In the euphoria after Caribou High won its first state basketball championship in 50 years, junior guard Parker Deprey looked around at the thousands of fans who had made the 300-mile trek to Portland to support his team.

“We got a huge crowd and it was great to have the support, and we’re hoping to have the support next year, too,” Deprey said.

With four starters back, Caribou will be a top team in Class B North in 2019-20.

If Deprey and his history-making teammates can already be looking forward to next season, then we can take a crack at a few early predictions.

The balance of power in Class AA boys will shift to the South.

Teams from AA North have won all four titles since the MPA created the fifth class for its largest schools. Expect the South to break through next year.

The North loses the three Mr. Maine finalists: Ben Onek of Deering, Wol Maiwen of Edward Little and Matt Fleming of state champion Bangor. Bangor loses four starters, including second-leading scorer and point guard, Damien Vance. Edward Little, the 2018 state champ, should have several starters back but they’ve revolved around Maiwen for three seasons. Don’t expect Portland, the champ in 2016 and 2017, to step into the breach. The Bulldogs were a mid-level team and their three best players are also graduating.

Conversely, South champion Bonny Eagle should return four starters, including Zach Maturo, already a three-year starter at guard who averaged just under 20 points per game in the playoffs. South runner-up Thornton Academy has four of its top seven returning, including sophomore Payton Jones (over 13 points per game). South Portland will miss having 6-7 Scott Lewis as its defensive stopper but Geremi Baez and Pamba Pamba, a pair of dynamic open-court players, lead a large cast of returners.

Life will get tougher, but don’t count out Greely.

For the second straight season, Greely won both the girls’ and boys’ Class A titles.

“We must have good water (in Cumberland),” said Greely guard Michael Coppersmith.

The Rangers, who became the seventh boys’ team to win three straight Maine titles, will bring back Logan Bagshaw, a great place to start.

Bagshaw proved he’s much more than a 3-point shooter (he did make 72 on 40.2 percent shooting) with ballhawking defense, and the ability to score and create off the dribble. Put Bagshaw down as a top contender for Mr. Maine Basketball 2020 honors, with Maturo and Kennebunk’s 6-4 forward Max Murray on that short list. But Greely’s other four starters graduate – including 6-6 Andrew Storey, who became a matchup nightmare this season.

Madison Scott, left, and Brooke Obar of Greely look toward teammate Anna DeWolfe as time expires. Staff photo by Derek Davis

With Kennebunk also graduating three key seniors and Falmouth’s inside game departing, put York down as the Class A South boys’ favorite. York should return at least eight players who saw significant minutes from a team that finished 16-4.

The Greely girls will be without point guard Anna DeWolfe, a Miss Maine Basketball finalist, who could create points seemingly at will. But Brooke Obar, a junior, is a very good player who often handled the point duties during games. Sophomore Camille Clement and junior Katie Fitzpatrick are also veteran starters. A repeat of an undefeated season is unlikely but the Greely girls could three-peat.

Greely was arguably the best team in the state regardless of class. And two-time Class A South runner-up Brunswick will be hit with heavy graduation losses, and two-time North champ Hampden Academy will no longer have 6-3 Bailey Donovan.

A Class AA girls’ championship rematch is highly possible.

Oxford Hills won its first girls’ basketball championship and will return 16 of the 18 players on its tournament roster, including Julia Colby (34 points in the final).

On the South side, Scarborough returns 11 of its 13 rostered players, including five freshmen, so continued growth and improved scoring ability to go with its already proven defensive tenacity seems reasonable.

As Scarborough Coach Mike Giordano put it after Saturday’s loss: “We were ahead of schedule and we bring a lot of kids back next year with the chance to come back here, and we’ll probably see (Oxford Hills) if we do.”

It’s Freeport’s turn in Class B girls.

Caroline Smith is the leader of a Freeport team that will return its entire roster and seeks to unseat Gray-New Gloucester as the Class B South champion. Staff photo by Derek Davis

Gray-New Gloucester has been the team to beat in B South. The Patriots, with two state titles in three years, will still be formidable with the return of center and leading scorer Jordan Grant. But Freeport, which had no seniors this season, returned to the South regional final and brings back guard Caroline Smith, who at 5-10 has enough size to be able to play inside or out. The Falcons also have good overall size with athletic ability to run the court in sophomore Rachel Wall and 6-foot freshman Mason Baker-Schlendering.

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or:

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Twitter: SteveCCraig


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