5 big changes from the new Maine high school basketball classification proposal
By Adam Robinson, Bangor Daily News Staff
The Maine Principals’ Association Basketball Committee has approved a new draft for classifications that is awaiting approval by the Classification Committee on Jan. 19. Here are five changes you should be aware of moving forward.
Class AA is gone
The demolition of Class AA is easily the biggest story from the newest classification draft approved by the MPA’s Basketball Committee on Thursday.
Currently, there are nine teams in Class AA North and eight in AA South. In the new classification, Class AA would be gone and replaced with just Class A. Current AA North teams Bangor, Hampden, Lewiston, Oxford Hills and Edward Little would move to A North. Joining them in that division would be current Class A teams Brewer, Skowhegan, Brunswick, Messalonskee and Mt. Ararat.
Mt. Ararat and Brunswick would move from A South to A North.
These changes are based on the schools that have enrollment numbers of more than 701 students. The changes would create exciting new matchups. Brewer already plays Bangor and Hampden during the regular season but will now see juggernauts like Oxford Hills, Lewiston and Edward Little.
Cheverus joins the South
The Stags would play in Class A South next year, leaving AA North and joining teams closer to their school, such as Scarboriough and Thornton Academy. Joining Cheverus from North to South would be Deering, Windham and Portland.
On both the boys and girls sides, these new matchups would be exciting for teams and fans. It would also cut down on travel for the new A South teams as they wouldn’t have to travel to Bangor and Hampden as often.
Orono leaves Class B
The Orono Red Riots would leave Class B and join Class C North, which would include schools with enrollments between 251 and 400 students. Ellsworth would stay in Class B, possibly ending a growing rivalry between the two squads in boys basketball.
Foxcroft Academy and Bucksport would join Orono in Class C, giving Dexter more competition in C North. The addition of new teams would make an already competitive C North even more interesting.
Nokomis, Mt. Blue and Cony are among teams that would drop from Class A to Class B under the new proposal.
New Class D teams
Hodgdon, Madawaska and Central Aroostook are among the teams that would make the switch from Class C North to Class D.
It would give a new crop of opponents for Southern Aroostook, whose boys and girls basketball teams have both been on hot streaks recently in the tournament. Both teams won Class D state titles last winter, with the girls team winning three of the last four Class D titles.
Class S is added to the list
Class S is a brand new class featuring 22 teams from all over Maine, from Greater Portland Christian to Wisdom. It would be one statewide division featuring schools with enrollments of 100 students and fewer.
Mike Bisson, the assistant executive director of the MPA, told the Bangor Daily News that the MPA plans to leave flex spots open at all tournament sites for Class S teams to play games based on the travel distances of the two teams playing.
“If it’s an Aroostook County team versus a Down East team you would play in Bangor, but if it’s Greater Portland Christian versus Forest Hills you could play in Augusta or Portland,” Bisson said.
There are many changes in the draft that will need approval from the Classification Committee on Jan. 19. If the Classification Committee approves it, and the full committee approves it in the spring, Maine high school basketball will look very different a year from now.