Basketball tournament, my how we missed you.

After COVID eliminated the hoops postseason a year ago, it’s back, and not only is it back, but local teams are primed to steal the show.

The tournament promises to be a whirlwind and you won’t want to miss a minute, so here’s what to expect:

Collision course?

Falmouth’s Sloane Ginevan looks to lead her team somewhere it’s never been, to the state final. File photo

All five local girls’ teams have high hopes entering the tournament and two, Falmouth and Greely, could very well be standing in each other’s way.

Each team peaked late, and as a result, the Rangers finished as the No. 2 seed in Class A South and the Navigators wound up third (Brunswick is first).

Greely completed its 13-4 campaign with a 45-25 victory at Gray-New Gloucester last Wednesday. Chelsea Graiver led the way with 21 points and Sophia Ippolito added 15. The Rangers will match up against either No. 7 Marshwood (7-10), the reigning champion, or No. 10 Westbrook (5-13) in the quarterfinals at 2:30 p.m. Monday at the Portland Exposition Building. Greely didn’t face either potential foe during the regular season. The Rangers have no playoff history with the Blue Blazes and are 4-1 all-time versus the Hawks, but Marshwood took the most recent meeting, 47-44, in the 2020 Class A South Final.

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Falmouth closed on a seven-game surge, capped by victories over visiting Westbrook (58-33) and host Kennebunk (58-34). Against the Rams, Sloane Ginevan scored 22 points and Anna Turgeon added 18. The Navigators will meet either No. 6 Morse (7-10) or No. 11 Fryeburg Academy (4-12) in the quarterfinals at 1 p.m. Monday at the Expo. Falmouth didn’t play the Raiders this year. The teams split two prior playoff encounters, with Falmouth taking a 51-47 decision in the 2007 Western B semifinals. The Navigators won at Morse, 51-30, Feb. 2. Falmouth beat the Shipbuilders, 58-54, in the 2018 Class A South preliminary round in the lone prior playoff meeting.

If Falmouth and Greely meet in the Class A South semifinals next Wednesday, it would be a rematch of 67-53 Rangers victory Jan. 11 in Falmouth. In that one, Graiver scored 27 points and Kaiyla Delisle added 19. The teams have played twice before in the postseason, with Falmouth prevailing in overtime, 47-44, in the 2008 Western B semifinals and Greely taking a 42-40 victory in the 2013 Western B preliminary round.

Freeport closed with a 46-27 home win over Fryeburg Academy last week to wind up 6-11 and eighth in its first year in Class A South. The Falcons host No. 9 Biddeford (6-11) in the preliminary round Wednesday at 6 p.m. The teams didn’t meet this year and have no playoff history. If Freeport advances to the quarterfinals, it will take on No. 1 Brunswick (16-2) at 6 p.m. Monday at the Expo. The Dragons won the regular season meeting, 60-35, Dec. 28 in Freeport. The teams have no playoff history.

In Class B South, Yarmouth finished a 12-4 campaign with a 35-24 win at Poland last Wednesday. Maya Panozzo led the way with nine points. The Clippers wound up ranked fourth in the region and host No. 13 Cape Elizabeth (2-13) in the preliminary round Wednesday at 6 p.m. Yarmouth beat the visiting Capers, 40-18, Feb. 1. The teams met once before in the playoffs, a 60-42 Clippers win in the 2002 Western B Southwest Division preliminary round. If Yarmouth advances to the quarterfinals, it will meet either No. 5 York (9-5) or No. 12 Poland (4-13) at noon Saturday at the Expo. The Clippers beat the host Wildcats, 47-42, in the season opener Dec. 10. York won the lone prior playoff meeting, 41-37, in the 1988 Western B preliminary round. Yarmouth and Poland have no playoff history.

In Class C South, North Yarmouth Academy capped a stellar 14-2 regular season with home wins over Sacopee Valley (70-23) and Seacoast Christian (86-17) last week. Against the Hawks, Angel Huntsman had 10 points and 12 assists, Sarah English and Madilyn Onorato both added 12 points, Graca Bila finished with 11 points and Erin Reid had 10. In the finale, Charlotte Harper-Cunningham had 18 points, Bila added 17, Athena Gee had 11 and Lila Jackson finished with 10. The Panthers finished third in the region and hosted No. 14 Monmouth Academy (3-10) in Tuesday’s preliminary round. The teams didn’t play this year. NYA was 1-2 all-time versus Monmouth in the playoffs, with a 52-35 victory in the 2019 Class C South quarterfinals the most recent.

“It’s always interesting, because we don’t play half the teams in the tournament,” said Panthers coach Tom Robinson.

