Brunswick earns No. 4 seed in Eastern A; Hyde, Morse out
The 2009 Eastern Class A girls’ basketball tournament began with a bang Tuesday night when No. 10 Mt. Ararat went to traditional powerhouse and longtime nemesis, No. 7 Cony, and pulled off a stunning 45-42 victory.
That win sent the Eagles into Friday’s quarterfinal round against No. 2 Edward Little at the Augusta Civic Center.
Mt. Ararat, which went 8-10 in the regular season, a mark which included a pair of losses to the Rams (55-39 in Augusta Dec. 16 and 47-44 at home Feb. 5), turned the tables in round three.
The Eagles hung close in the first half, trailing 10-6 after one period and 17-15 at the break. Mt. Ararat exploded in the third and led by as many as eight, but Cony rallied and the game went down to the wire. Tess Hitchcock was the hero, scoring on a putback to put her team ahead to stay, and the Eagles finally exhaled when a last-chance 3-pointer was off the mark.
Mt. Ararat will square off against an Edward Little (16-2) team it dropped two close decisions to in the regular season: 45-40 in the opener Dec. 6 in Auburn and 40-38 Jan. 8They play at home Friday at 4:30 p.m.
The winner of that game will face either No. 3 Messalonskee (16-2) or No. 11 Leavitt (9-9) in the semifinal round Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. in Augusta.
The Eagles didn’t face Messalonskee this season. The were swept by the Hornets, 40-37 at home Dec. 30 and 59-47 in Turner Jan. 27.
Brunswick already punched its ticket to the quarterfinals. The Dragons (12-6 in the regular season) earned the No. 4 seed and will square off against No. 5 Oxford Hills (14-4) at 7 p.m. in Augusta.
Brunswick opened the season with a 36-33 win at Oxford Hills. On Jan. 8, the Dragons lost 52-42 at home to the defending regional champion Vikings.
The winner advances to Wednesday’s semifinals to meet either No. 1 Skowhegan (15-3) or No. 9 Lawrence (12-6) at 4 p.m. in Augusta.
Brunswick did not play either team this year.
Morse wasn’t as fortunate, going 2-16 this season and failing to qualify for the playoffs.
In Western C, Hyde’s season came to an end Tuesday with a 45-39 preliminary round loss to Hall-Dale.
The Phoenix dropped their final five regular season games to wind up 7-7 and 10th in the region, forcing them to travel to No. 7 Hall-Dale Tuesday night. Hyde stayed close throughout, but the Bulldogs had too much down the stretch to end the Phoenix’s season at 7-8.
Looking ahead, the Eastern Class A Final is Friday, Feb. 20 at 4 p.m. in Augusta. The Class A state game is also in Augusta this year, Saturday, Feb. 28 beginning at 7 p.m.
Brunswick senior standout Claire Baecher is hoping to lead the Dragons deep into the Eastern A playoffs. (File photo)