Senior guard Zach Maturo will lead Bonny Eagle in defense of its Class AA South championship. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

1. Bonny Eagle: Under first-year coach John Trull last season, the Scots were the surprise darlings of Class AA South. With four starters back, including electric senior guard Zach Maturo and his junior running mate, Jacob Humphrey, expectations have changed. Trull said his hungry, veteran team is intent on proving last year was not a fluke.

2. South Portland: Coach Kevin Millington may have had too much depth last season, with 17 players on the roster. This year he has the right blend to contend. Geremi Baez and Pamba Pamba lead a strong group of athletes who excel in the open court. If returnees like Cade Carr, Ryan Boles and a now-healthy Owen Maloney can increase consistency at the offensive end, the Riots will be tough to beat.

3. Falmouth: The veteran group is already playing at a high level, if convincing wins against Deering and Bangor and a two-point loss to host South Portland in a preseason tournament are an indicator. Michael Simonds and point guard Nicco Pitre are proven performers, and Coach David Halligan (career record of 522-133) also has some size to play with. Falmouth is the favorite in Class A South.

4. Gorham: The Rams return 67 percent of their scoring from last year’s 11-8 club – and they are big. Senior center Ryan Reno (6-foot-7) is backed up by 6-8 Stephen Graham and 6-6 Alex Burghardt. Shooting guards Grant Nadeau, a slasher who got to the free-throw line nearly five times a game, Jordan Bretton (36 3-pointers) and Bode Meader (24 3s) are 6-5, 6-0 and 6-3.

5. Thornton Academy: The Trojans reached the Class AA South final last season and have enough size and scoring to return. Junior guard Payton Jones, junior forward Dylan Griffin and senior Jack Pyzynski are top-level offensive threats. Will Mitchell, who averaged 7.7 points and more than five rebounds as a sophomore forward before transferring to a school in Florida, is also back on the roster.

6. Deering: Could this be the year the Rams put together a deep postseason run? The Class AA North coaches picked them a close second to Edward Little. Point guard Darryl Germain must spread the ball efficiently to get improved players like 6-5 Loki Anda and shooter Max Morrione looks in the right spot. Mike Randall, at 6-0, can rebound with anybody. Askar Houssein, a transfer from Waynflete, could be an X factor.

Junior guard Brady Cummins, center, is back for a veteran York team that finished 16-4 last season. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

7. York: These Wildcats are long, lean and get after it on defense. Brady Cummins, a 6-5 junior guard, and 6-4 senior forward Will MacDonald can score from all over. Seniors Riley Linn and RJ Johnston are top defenders. Teagan Hynes, a 6-1 junior, takes over at the point, and senior Jonathan Donovan is a versatile scorer. Coming off a 16-4 season, York has seven players who have starting experience.

8. Greely: The three-time defending Class A champions ranked eighth? That’s because Logan Bagshaw is the only proven scorer, defensive specialist Jakob Bernheisel is the only other returning starter, and the Rangers have just average size. But there is confidence that former reserves like seniors Nick Butler and Andrew Lawrence, junior Luke Gabloff and some promising sophomores will be able to fill bigger roles.

9. Kennebunk: The Rams graduated three multiyear starters (Tripp Bush, Cam Lovejoy and Zach Sullivan), but Coach David Leal still has two proven scorers in Varsity Maine All-State selection Max Murray (19.7 ppg) and Kyle Pasieniuk (12 ppg). The Rams think they can continue their upward trajectory in Class A after a 15-5 season that ended with a semifinal loss to Greely.

10. Waynflete: A perennial contender in Class C South, the Flyers boast big-school size with 6-5 senior forward Solomon Levy and 6-8 junior forward Dominick Campbell, both returning first-team Western Maine Conference all-stars. Four other players are listed at 6-3 or taller. Seniors Diraige Dahia, a scorer, and Oliver Burdick form an experienced backcourt.

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