Two Down East basketball teams affirmed their status atop the Eastern Maine Class B and C schoolboy basketball standings with impressive road victories Monday evening.
The Ellsworth Eagles earned their fifth straight victory by holding on for a 69-64 Class B victory at previously undefeated Presque Isle, while Washington Academy of East Machias built an 18-point halftime lead at defending Class C state champion Calais before emerging with a 72-63 victory.
Ellsworth is now 6-1, with its only loss an 85-77 decision at Washington Academy on Dec. 11, while Washington Academy is 6-0 this winter and winner of 23 of its last 24 regular-season contests over the last two seasons.
Both teams feature potent offenses, with Washington Academy averaging 72.0 points per game while Ellsworth is scoring 64.3 points per outing.
Coach Peter Austin’s Ellsworth club is led by one of the region’s top scorers in swingman Ryan Petros, who scored 23 points against Presque Isle in the teams’ lone meeting of the regular season.
The lefthander is averaging 22.1 points per contest to lead an attack that also has featured considerable contributions from Brad Folmer, Ross Saunders and Andrew Austin.
Washington Academy features a talented trio of seniors, guards Ben Teer and Noah Von Rotz and forward Bryce Colbeth, who combined 58 points in the win over Calais and all are averaging in double figures for first-year head coach Steve Pineo’s club.
Teer also leads the Raiders in assists, though he also had a 36-point outburst in his team’s win over Ellsworth.
Colbeth is the top rebounder for a WA club that is one of just six surviving undefeated teams in Eastern Maine boys basketball entering Tuesday night’s play, along with Class A Brunswick, Class B Camden Hills of Rockport, Class C Stearns of Millinocket, and Class D Central Aroostook of Mars Hill and Jonesport-Beals.
While Ellsworth is idle until squaring off against John Bapst of Bangor on Saturday at the Bangor Auditorium, Washington Academy must be wary of having a letdown Wednesday night when it travels to Orono. The Red Riots are just 3-4, but three of the losses — to Schenck of East Millinocket, George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill and Foxcroft Academy, have come by four points each.
Ellsworth and Washington Academy will meet again Jan. 5 at Katsiaficas Gymnasium in Ellsworth.