The Greely High’s boys’ basketball team will have to wade through the unknown if it is to return to the Class A South final for a third straight season.

Greely, the two-time defending state champion, opens against No. 8 Mt. Ararat. If Greely wins that game, it will face another team it didn’t play this season, either Leavitt or Kennebunk.

“It’s a challenge just in the fact that those teams are a little outside of our comfort zone,” said Greely Coach Travis Seaver. “We’ll scout and get as much information as we can, but really we’re just preparing to be the best we can be and do what we do well and try to be great at those things.”

Greely plays No. 8 Mt. Ararat (10-9) at 7:30 p.m. Friday in a quarterfinal at the Portland Expo.

Mt. Ararat started 0-4 but rallied to make its first playoff appearance since 2016 and win its first playoff game (a prelim blowout of Morse) since 2006. Jared Balser, a 6-foot-8, 250-pound center who scored 30 points against Morse, and 6-5 Austin Damon are rebounding forces.

“Really, seven of our nine losses we were within four, five points late in the game and, (we) either lost at the buzzer, (missed) a 3 to tie it, or were fouling at the end,” said first-year Mt. Ararat Coach David Dubreuil. “So we take pride in being the No. 8 seed that no one wants to play.”

Greely counters with forward Andrew Storey (19.9 points per game), guard Logan Bagshaw (19.0 points, 63 3-pointers) and three-year varsity guards Zach Brown and Michael Coppersmith.

Leavitt is another KVAC team trying to crash the WMC playoff party. The No. 4 Hornets (15-3) will face No. 4 Kennebunk (14-4) at 6 p.m. Friday.

The last time a non-WMC team won the South/West regional in Maine’s second-largest division was 2007, when Mountain Valley won Class B. Brunswick is the only KVAC team to win a Class A South playoff game in the three seasons of the five-class tournament.

“We don’t get to play these teams in the regular season, so it’s tough to know how you’re going to stack up,” said Leavitt Coach Mike Hathaway.

Leavitt, making its first playoff appearance at the Expo since 2012, is led by sophomore guard Wyatt Hathaway (23.2 ppg, 50 percent on 3-pointers). Sophomore Joziah Learned (12.0 points) and junior center Cole Morin (11.1 points, 13.1 rebounds) are also key players.

Saturday’s Class B quarterfinals at the Expo will feature three Western Maine Conference against Mountain Valley Conference matchups: No. 2 Maranacook (16-2) vs. No. 7 Yarmouth (8-10), No. 5 Spruce Mountain (14-4) vs. No. 4 Gray-New Gloucester (12-6) and No. 1 Mountain Valley (16-2) against No. 8 Wells (9-10).

WMC Class B teams, hardened by games against the likes of Class A contenders Greely and Falmouth, are 11-1 against MVC foes in playoff games the past three seasons.

The Spruce Mountain vs. Gray-New Gloucester game is a rematch of last year’s quarterfinal won by GNG, 57-34.

PLAYERS BEING called for technical fouls after dunking was the story of the 2018 playoffs. Fans, players and coaches learned the nuances of “grasping the ring.” Officials were bashed on social media for enforcing a rule seldom called in the regular season.

Bangor’s Henry Westrich was T’d up for his one-handed dunk attempt Tuesday in a Class AA North quarterfinal win, sparking a renewed round of criticism.

“We’re here as coaches trying to get our teams better and also trying to get our kids ready for the next level,” said Bangor’s first-year coach, Brad Libby. “If you’re not going hard to the rim and finishing, then you’re not going to the next level. What are we supposed to teach them, take it hard to the rim and finish lightly?”

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or:

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Twitter: SteveCCraig


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