The Wells High School boys basketball team celebrates with the Class B South regional championship last weekend. The Warriors will look to add a Gold Ball to their trophy case when they face Hermon tonight in the state finals. ALEX SPONSELLER/Journal Tribune

The Wells High School boys basketball team celebrates with the Class B South regional championship last weekend. The Warriors will look to add a Gold Ball to their trophy case when they face Hermon tonight in the state finals. ALEX SPONSELLER/Journal Tribune

BANGOR — For the second year in a row, the Wells boys basketball team will head north to compete for a Gold Ball in the Class B State Championship this evening against northern champ Hermon.

Wells lost to Mount Desert Island in last year’s title game, and will enter Friday’s tilt as the underdog against the undefeated Hawks.

Although it is a daunting matchup, the Warriors are relaxed and poised as they head to Bangor.

“Mentally we’re fine, these guys are as loose as it gets,” said Wells coach Troy Brown. “We know that we’re the underdog, we know that we’re going away from home to play a very good basketball team, a well-coached basketball team. We’re hoping to keep the tempo down, if it’s up-tempo we know it won’t be in our favor, we hope that we can keep it close for three quarters then see what happens.”

Senior Christian Saulnier is confident in the group as well, and feels that the Warriors have embraced the challenge of being the underdog.

“We feel good — we’re the underdogs and I think people are doubting us. I think our work ethic is going to put us on top and our defense especially. It’s a different group this year, a different bunch of guys, but we’re all really confident and everyone has confidence in themselves and this team.”

“We just need to play our game. Everyone thinks that (Hermon) is going to win so the pressure is on them. We just need to come out and play our game, I think we can win,” added Cam Cousins.

The Warriors have had their share of adversity to battle through this season, as they lost all five of last year’s starters and had three other key members step away from the team throughout the season.

Now a starter, Saulnier feels that last year helped prepare the new stars for a deep postseason run this year.

“We pushed (last year’s starters) in practice every day last year. We made each other better and we felt ready for this season,” said Saulnier. “The biggest key is going to be our defense. The more we control the pace the better off we will be shutting them down and taking out their big guys. We need to get hands on their shooters, too.”

Brown feels that coming up short last year has provided motivation for this year’s club.

“I’ve got four seniors plus Matt (Sherburne) and Tyler (Bridge) who felt it. I don’t think they’re putting any undue pressure on themselves but they want to get that feeling of what it’s like to bring home the Gold Ball. What we need to remember as coaches is that even if we don’t win, we need to remember the season that we did have and what we did accomplish,” said Brown.

The Wells football team won its second consecutive title in the fall, as well as the wrestling team just a few weeks ago. With their second straight title appearance the Warriors are excited to also be in that elite company.

“It’s a competition and it makes us more competitive. We want to reach the goals that they’re reaching, our program wants to reach goals,” said Brown. “Guys like Cam, Matt and Tyler, they’re looking forward to kind of getting out from under the shadow of last year … to let people know that they can play too.”

“It’s good for everyone, especially with those guys in wrestling. It’s a good time of year, everyone is going to their championships and it gives the young guys confidence knowing that they can get to where they want to if they push themselves hard,” added Saulnier.

Cousins, along with the other three seniors on the team, looks forward to ending his high school career with another shot at a title, and will miss playing for the Warrior community.

“It’s crazy, it’s awesome. I’m going to miss everyone, we’re just so close together and we’re such a big family,” said Cousins. “We want to win. Our program is doing good and we’re competitive. We lost last year and that gave us a chip on our shoulder for this year. We want to win.”

Associate Sports Editor Alex Sponseller can be reached at [email protected] or at 282-1535 ext. 323. Follow the Journal Tribune Sports Department on Twitter @JournalTsports.


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