After winning its first regional championship since 2009, Thornton Academy takes on Edward Little in the Class AA boys’ basketball state final Saturday. Jill Brady/Staff Photographer Buy this Photo

WHAT: Class AA boys’ basketball state final

WHEN: 9:05 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: Cross Insurance Arena, Portland


Thornton Academy: Payton Jones, junior guard (16.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, 5.6 assists); Jack Pyzynski, senior guard (13.3 points, 45 3s); Dylan Griffin, junior center (13.7 points, 10.3 rebounds); Kobe Gaudette, senior guard.

Edward Little: Austin Brown, senior guard (9.3 points, 3.1 rebounds, 4.1 assists); John Shea, sophomore center (16.8 points, 6.8 rebounds); Cam Yorke, senior guard (7.7 points, 4.8 assists); Max Creaser, senior forward (12.8 points, 3.9 rebounds).

OUTLOOK: With two teams that pride themselves on defense, the final score could end up being similar to the 2018 final, when Edward Little beat Scarborough, 41-36. …  EL’s Brown showed he can guard quick, attacking guards with the ability to shoot from deep when he held Deering’s Askar Houssein without a field goal in the North final. But Jones is a stronger player with better at-the-rim finishing ability than Houssein. … A fun subplot will be watching EL’s Shea and Thornton’s Griffin go at it. Both are burly post players with good hands and the girth to carve out space. … Thornton will try to slow down Brown and Yorke on dribble penetration, which they use to set up Shea. The Trojans will also need to be alert when EL junior guard R.J. Nichols comes off the bench. He scored 13 points in the regional final on 5-of-6 shooting (3 of 4 from 3). … Thornton is an athletic team that thrives off turnovers. The Trojans run the court well, with Jones leading the charge and Pyzynski and Gaudette on the wings. … Colby Lands could be an X-factor for Thornton. A rangy, 6-2 senior, Lands scored 17 points with five 3s in a South quarterfinal win against Noble but struggled from the floor at Cross Arena in the regional final, a 61-55 overtime win against South Portland. … In the second game of the regular season, Thornton beat EL, 66-49, with Jones (21 points), Griffin (17) and Pyzynski (13) combining for 51 points. … Both coaches have been here before, with one state title victory. EL’s Mike Adams, who has recovered from open heart surgery in late August to correct a congenital defect, is in his 19th year. This is Bob Davies’ 17th season as Thornton’s coach. Davies led the Trojans to their only previous state final appearance and championship in 2009, beating Edward Little, 54-52, to win Class A.


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