1. Scarborough: As Gorham Coach Mark Karter put it, “Scarborough has the best player in the league (6-foot-7 Nick Fiorillo) and that’s a good place to start.” The defending Class AA South champs graduated some key players, but among returners, Brian Austin was one of the SMAA’s most accurate 3-point shooters (46 percent), and Paul Kirk and Tyler Gobeil are varsity veterans.

2. Falmouth: Added depth could give Falmouth a slight edge over Greely in Class A South. Junior Michael Simonds is back from injury (“He can shoot it and he makes the players around him better,” said Coach Dave Halligan). Point guard Nicco Pitre and 6-7 Nik Hester, Sam Manganello, Brady Douglas and 6-5 center Doug Cooke gained critical experience when the team was crushed by injuries last year.

3. South Portland: The Red Riots graduated four starters who accounted for 77.7 percent of the scoring. So why is Kevin Millington’s team rated so highly? Because it figures to be the deepest squad in the league, very athletic and able to play both big and fast. Scott Lewis, at 6-7, is a force ready to emerge, Millington said, and also one of the team’s best shooters.

4. Greely: The Rangers have won 44 straight games and back-to-back Class A titles and return three starters – All-State senior guard/forward Zach Brown, senior forward Andrew Storey and junior guard Logan Bagshaw. The 6-6 Storey has shown “tremendous” improvement over the past nine months, according to Coach Travis Seaver.

5. Deering: This could be the year for the Rams to rise in AA North, if they cut down on turnovers (16.3 per game). Ben Onek is a 6-foot-5 force who can finish in traffic and drain 3-pointers. Much will depend on the continued maturation of the junior class, including three-year varsity point guard Darryl Germain. They took their lumps last year, going 8-11, but gained valuable experience.

6. Portland: Seniors Trey Ballew, Pedro Fonseca and Simon Chadbourne form a strong core, but with seven varsity newcomers, Coach Joe Russo expects it will take time for his team to jell. “By the end of the year we could be a spoiler,” Russo said. Other coaches aren’t buying that prognosis. “I think Portland is the team to beat,” Millington said.


7. Thornton Academy: Expect the Trojans to contend for the AA South title after an atypical 8-11 season. Payton Jones, a 6-1 sophomore, has already shown the type of all-around game that makes him difficult to shut down and figures to improve on his 10.1 scoring average. Point guard Anthony Bracamonte and center Will Chapman provide senior leadership.

8. Medomak Valley: The Panthers are looking to build on their surprise run to the A North final with a mix of returners and newcomers. Gabe Allaire is a hard-working, 6-3 junior forward who is a consistent scorer and strong rebounder. He and seniors Ryan Creamer (guard) and Alec Coughlin (6-5 forward) led a group that put in considerable time over the summer.

9. Wells: The Warriors’ regular-season record might not glitter, but the two-time Class B South champs will be ready for the postseason. Led by seniors Matt Sherburne, Tyler Bridge and Dylan Whitney, Coach Troy Brown’s squad has better depth. “My 10 guys can all play,” Brown said. He hopes that depth also translates into a more aggressive, less post-centric offense.

10. Waynflete: Junior guards Diraige Dahia (14.2 ppg, 55 3-pointers) and Askar Houssein (12.6 ppg, 4.8 assists, 3.7 steals) return after leading last season’s team in scoring. Sophomore Dominick Campbell should provide an inside scoring presence, and junior Solomon Levy’s grit stood out in the preseason.

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