The Mt. Ararat boys basketball team holds its first team practice Monday at Mt. Ararat High School in Topsham. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

Morse High School senior Boden Gould of Morse said he could hardly contain his excitement when he woke up Monday, the first day high school basketball teams in the state could hold official team practices.

Gould and a few teammates took it a step further, too, getting to school gym before school began to get a workout in. 

“All the guys were super excited, we got here at four in the morning to start scrimmaging and working out,” said Gould, a forward for the Shipbuilders. “All the guys felt a sigh of relief to be competing against one another again.”

Indeed, Monday marked the first day some teams in the state could practice, although schools in counties that are designated yellow by the state still have athletics on hold. That includes Brunswick and Freeport (Cumberland) and Lisbon (Androscoggin).

The Shipbuilders are holding tryouts during the first couple of days this week due to a high turnout.

“It’s really great to see more students going out for sports when they may not have in a normal year,” said Morse athletic director Nathan Priest.

Morse spent a good portion of the tryout Monday working on defense, something that was practically impossible to work on with the guidelines prior to Monday. However, the Shipbuilders spent the last part of practice competing against each other and scrimmaging, something that they hadn’t been able to do since the summer.

“The energy out here (Monday) has been fantastic, this is the hardest we’ve worked as a unit so far this season,” said Morse head coach Chris York, who is in his first season at the helm after replacing Maine Basketball Hall of Famer Tom Maines. 

Gould and his teammates were just happy to be able to compete, even if there are some modifications in place.

The Morse boys basketball team scrimmages during a practice Monday at Bath Middle School in Bath. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

“For the past three weeks we’ve been playing regularly with the masks on, so we’ve been able to adjust to wearing it while competing,” he said. 

The Mt. Ararat boys held their first team practice of the season. 

“These guys haven’t played any real defense since March, so I’m not really sure what to expect on that side of the ball,” said coach David Dubreuil. 

The intensity level was high in the gym from the start for the Eagles, something Dubreuil was emphasizing with the opportunity they have to compete now.

“We have a game scheduled a week from now, so we have to ramp it up starting today,” Dubreuil said.

The Eagles are scheduled to host Cony on Jan. 11. 

The Richmond girls basketball team has been able to hold skills and drills sessions since they were allowed to begin Dec. 14. Monday marked the first time the whole team could be in the gym for a practice. 

“We felt fortunate that we were able to get into the gym for some sessions for the past few weeks, but now that we’re able to practice as a team I’m very excited and ready to go,” said senior captain Macy Carver, a center. 

The Richmond girls basketball team partakes in defensive drills during practice Monday at Richmond High School. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

Head coach Mike Ladner was excited to get things going. 

“We haven’t been able to work on any defense, so that’s the first thing we’ll focus on (Monday),” Ladner said. 

Defense was clearly the theme of the day across many programs.

With just 12 players in the program, Richmond will feature a young team looking to gain valuable experience. 

“We have a really good group. We’ll use this year as a stepping block as we build for the future,” said sophomore forward Kara Briand. 

Richmond is scheduled to open its season Jan. 14 against Monmouth Academy. 

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