The Lee Academy postgraduate basketball team plays its first home games of the season this weekend, and the opposition is no slouch.
Coach Andrew Papaefthemiou’s club will host the top-ranked prep team in the country, Notre Dame Prep of Fitchburg, Mass.
Game times are 7 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday, with tickets to each game $4 for adults and $2 for children in kindergarten through grade 12 and senior citizens.
Both teams are loaded with Division I talent. Lee Academy features Anthony Joseph Perez Cortesia, a 16-year-old 6-foot-9 forward from Sucre, Venezuela. A high school junior, Cortesia already is drawing the attention of such major college programs as Kansas State and Wake Forest.
“Anthony’s got a pretty good skill set, he shoots the ball well, he reads defenses and he has an innate feel for the game,” said Papaefthemiou.
Other top players for the Pandas include 6-9 center Keith Coleman, 7-foot center Thanos Thados — who has verbally committed to Cal-Irvine — and 5-10 point guard Rodney Beldo. Beldo will be sidelined for Friday’s game, creating more playing time for former All-Maine point guard Ben Teer of Washington Academy in East Machias.
“Ben is doing well,” said Papaefthemiou. “He’s shooting the ball real well, and he’s a gym rat who works very hard.”
Teer is one of two Mainers on the Lee squad, along with shooting guard Koang Thok of Portland.
Notre Dame Prep includes several players who already have committed to major-college programs, led by 6-8 forward Angel Nunez (Louisville) and 6-9 junior forward Khem Birch (Pittsburgh). Others who have made their college plans include 6-6 forwards Trahson Burrell (Rhode Island) and Grandy Glaze (Nevada-Las Vegas).