Only three weeks remain in regular-season play in high school basketball, and the Woodland girls are in their usual spot near the top of the Heal points.
Only this time, it’s in Class C.
Coach Arnie Clark’s club, which won its second straight gold ball in Class D last winter, has won nine consecutive games after a Dec. 12 setback to Washington Academy of East Machias.
Even though the Dragons are currently in third place — Foxcroft Academy holds down the No. 1 spot — Woodland likely won’t have enough pointworthy games remaining on its schedule to challenge for a top ranking come February.
“Both Foxcroft and Central, they have much better schedules than we do, quite a few more points on their schedules than we do, we’ll probably end up third or fourth, maybe fifth,” said Clark.
Regardless, once the tournament opens anything can happen.
“That’s true, and that’s something we have never really focused on, where we are,” Clark said.
Foxcroft and Central both dropped down from Class B this winter, and the Ponies are 9-2 and Red Devils 12-0.
Woodland is playing like a team that could challenge for regional and state supremacy in Class C, and it all begins with defense, a trademark of Clark’s teams.
“That’s how we survive is on our defense,” he said. “We agree that it’s important and we certainly work at it.”
It’s also important to have a balanced offense, as Christine Boomer, Ashley Laking, Ariel Knights, Taylor Cochran and Molly White have been among those who have contributed to the scoring.
“We have kids that can score,” Clark said. “We don’t have people that we have to rely on to get 20 for us in order for us to win.”
Woodland still has a pointworthy home game remaining in neighboring rival Calais on Jan. 29.
Continuing to soar
The Hermon cheerleading squad has set high expectations this winter, and rightfully so, as the Hawks are reigning regional and Class B state champs.
Coach Kristie Reed’s squad has things off on the right foot, having won its first two competitions (PVC, Big East), heading into Saturday’s regional championships at the Bangor Auditorium.
The incentives are certainly there for the Hawks’ three seniors — Abbe Curtis, Cortney Hawes and Makelle Jarvis — who have been together for quite a while.
“We’ve been cheering together ever since we were in fourth grade,” Curtis said. “We really want to take it home this year, definitely.”
Even though the Hawks’ routine was fairly clean Saturday, they know that they can’t be satisfied, especially in a sport where anything can happen.
“There’s a couple things we need to work on and we’re going to get on that as soon as possible,” said Jarvis.
Reed, who coached at Brewer through the 2008 season, has seen her team grow every time it steps on the mat.
“They’re just building their confidence this season, they came back from last year with high expectations,” Reed said.
Even though Hermon’s goal Saturday was to come out of the Big East competition with a win, it also provided a chance to fine-tune some things for bigger competitions.
“It’s just another time out on the mat,” Reed said. “Next week it’s really big because you have to come in the top six to make it to states so it really, really counts. They performed it [Saturday] like it was fun.”
A big week in Class B
Camden Hills of Rockport’s dramatic victory over Nokomis of Newport last Friday really shook up the Class B girls basketball ranks.
The Windjammers, who only won four games last year, are sitting in fourth place while Nokomis is fifth. Both teams have five games to play.
Presque Isle, MDI and Winslow hold down the top three spots, and more shaking up could transpire this week.
The Wildcats will travel to Bar Harbor on Wednesday to play the Trojans at 5 p.m., with the winner holding the inside track on a potential top spot.
Coach Brent Barker’s Trojans are 11-1 heading into Wednesday’s matchup while Presque Isle was 13-0 after defeating Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln 41-30 on Monday.
MDI was slated to play Class C contender Washington Academy of East Machias Monday, but inclement weather postponed that contest to Jan. 30.
Also this week, Waterville plays Nokomis Friday in a possible tournament preview — the Purple Panthers edged the Warriors by two on the season’s opening night — while MDI will play at Hermon in what could be another tourney preview, also Friday.