we give the people of York and the people of Fairfield what they want. We’ve been looking at this for the entire season.”


vs. York, 1 p.m. Saturday

Let’s start with Nia Irving. She’s a four-time KVAC leading scorer, leading rebounder and player of the year. She’s going on to play at Boston University. And at 6-foot-1, the senior center is as close to an unstoppable inside player the state has, averaging 25.8 points and 21 rebounds.

Then add Dominique Lewis, a senior point guard who surpassed 1,000 points this year while averaging 15.4 points and handing out 6.8 assists.

Those two were the foundation from last year’s Class A state championship team, when the Bulldogs were playing in Maine’s largest school classification. Coach John Donato, who is in his 39th season, restructured his team this year to reflect losing three starters.

“Last year we were huge. We had Nia and two girls who were bigger than Nia,” said Donato. “This year we have a different style, a different makeup. This year it’s Nia and a lot of little guards around her.”

Lawrence, which has won 35 consecutive games, has only one other player listed at 5-foot-9. But the results are the same. Lawrence outscored opponents by an average of 29.7 points, relying on Irving inside and some deadly 3-point shooting. Lewis hit 53 in the regular season, sophomore guard Camryn Caldwell 31 and sophomore forward Hunter Mercier 16. Mercier hit five consecutive 3-pointers in the regional championship game this year.

“When teams start sagging and clogging the middle against Nia, it makes it easier to shoot from the outside,” said Donato. “When everything is doubled and tripled inside, that leaves people open outside. You’ve got to take away something and when you try to take away Nia, we’re fortunate to have some good outside shooters.”

Donato said his guards will play an important role in Saturday’s title game. York has several players who have the ability to play inside or outside.

“We know their guards are good,” he said. “Dominique has been steady for us for four years. She’s a gamer who steps up in big games. And against this team, we need her to step up. When you know their guards are good, Dominique and our guards have to come to play.”

Donato is certainly looking forward to the matchup of unbeaten teams.

“You couldn’t ask for a better spotlight,” he said. “You’ve got the two best teams playing each other.”


vs. Houlton, 7 p.m. Friday

Coach Mike Andreasen returned four starters from a team that lost only two games in 2014-15. But no one ever mentioned the Patriots as a team to beat this year.

“People didn’t look at us because we lost (all-state selection Maria) Valente,” he said. “So we said that’s fine. We don’t need people to publicly affirm us. We just needed to believe in ourselves. And we have all along.”

Gray-New Gloucester is playing for its first Class B state championship since 2002, when it lost the second of back-to-back title games to Mt. Desert Island.

Their opponent at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor is Houlton, which won the Class C state title last year.

The Patriots are the ultimate underdog team, with no star power to speak of, but players who understand their roles and like playing together. The seven players in Gray-New Gloucester’s rotation average between 5.2 and 10.8 points “I think we’re tough to plan for,” said Andreasen. “We ourselves don’t know who’s going to step up from game to game.”

One game it’s going to be junior center Skye Conley (10.8 points, 7.5 rebounds). The next it might be junior guard Alica Dumont (7.2 points – but scored 18 in the regional semifinals against Lake Region while playing with a torn meniscus). Or it might be senior center Alanna Camerl (6.4 points, 5.4 rebounds – after missing three-quarters of the season with a broken wrist). The list goes on.

“We feel we have seven starters,” said Andreasen. “It’s a question of which ones.”

Houlton comes in with one of the state’s best players in 5-10 sophomore Kolleen Bouchard, who averages 20.8 points and nine rebounds. But like the Patriots, the Shiretowners get contributions from many players. Sophomore forward Aspen Flewelling averaged 11.7 points and senior guard Natalie Hill averages 11.6.

“We are very versatile,” said Houlton Coach Shawn Graham. “And the girls have a lot of confidence in each other.”

Andreasen likes the fact that his team is healthy, or as healthy as it’s been in a while. They’ve lost just one game – at unbeaten York, 50-43 – since Camerl and Dumont returned to the lineup, winning seven straight.

And now they’re playing for a title.

“The kids are focused and grounded,” said Andreasen. “And I think that’s good. I asked them the other day if they wanted to decorate the bus (for the trip to Bangor). They couldn’t care less about that. It’s almost like they’re not high school kids in that manner. I mean, what high school kids wouldn’t want to decorate their bus?

“But I think we’ll compete well in Bangor. If Houlton beats us, it will take a good effort by them. And if we win, it will take a good Gray-New Gloucester effort. That’s how it should be.”


vs. Narraguagus, 7 p.m. Saturday

The Boothbay Region girls’ basketball team (20-1) is intimately aware the last time the Seahawks won a Class C championship was 1984.

That’s because two key Seahawks are daughters of players from the ’84 squad. Lauren (Webster) Brown, mother of sophomore Page Brown, and Lesley (Carter) Blethen, mother of freshman standout Faith Blethen, were both part of the regular rotation for the Gold Ball winning team 32 years ago.

If the familial connection wasn’t clear to the rest of the team it was emphasized last year when a 30th reunion was held for the 1984 squad, which the current Boothbay team attended and Coach Tanner Grover helped organize.

“I think it certainly inspired them on some level,” said Grover, Boothbay’s fourth-year coach. “We had some returning players and Faith was there as an eighth-grader because her mother was there. But it’s a balance for this team between looking back and living in the moment. I wouldn’t say we’re trying to follow in their footsteps. We’re trying to make our own history now.”

Lesley Blethen, now the postmaster in Boothbay Harbor, agrees.

“It is pretty cool that Lauren and I were on the last championship team and now both of our daughters are experiencing this again,” she said. “We honestly don’t talk about our team a lot. It’s their experience. It’s neat for them that their moms played on that team but you still want it to be about them and their journey.”

Still, the connections are hard not to notice.

Back in 1984, Lauren Webster was named the regional tournament’s outstanding player. Last Saturday her daughter Page was named the Class C South outstanding player after her 19-point effort in the regional final against Madison. Lauren Brown, an elementary physical education teacher, is a former varsity coach at Boothbay. She and Lesley Blethen have both coached youth travel teams.

The Boothbay-Brown-Blethen connection could have a long shelf life. Not only do Page Brown and Faith Blethen have two more seasons together, they both have basketball-playing seventh-grade sisters.