Greely (21-0) vs. Hampden Academy (20-1)

When: 8 p.m. Thursday

Where: Cross Insurance Arena, Portland

How they got here: Greely, seeded first in the South, defeated Fryeburg Academy (68-53), Falmouth (49-47) and Westbrook (60-50) in the regional tournament; Hampden, seeded first in the North, beat Brewer (48-40), Cony (58-43) and Medomak Valley (43-21)

Key players: Greely – Zach Brown, jr., G (15 points per game, 5.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 2.6 steals) Jack Kane, sr., C (10.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.7 blocks); Shane DeWolfe, sr., G (7.3 points, 4.3 assists, 2.7 rebounds); Hampden – Ian McIntyre, sr., C (18 points, 9 rebounds); Bryce Lausier, soph., PG; (11 points, 3.5 assists), John Wolfington, sr., G (10 points, 4.5 assists).

What Greely has to do to win: The defending champion Rangers have won 43 straight games. To cap a second straight unbeaten season, the Rangers will need to continue to get balanced scoring. Kane, at 6-foot-8, is a first-year starter who has made huge strides. He must make his presence felt against McIntyre, a four-year starter and Mr. Maine Basketball finalist, at both ends of the court. If Kane can score inside, that opens up Brown to slash to the basket and sophomore Logan Bagshaw (12 points per game, 52 3-pointers) and junior Andrew Storey (9 points) for perimeter looks. DeWolfe directs an offense that limits turnovers and works for top-notch shots. The Rangers’ defensive task won’t be easy, as Hampden has balanced scoring and multiple 3-point threats. Greely needs to improve its rebounding. Westbrook had a 24-15 edge (9-3 offensive rebounds). Hampden, a much better offensive team, can’t be given similar extra chances.

What Hampden Academy has to do to win: Coach Russ Bartlett is no stranger to state title games. He’s 3-3 in his 15 years at Hampden and took the Broncos to four straight Class A finals from 2012-15, beating both South Portland (2013) and Portland (2015). McIntyre, at 6-5, has more than 1,000 career points and 500 rebounds, but hasn’t played against anyone as tall and strong as Kane this season. He’ll need to increase his playoff scoring average (9.7 points). If he can force Greely to give Kane some help, that’ll create openings for Wolfington, Lausier, Kory Winch (11 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists) and Tommy Raye (36 3-pointers). Winch, an all-around player similar to Greely’s Brown, has scored 30 points in the last two games. Hampden will likely need to keep the Rangers under 60 points to have a reasonable chance.

– Steve Craig

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