Regular-season finales could alter final North girls basketball Heal Points
With a smattering of regular-season finales still to be played, the jockeying for position continues in the high school girls basketball Heal Points standings.
That said, the top seeds in four of the five North classes have been established.
Defending state champ Oxford Hills of South Paris concluded a 17-1 campaign with a hard-fought 54-51 victory at Bangor on Wednesday night to wrap up the top spot in Class AA North.
Defending Class A North champ Hampden Academy (16-1) has locked up the No. 1 seed, even with a Saturday game remaining against Nokomis of Newport.
Hermon (17-1) has earned the top spot in Class B North and two-time defending state champ Southern Aroostook of Dyer Brook (17-0) will be the No. 1 seed in Class D North. The Warriors have a home game left against Katahdin of Stacyville.
Stearns of Millinocket (15-2) appears to be in good shape to claim the top spot in Class C but it still has a game left with Class D rival Schenck of East Millinocket.
In Class A North, 11-7 Lawrence of Fairfield and 13-5 Messalonskee of Oakland are tied for the third spot after completing their schedules. Which team winds up No. 3 could hinge on Saturday’s make-up game sending Camden Hills of Rockport to Mt. Blue of Farmington.
Messalonskee beat Mt. Blue twice this season, while Lawrence won the only meeting against the Cougars. Messalonskee beat Camden Hills and Lawrence didn’t play the Windjammers.
A Hampden Academy victory would mean the Broncos face their Saturday opponent, Nokomis of Newport, again in the Class A North quarterfinals. An upset by the Warriors would shuffle the Nos. 6, 7 and 8 positions.
The seventh seed plays No. 2 Gardiner and the sixth seed will face either Lawrence or Messalonskee.
Nokomis is the most improved team in Class A North with five more wins than a year ago. Hampden Academy, Messalonskee and Gardiner have shown a three-game improvement.
In Class AA, the only possible shake-up would be Cheverus of Portland moving past Windham into the fourth spot — if the Stags beat Windham in their finale. They are separated by 6.5 points. The winner of that game will probably host the other in the quarterfinals.
The other AA pairings are set with No. 1 Oxford Hills (16-2) hosting winless Deering of Portland (0-17); No. 2 Portland (14-3 with a game left against Deering) entertaining No. 7 Edward Little of Auburn (5-13) and No. 3 Bangor (12-6) hosting No. 6 Lewiston (5-13).
Bangor, under first-year head coach Jay Kemble, beat Lewiston 51-43 and 45-36 during the regular season.
Portland and Cheverus are the division’s most improved teams at plus-five.
In Class B North, Hermon, Waterville (17-1), Presque Isle (15-3) and Old Town (13-5) earned the top four seeds, respectively, and the first-round byes.
Presque Isle was 10-8 last season and has shown the second-best upgrade from a year ago behind Oceanside of Rockland. First-year coach Matt Breen, who compiled a 176-115 record and produced 11 tournament berths in 15 years as the boys varsity coach at Oceanside and Rockland, directed the eighth-seeded Mariners to a 13-5 season after going 7-11 last season.
Ninth-seeded John Bapst of Bangor is 10-8, four games better than a year ago.
Houlton, which went 9-9 in Class C last season and got upset by No. 9 Stearns in a prelim, has gone 11-7 this season including wins over Old Town and Stearns.
Class C North could have some movement depending on the season finales.
Stearns (15-2) leads Dexter (14-4) by 5.5 points while Calais (18-0) is third, two points behind Dexter. Pending Saturday’s makeup game against Fort Kent, Fort Fairfield (14-4) is fourth, 4.5 points behind Calais.
Dexter upset Stearns 36-34 in Millinocket on Wednesday.
Piscataquis Community High of Guilford (9-9) holds 10th spot and has improved by four games over last season. No. 9 Hodgdon (13-5) is three games better.
Everything is settled in Class D North with Southern Aroostook (17-0), Deer Isle-Stonington (16-2), Katahdin (13-4), Shead of Eastport (12-6), Wisdom of St. Agatha (11-7), Washburn (9-9) and Schenck (8-9) securely in the tournament. Ashland (8-10) hosts Jonesport Beals (6-12) in a prelim.
Wisdom’s five-win improvement and Katahdin’s plus-four are the top improvements in that division.