Windham’s A.J. Moody, left, and Tyrie James celebrate after the Eagles wrapped up the Class AA state title. Both should be key players next season for Windham. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographe

The games have been played, the championships have been won, the Gold Balls have been lifted. Now the focus shifts to who could win them next year.

It’s too early to know for sure who will be on the state championship stage in 2025. Teams surprise every year, and make runs that no one sees coming. But based on returning and incoming talent, there are plenty of teams in the southern Maine boys’ and girls’ basketball scenes that have reasons for high hopes going into next season.

Start with some of the teams that just finished adding hardware. The Windham boys won their first state championship Saturday, taking down Gorham, 62-58, in an overtime thriller, and they won’t be a bad pick to make it two in as many years.

Sophomore Tyrie James was the team’s leading scorer while playing off the bench, scoring 11.4 points per game. Junior Creighty Dickson averaged a double-double, and sophomore A.J. Moody averaged double figures in points while ranking second in AA North at 2.5 steals per game. Those three were the leading scorers in the final with 17, 12 and 12 points, respectively.

“Those three guys are a great backbone to come back with,” Coach Chad Pulkkinen said.

The Eagles will also return freshman Colin Janvrin, who nearly cracked the starting lineup this year, as well as juniors Conor Janvrin, Braycen Freese and Grant Coppi, all of whom showed promise in limited roles this season.


There will be expectations that weren’t there this year, when Windham was coming off a 5-13 regular season. Pulkkinen said his team is ready for them.

“I think it’s going to be really awesome,” he said. “I think they’ll accept the challenge. The way these guys compete, I wouldn’t be surprised if it gives them motivation.”

Oceanside junior Bailey Breen and the mariners are 62-1 over the past three season. Breen is one of many key players who could return next season to defend their title. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

The Oceanside girls won their second Class B championship in three years with a 33-25 win over Old Town. The Mariners went 22-0 this season, are 62-1 over the last three, and they may not be done. Junior center Bailey Breen, the KVAC Player of the Year for the third year in a row, is expected back, junior Aubri Hoose earned first-team all-conference status at point guard, and sophomore Renee Ripley and freshman Grace Mackie, who both scored nine points in the state final, should take a step forward.

Losing Sophia Daggett and Caitlyn Lamb will deprive Oceanside of its advantage down low, but the Mariners proved this season they could handle graduation losses.

“Our team will look a little different, we’ll be smaller than what we have been in the past, so we’ll have to change a few things up,” Coach Matt Breen said. “This group has been all business all along. … I’m sure they’re looking ahead to what they need to do to try to get back there. It’s not an easy road, nothing’s guaranteed.”

Several teams that fell short of the finals stage, however, will be well positioned to make it to March. The Mt. Ararat girls will go into next year as a clear favorite in Class A South. The Eagles fell to eventual state champion Brunswick, 39-30, in the regional final, but will return all five starters in Cali Pomerleau, Kennedy Lampert, Julianna Allen, Avery Beal and Jenna Jensen from a team that finished 18-3.


“The experience helps. This year, we were definitely in a spot we’d never been in before as a program,” Mt. Ararat Coach Julie Petrie said. “It is nice motivation, knowing you have the pieces. … But I don’t want to think ahead too much. We’ve got to put in the work.”

The South Portland girls went 15-5, earned the No. 2 seed in AA South and had a 13- game winning streak, and did it without a senior on the roster.

With the entire team, led by junior Emma Travis (10.8 points per game) and Nyeerah Padgett (9.4 points, 7.4 rebounds), slated to return, Coach Lynne Hasson said there’s a lot of confidence that the Red Riots could be the team to beat in AA South next year.

“I’m already counting the days. I have them counted on my calendar,” Hasson said. “I felt like, and the kids felt like, we had a chance to win the whole thing. … (But) it’s easier from a coaching perspective not to look down your bench and see seniors crying, and that this was their last shot at a Gold Ball.”

The Biddeford girls, who went from no wins to 12 wins after dropping from Class A to Class B, return freshmen standouts Jordyn Crump and Anna Smyth and have a strong class of eighth-graders led by Mia Mariello, Olivia Hunter and Natalia and Gabriella Silva. Freeport, like South Portland, had no seniors and should vie for a top spot in A South.

Noble’s Jamier Rose, right, averaged 21,6 points per game for the resurgent Knights, who should continue to be a contender next season. Carl D. Walsh/ Staff Photographer

On the boys’ side, Noble brings back dynamic point guard Jamier Rose and high-scoring guard Bryce Guitard, who averaged 21.6 and 19.8 points per game, respectively. Add Chase Dodier, Ashton Mutagoma and Andrew Marzoli back as starters or impact players from a team that improved from seven wins in Class AA to 16 and a regional final berth in A South, and the Knights should be just as formidable next year – if not more so – after, in Coach John Morgan’s words, “getting the monkey off the back.”

“Being competitive was one thing, and then figuring out a way to win when it really matters … was huge for our guys,” Morgan said. “It helps you get over that mental gap of ‘Hey, we can win in the playoffs.’ … (They said) we’re not having this feeling next year of having to watch someone else cut down nets.”

Cheverus has leading scorer Leo McNabb (16.4), center Jameson Fitzpatrick and point guard Sammy Nzeyimana slated to return after making the AA North semifinals and falling in overtime to Portland. Scarborough, with 6-foot-9 Spencer Booth and Carter Blanche expected back, should challenge again in AA South after losing to Gorham in the regional final. And York will bring back center Lukas Bouchard, wing Reece MacDonald and guard Ryan Cummins from a team that went 16-4 and reached the Class B South semis.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: