Gorham players, from left, Jesse James, Jack Karlones, Ashton Leclerc and Cayden Smith celebrate after the Rams beat Scarborough 46-33 to win the Class AA North boys’ basketball regional final on Saturday in Portland. Carl D. Walsh/Staff Photographer

Eight high school basketball teams from southern Maine topped strong seasons with regional championship wins. Now those players get the chance to fulfill childhood dreams in a state championship game.

“We talked about this when we were in fifth grade and now we’re here,” is how Gray-New Gloucester senior Aidan Hebert put it after the Patriots beat Noble in the A South boys’ final.

The championship games start Friday with Oceanside’s two undefeated teams vying for Class B titles at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. The Oceanside girls (21-0) face Old Town (19-2) at 6:05 p.m. followed by a state final rematch between the Oceanside boys (21-0) and defending champion Orono (18-3) at 7:45.

On Saturday, Cross Insurance Arena in Portland has four title games. In the afternoon, the Class A games will be held: Brunswick (19-2) versus Cony (14-7) in the girls’ game at 1:05 p.m. and Gray-New Gloucester (19-2) versus Hampden (19-2) at 2:45. The Class AA games will be Saturday night: Cheverus girls (20-0) vs. Gorham (18-3) at 7:05 p.m. followed by Windham (18-2) versus Gorham (18-2) in the boys’ title game at 8:45.

The Class C and D championship games will be at the Augusta Civic Center on Saturday.

In Class AA, the girls’ contest pits two teams loaded with championship game experience, while the boys’ teams are each playing in their first AA final.


The Cheverus girls can win their second title in three seasons. They beat Gorham in 2022 for the school’s first girls’ title.

“It would be incredible,” said Cheverus star senior Maddie Fitzpatrick. “It would show our hard work. We’d win for our team but also for all the other girls’ teams that came before us.”

Maddie Fitzpatrick and the Cheverus girls are aiming at their second state title in three years. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

The Gorham girls are in a third straight title game (and sixth in the eight seasons of Class AA), losing last season to Oxford Hills as a surprise finalist. The Rams won the first two AA titles in 2016 and 2017 with back-to-back 21-0 teams led by Emily Esposito and featuring Indiana University star Mackenzie Holmes.

“I know Mackenzie Holmes has set a great legacy for our team. We all look up to her,” said Gorham senior Ellie Gay. “The team chemistry has always been great and keeping that each year and building up our underclassmen each year to keep that legacy is something we strive to do.”

The Windham boys have already made history, winning their first regional championship and setting a school record for wins in a season.

“Winning a championship would definitely cement it,” said senior Blake McPherson. “It would make me probably have tears.”


Gorham was a Class B boys’ power in the early 2000s, winning states in 2000 and reaching the title game in four of the next five seasons, but this is the first AA championship trip for the Rams’ boys.

“Over the years I’ve seen the girls get to states and I’ve wanted to play on this floor forever and this year with both (teams) in the state final it’s awesome,” said Ashton Leclerc, one of Gorham’s senior leaders.

Gorham and Oceanside are the latest schools to get both teams to a state championship. In 2018, Edward Little in Class AA and Greely in Class A won boys’ and girls’ championships. In 2020, Hampden Academy won the Class A boys’ title and lost in the girls’ final.

Oceanside’s Zeb Foster goes up for a basket while being defended by Morse’s Calin Gould during a game in Bath on Jan. 19. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

For the Oceanside teams, Friday’s championship games in Bangor represent a second chance to earn what they felt they could have won a year ago.

Orono won last year’s boys’ B title, 61-58. The key players return for both teams. Orono’s Ben Francis, Will Francis and Pierce Walston combined for 50 points in last year’s state final. Oceanside counters with senior twins Carter Galley and Cohen Galley and junior guard Zeb Foster.

“It feels good to get back but the job’s not finished,” Foster said after Oceanside beat Lincoln Academy in the South final. “Last year we were running around, crying and excited (after winning the regional title) and this year we know that’s not what we want. We want a Gold Ball and we want Orono.”


The Oceanside girls are 61-1 over the past three seasons. They won the 2022 title. Riding a 53-game win streak, they were upset in the 2023 Class B South final by Spruce Mountain. This year the Mariners beat Spruce Mountain in the South final with three new starters around star center Bailey Breen and guard Aubrianna Hoose.

“We’re bigger, we’re faster, we’re longer and I just knew everyone could play,” Hoose said.

In Class A, the Brunswick girls are in their second consecutive championship game, losing last season to Lawrence. Cony won the North championship by upsetting No. 1 Lawrence.

In Class A boys, Hampden Academy is in its seventh Class A final since 2012 (champs in 2013, 2015, 2020). Gray-New Gloucester last played in a state final in 1975 when it won Class C.

“We have to stay composed and we have to stay hungry,” said Nate Hebert, Gray’s leading scorer. “No matter what kind of lead we have, we need to play like we’re down 10-0 the whole game. Really give it to teams, because we’re capable of doing it.”

Staff writer Drew Bonifant contributed to this story.

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