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If the Panthers advance, they will take on No. 6 Kents Hill (9-4) or No. 11 Waynflete (6-12) in the quarterfinals at 4 p.m. next Tuesday in Augusta. NYA and Kents Hill didn’t play this season and have no playoff history. NYA won both meetings against Waynflete this year, 52-5 Dec. 21 in Yarmouth and 58-18 at home Jan. 19. The Flyers took two of three prior playoff encounters, with a 52-36 victory in the 2004 Western D quarterfinals the most recent.

Legitimate contenders

Yarmouth senior Peter Psyhogeos has been one of the state’s premier players all season and is eyeing a deep postseason run. File photo

On the boys’ side, Yarmouth has to like its chances after posting a terrific 15-3 mark, its best since 2016-17. The Clippers closed with a 69-46 home win over Poland last Wednesday behind 27 points from Peter Psyhogeos and 17 from Matt Waeldner. Yarmouth earned the second seed in Class B South behind Spruce Mountain and hosted No. 15 Lincoln Academy (4-12) in the preliminary round Tuesday. The teams didn’t play this year. The Clippers began their most recent title run with a 77-35 win over Lincoln Academy in the 2012 Western B quarterfinals in the teams’ lone prior playoff encounter. If, as expected, Yarmouth reaches the quarterfinals, it will face either No. 7 Oceanside (13-4) or No. 10 Leavitt (11-7) at 5:30 p.m. Friday at the Expo. The Clippers have no history with Oceanside. They beat the visiting Hornets, 48-24, Jan. 11. The teams split two prior playoff meetings, with Yarmouth’s 77-51 victory in the 1973 Western C quarterfinals the most recent.

In Class A South, Falmouth is the top seed and prohibitive favorite after culminating a 16-2 regular season last week with wins at Westbrook (57-44) and over visiting Kennebunk (62-42). Against the Blue Blazes, Brady Coyne scored 20 points and Judd Armstrong added 14. In the win over the Rams, Coyne led the way with 24 points and Jack Stowell added 11. The Navigators will face either No. 8 Morse (7-9) or No. 9 Westbrook (6-11) in the quarterfinals at 9 p.m. Saturday at the Expo. Falmouth beat the visiting Shipbuilders, 66-46, Feb. 2. The teams have no playoff history. In addition to last week’s victory, the Navigators also beat the visiting Blue Blazes, 66-54, Feb. 7. Falmouth won both prior playoff meetings against Westbrook, 48-47 in overtime in the 2015 Western A quarterfinals and 61-33 in the 2016 Class A South quarterfinals.

Greely finished second in Class A South at 11-7 after closing with home wins over Gray-New Gloucester (67-60) and Wells (56-40) last week. Against the Patriots, Andrew St. Hilaire led the way with 21 points, Timmy Walker added 16 and Dee Coyne finished with a dozen. In the win over the Warriors, St. Hilaire had 16 points and Seamus Raftice added 10. The Rangers will take on No. 7 Kennebunk (11-6) or No. 10 Brunswick (5-12) in the quarterfinals at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at the Expo. Greely didn’t face the Rams this year and is 2-0 against them all-time in the tournament, with victories in the 2017 Class A South quarterfinals (76-31) and 2019 Class A South semifinals (69-62). The Rangers beat the host Dragons, 62-61, Dec. 14. Greely lost the lone prior playoff encounter, 65-52, in the 2016 Class A South semifinals.

“(Falmouth’s) really good, but I think a lot of that is negated come tourney time,” said Rangers coach Travis Seaver. “There are a lot of teams that can compete with anyone but also lose to anyone.”

Freeport finished 9-8 and sixth in Class A South after a 66-53 loss at Fryeburg Academy in the regular season finale. The Falcons hosted No. 11 Biddeford (3-14) in the preliminary round Tuesday night. The teams didn’t play this season and had no postseason history. If Freeport advanced, it will take on No. 3 Marshwood (12-5) in the quarterfinals at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Expo. The teams didn’t meet this year and have no playoff history.

In Class C South, NYA finished 10-6 and sixth after beating hosting Sacopee Valley (61-34) and visiting Seacoast Christian (63-44) last week. Against the Hawks, Logan Welch scored 20 points and Joaquim Bila added 12. In the finale, Welch had 21 points, Nate Oney added 11 and Elliott Oney and Bryce Poulin both finished with 10. The Panthers host No. 11 Carrabec (8-10) in the preliminary round Wednesday. The teams have no history. If NYA advances, it will go to Augusta Monday at 4 p.m. to take on either No. 3 Dirigo (13-5) or No. 14 Sacopee Valley (4-13). The Panthers didn’t play Dirigo this year and lost both prior playoff encounters, 42-23 in the 2008 Western C quarterfinals and 59-47 in the 2019 Class C South preliminary round. NYA also downed visiting Sacopee Valley, 61-43, Jan. 12. The teams have no playoff history.

Press Herald staff writers Steve Craig and Travis Lazarczyk contributed to this story.

Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

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