Can Greely High three-peat? Can Cape Elizabeth complete its turnaround season? Can Bonny Eagle, embracing its underdog role, knock off Bangor?

Those questions will be answered this weekend in the boys’ basketball state championships, including three games involving southern Maine teams (rankings below are based on this week’s Varsity Maine poll).

Class A
No. 10 Lawrence (13-8) vs. No. 2 Greely (18-3)
Augusta Civic Center, 7:45 p.m. Friday

A year ago, Greely was wrapping up its second straight Class A title with its 44th consecutive win. The Bulldogs from Fairfield? A second consecutive season without making the playoffs.

The Rangers return four starters from the 2018 team. Junior guard Logan Bagshaw (19 points per game, 70 3-pointers) and senior center Andrew Storey (20 ppg, 6.5 rebounds per game) have markedly improved. Storey has more than doubled his scoring average.

Three-year starter Zach Brown (11.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 5.0 assists) is a high-end third option and physical guard Michael Coppersmith (6.2 ppg) is another three-year contributor. Starting power forward Lars Boddie and key reserves Luke Gabloff and Jacob Bernheisel were on the 2018 squad.

Greely is trying to become the seventh school in Maine boys’ basketball history to win three straight state championships. Only Winslow (1937-39) and Morse (1987-89) have done it in Class A. No school has won three straight in Class B, which until 2016 was the second-largest enrollment division, as Class A is now.

“Honestly, it’s not even talked about,” said Greely Coach Travis Seaver.

Seaver was part of Class B championship teams at Greely as a sophomore and junior (1997 and 1998). Lawrence Coach Jason Pellerin was a senior on Lawrence’s 1990 Class A title team. Lawrence’s last appearance in a championship game was a 1999 Class A loss to Portland.

Lawrence is a veteran team with five senior starters. Kobe Nadeau and Nick Robertson are typically the top scorers. Nadeau had 18 points with five 3-pointers in the North regional semifinal upset of top-seeded Cony. The other starters are Gavin Herrin, Adam Duprey and Jackson Dudley. Duprey and Herrin each scored 10 in a 47-40 regional final win against Skowhegan.

“We have 32 minutes left to find out how good we can be, how good we are,” Pellerin said.

Class B
No. 8 Caribou (18-3) vs.
No. 7 Cape Elizabeth (14-7)
Cross Insurance Arena, Portland
2:45 p.m. Saturday

One large presence and a near-mythic memory define this game.

On the court the action will revolve around Cape’s 6-foot-9 senior center Andrew Hartel, who averages over 15 points and 10 rebounds. The Capers need to be get him the ball. Caribou – without a starter taller than 6-foot – must figure out how to contain him.

“We’ve been undersized all year,” said Caribou Coach Kyle Corrigan, a 2008 graduate of the school. “We faced a kid who was 6-6, and there’s been multiple games where we had to guard bigger at every position but we haven’t faced a 6-9 kid yet.”

Off the court, the storyline unfolds from Mike Thurston’s celebrated half-court shot in 1969 against Westbrook that earned Caribou its only boys’ basketball championship. Can the 2019 version of the Vikings make the 5-plus hour drive to Portland and match their forefathers?

“They know how to play basketball, you can tell just by watching them on tape,” said Jim Ray, Cape’s 25-year coach, who has one title in 2015. “There’s not a selfish kid on that team. They pass very well to each other and are very fluid.”

Cape will need complementary scoring from Tanner Carpenter (10 ppg, team-high 37 3-pointers), and guards Quinton Morse (8.9 ppg) and Nathan Mullen (9.8). Amaniel Hagos has provided a playoff spark with his rebounding and inside scoring.

Cape has won 10 of 11 games after a 2-5 start.

Caribou, 6-12 last season, is on a 15-game win streak. Juniors and returning starters Parker Duprey (19.5 ppg), Isaac Marker (12.5) and Alex Bouchard combine for over 42 points per game. Senior Austin Findlen is another double-digit scorer.

“We’ve got a bunch of gym rats on the team,” Corrigan said.

Class AA
No. 1 Bangor (19-2) vs.
No. 3 Bonny Eagle (18-3)
Cross Insurance Arena, Portland
9:05 p.m. Saturday

Two of the premier scorers in AA will be the focus. Bangor senior Matt Fleming, a versatile 6-foot-6 player, scores 21 points a game and leads the Rams in almost every category, including rebounds (10.7), assists (3.3), blocks (1.4) and 3-pointers (40). Bonny Eagle’s 5-10 guard Zach Maturo averaged 17.3 points per game in the regular season. In three playoff games he’s boosted that to 20, featuring his creative array of one-handed flicks and floaters over taller defenders.

First-time head coaches Brad Libby at Bangor and John Trull at Bonny Eagle have emphasized improved team defense. In their three playoff wins, Bonny Eagle has allowed 42.7 points per game, Bangor 43.0.

“We have a goal every game to keep the opposing team under 50 points and with the weapons we have, that we’re fortunate to have, we feel we can put up more than 50,” Libby said.

Bangor averages 65 points a game with senior point guard Damian Vance (16.1 ppg) and junior 6-4 forward Henry Westrich (12 ppg) providing experienced options beyond Fleming.

“There’s not necessarily one way to stop them,” Trull said, “but hopefully there’s a way to stay with them. They’re the best team. They’ve been No. 1 all year.”

Bonny Eagle needs sophomore guard Jacob Humphrey (12.2 ppg) and senior 6-4 center Will Hendrix (7.9 ppg, team-high 6.4 rpg) to score at least at their averages, someone like 3-point specialist Cam Gardner (6.5 ppg) to chip in, and to continue to apply tenacious on-ball perimeter defense.

This will be the 25th appearance in a Class A title game for Bangor, which is 12-12, last winning in 2011. Bonny Eagle won its only championship in 1970 in Class B and has appeared in one previous Class A title game, losing to Bangor in 1995.

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or:

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Twitter: SteveCCraig