June 23, 2018
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Down memory lane: 55 years of EM tourneys at the Bangor Auditorium

By Bob Cimbollek, Special to the BDN

 The Bangor Auditorium opened its doors in the fall of 1955 and the Eastern Maine Tournament held the next February had Bangor winning the Eastern Class L, Lincoln taking Eastern M and Beals capturing Eastern S.
 There have been many exciting memories over the past 55 years in the nearly 2,500 Eastern Maine tournament games at the Auditorium. I have many I relish as games, teams of the decades, individual performances and unforgettable moments.
 With the Auditorium possibly being torn down in the future tourney time just around the corner, it is time to go down memory lane at the “Old Barn” for the Eastern Maine tournaments.
Games, in chronological order:
— 1966: Eighth-seeded John Bapst’s upset of No. 1 seed Stearns in an EM Class A quarterfinal when Stearns was seeking its fourth consecutive EM title. 
— 1972: No. 8 Bangor’s upset of undefeated Houlton in an EM Class A quarterfinal.

— 1986: Dexter’s win over Rockland in 5 overtimes with the leaky roof.
— 1988: Ellsworth’s Tim Scott’s performance in bringing Ellsworth back from a double-digit deficit in 1 minute, 59 seconds to beat Mattanawcook Academy.
— 1990: Brewer’s quarterfinal win over Mt. Blue as Jason Leighton’s 3-point shot from half-court sends the Witches to the Eastern A semifinals.
— 2007: Hermon’s 3-overtime win over Ellsworth with Corey Dewitt scoring 52 points to lead the Eagles past Hermon in a quarterfinal A game.

Teams of the decades with the most Eastern Maine championships at the Auditorium:
1950s: Bangor boys 2 L championships.
1960s: Orono boys 5 L Championship and Stearns boys 4 LL Championships.

1970s: Jonesport-Beals boys 6 consecutive championships.
1980s: Houlton girls 5 consecutive B championships.
1990s: Lawrence girls 4 consecutive A championships.
2000s: Bangor boys 5 A championships, Camden-Hills boys 5 Eastern Maine B championships, Calais boys 5 Eastern Maine 5 championships.
Individual performances:

Boys, most points scored in a game, by class.
Class A: 1966, Bill Burney (Cony) 53.
Class B: 2007, Corey DeWitt (Ellsworth) 52; 1985, Matt Rossignol (Van Buren) 51.
Class C: 1986, Allen Madore (Van Buren) 54 (prelim game, not at Auditorium).
Class D: 1991, Matt Baker (Washburn) 46.
Girls, most points scored in a game, by class

Class A: 1994, Cindy Blodgett (Lawrence) 47
Class B: 1981, Emily Ellis (Mount View) 43
Class C: 1988, Stephanie Carter (Schenck) 46; 1997, Kerri Russell (Penquis) 46
Class D: 1997, Tricia Carver (Jonesport-Beals) 43

Unforgettable moments (in no particular order):
— Cony’s Gary Towle’s shot when he was lying on the floor and the ball hit the floor and bounced into the basket.
— Leighton’s 3-pointer from beyond half-court to beat Mt. Blue in a 1990 quarterfinal game.
— Blodgett’s 47 points in Eastern Maine A final against Cony with a huge crowd in attendance, probably one of the largest crowds ever to watch a girls game at the Auditorium.
— Ellsworth’s 1988 comeback down 11 points with 1:59 left in the game, led by Tim Scott.
— The 5-overtime game with the leaky roof as Dexter edged Rockland in the Eastern Maine B Final in 1986, which ended at about 12:25 a.m. Probably greatest high school game ever played at the Auditorium.
— The Cony boys’ 121 points in 1969 to set the Auditorium and EM tourney record for points in a game.
— Carl Daigle’s 39 points in quarterfinal game as Bangor scored 88 points to break the L record for points in a game. This was a quarterfinal in the first L tournament held in the Bangor Auditorium.
Remember, these are Eastern Maine tourney games not state games at the Auditorium.
I am sure I have left out many other memorable games, teams and individuals but space would allow just what I have mentioned. I apologize for any I left out or overlooked. Will any of the Eastern tourney games this year match any of the above?

Trivia Question: What were the sites for the Eastern Maine Class L tourney and the M and S tourneys before the Bangor Auditorium opened up in 1956? (Answer next week).

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