1. Portland: The Bulldogs return six key players from last year’s AA champions, led by all-state senior guard Terion Moss. “It’s still Terion’s state,” said Massabesic Coach Chris Binette. “Terion is the king of Candyland. He decides who gets candy and who doesn’t.” A three-peat is a good bet. Portland Coach Joe Russo, who won his 400th game last season, will work to replace graduated center Charlie Lyall, who he called his “anchor.”

2. Windham: The Eagles have never won a regional title. This year’s squad has the potential to challenge Portland in AA North. Senior guards Nick Curtis and Michael Gilman both averaged more than 17 points as juniors. Overall, nine players are back from a team that knocked off No. 3 Deering and was a few close calls shy of doing the same to No. 2 Edward Little. “They know they can beat anybody,” said Windham Coach Chad Pulkkinen.

3. South Portland: The Red Riots are the pick to win a third straight AA South title. Coach Kevin Millington’s team will get up and down the court, looking for 3-pointers from Noah Malone and Connor Buckley, and quick hits to the hoop by everyone else, including the tough defensive duo of Riley Hasson and Liam Coyne. It will be interesting to see who emerges as varsity contributors from last season’s unbeaten freshman and two-loss JV teams.

4. Greely: The Rangers graduated their three top players from a 22-0 Class A championship team. Time to worry? Maybe not. Coach Travis Seaver is confident his team will again contend. Greely has four key contributors back, more than any of the other Class A South teams except Kennebunk and Westbrook. Plus, rival Falmouth has been hit by significant injuries. And, in Jack Kane and Drew Storey, Greely has two 6-foot-6 matchup problems.

5. Scarborough: The Red Storm can be the top challenger to South Portland in Class AA South because it has its top two scorers back in Nick Fiorillo and Morgan Pratt, several other varsity returners with good size and athletic ability, and added depth. Second-year coach Phil Conley also knows his team is much further ahead this year compared to last when the Red Storm started 0-10, before finishing 7-3 with a playoff win at the Expo.

6. Westbrook: The Blue Blazes have nine players back from a 13-6 team, including SMAA leading returning scorer Zac Manoogian, team leader Landon Sjoberg and junior point guard Kyle Champagne. They also have some good size on the bench and rebound well as a team. Taking the next step will require more consistency, said Coach Dan LeGage, as well as avoiding in-game and in-season lulls that cropped up at times last season.


7. Kennebunk: The Rams could be the Class A South sleeper. With a lineup loaded with underclassmen, they went 8-12 and won a preliminary playoff game. Now, juniors Cam Lovejoy (15.4 ppg), Zack Sullivan and Tripp Bush – each a three-year starter – are known commodities, no longer able to sneak up on an unsuspecting foe. Overall, this is a team of shooters and sophomore Max Murray, hurt early last season, could be another top scoring threat.

8. Oceanside: The Mariners return nine players – seven who saw regular minutes – from their Class A North runner-up squad, and now the team is playing in Class B. Athletic 6-foot-2 senior slasher Michael Norton Jr., and 6-4 junior Cooper Wirkala were also contributors on the 2016 Class A North championship team. Oceanside should battle last year’s No. 1 seed, Hermon, and reigning state champ MDI for supremacy in the region.

9. Yarmouth: The Clippers went 18-3 and reached the regional final last season. Look for 6-foot-7 Nolan Hagerty, an all-around contributor, to expand his offensive game with the graduation of Alek Medenica, last season’s offensive focal point. In the backcourt, rebounding machine Noah Eckersley-Ray and speedy point guard Jonny Torres also return. Old rival Cape Elizabeth moves from A to B, so mark Jan. 9 (at Cape) and Jan. 23 as key dates.

10. Waynflete: Six games against quality Class B teams could dent the Flyers’ record and Heal point rankings but not their Class C contender credibility. Coach Rich Henry has unprecedented depth. Dynamic sophomore point guard Askar Houssein, 6-foot-3 senior captain Christian Brooks, and Alex Saade are returning starters and up to seven others will see significant time, including skilled, strong 6-4 freshmen Dominick Campbell and Jared Johnson.

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