South Portland’s Maggie Whitmore makes a pass between Sanford’s Abby Toothaker, right, and Jaylyn Bartolome during the Class AA South final on Saturday. South Portland will play this weekend in its first state championship game since 1986. Jill Brady/Staff Photographer Buy this Photo

Oxford Hills in Class AA and Southern Aroostook in Class D will look to repeat their girls’ basketball state championships this weekend.

Other teams, however, are looking to break long Gold Ball droughts.

South Portland, Oxford Hills’ opponent on Saturday evening, hasn’t won a state title since 1986, when the Riots won the Class A title with a 48-36 win over Stearns.

Hampden Academy, which lost in the Class A championship game to Greely each of the last two years, last won a state title in 1976. Its opponent on Saturday, Marshwood, last won in 1995 while it played in Class B.

In Class B, Wells has never won a state championship and last appeared in a state title game in 1979, when the Warriors lost the Class C title game to Hodgdon, 58-40. Hermon, meanwhile, last won a state championship in 1989 and hasn’t appeared in one since 1994.

In Class C, Winthrop is in the state game for the first time since 1990. Central Aroostook last won a state title in 1982, and last appeared in a state game in 1993.

Class D is actually a rematch of last year, as Southern Aroostook defeated Greenville, 55-30. Greenville hasn’t won a championship since 1985.

“There’s been a lot of teams that everyone is accustomed to see making it or at least getting real close,” said Marshwood Coach Steve Freeman. “This year things changed.”

That doesn’t mean the returning teams aren’t hungry for a title too.

“It doesn’t matter that we won last year,” said Oxford Hills Coach Nate Pelletier. “They are just as hungry as they’ve ever been to win a state championship. They’re not done. It really matters to these kids.”

Class AA: South Portland (18-3) vs. Oxford Hills (20-1)

Saturday, 7:05 p.m., Cross Insurance Arena, Portland

This game is very intriguing. The teams didn’t play this year. Both finished first in their regions. Both are led by outstanding players: Oxford Hills senior guard Julia Colby, bound for Division II New York Institute of Technology, and South Portland senior guard/forward Maggie Whitmore, bound for Division II Bentley University, are finalists for Miss Maine Basketball.

The Riots had been ranked first in each of the last two years, only to lose in the regional tournament. Coach Lynne Hasson believes those experiences sharpened her players’ resolve.

“We’ve had good teams and being there and falling short has motivated us and given us fire,” she said. “I do think they have an edge. They’re mad. It’s more of a fighter mentality than we’ve had before. They’re determined that it won’t happen again.”

Class A: Hampden Academy (20-1) vs. Marshwood (18-3)

Saturday, 1:05 p.m., Cross Insurance Arena, Portland

Hampden Coach Nick Winchester admitted a little disappointment that the Broncos won’t get another shot at Greely. But he said his players know how good Marshwood is.

“They beat Greely,” he said.

Hampden’s lone loss this year was on Jan. 7 to Class AA Bangor, 32-39. Since then the Broncos have won 12 in a row. They are balanced, with five players averaging between 6 and 10 points, and allow just 33 points a game.

Likewise, Marshwood has a balanced offense with four players averaging between 9 and 14 points a game, and allows just 38 points a game.

Several members of the 1994-95 Hawks championship team are scheduled to stop by practice Wednesday.

“It will be nice to make the connection with that group,” said Freeman. “Our girls don’t know anything about that team. They’ll discuss their experiences and what they went through.”

Class B: Wells (15-6) vs. Hermon (20-1)

Friday, 7:05 p.m., Cross Insurance Center, Bangor

Wells is led by the talented sister team of senior Franny Ramsdell (16.8 points) and sophomore Grace Ramsdell (15.7 points). But the Warriors get contributions from everyone.

“We don’t have captains,” said Coach Don Abbott. “We just have leaders. Everyone can fill a leadership role.”

Hermon, which has only two seniors and no juniors on its roster, has won 10 in a row. “I’ve worked with these girls a long time and I’m impressed with how quickly they came together,” said Coach Chris Cameron. “Their development, and the speed of their development, has been a pleasant surprise.”

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