When the Bangor and Mt. Blue of Farmington boys basketball teams square off in an Eastern Maine Class A semifinal at the Augusta Civic Center on Wednesday night, more than 1,000 career victories will be represented on the sidelines.
Roger Reed, who earned his 500th win during the 2008 season, now stands at 554 victories during a 38-year high school coaching career that includes 12 years at Bangor Christian and the last 26 years at Bangor High School, where he has led the Rams to seven state championships.
Jim Bessey, who earned his 400th win during the 2007 season, now stands at 463 victories during his 36 years as a varsity coach, 32 at Mt. Blue and four at Madison.
Combined, the 71-year-old Reed and 68-year-old Bessey — both graduates of the University of Maine at Farmington — have 1,017 career coaching victories.
Two of Reed’s wins this season have come at Bessey’s expense, as top-ranked Bangor (18-1) defeated No. 4 Mt. Blue (15-4) 49-35 at Farmington on Jan. 11 and 63-47 at Red Barry Gymnasium in Bangor on Feb. 8.
The Bangor-Mt. Blue matchus is set for 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, just after the first semifinal between No. 2 Hampden Academy (16-3) and No. 3 Edward Little of Auburn (18-1). Hampden won its only previous meeting of the season with EL, outscoring the two-time defending Eastern A champions 73-65 at home on Jan. 4.
East A finals a single session
Friday’s Eastern Maine Class A boys and girls basketball finals at the Augusta Civic Center will be held as a single session, rather than the separate sessions held for the two games in recent years.
Dick Durost, executive director of the Maine Principals’ Association, said a single session has been the normal practice for the Western A regional finals, and that the MPA’s basketball committee opted to switch back to a single session for the Eastern A finals believing the Augusta venue could hold the combined crowds for the two games.
Anticipation of large crowds several years ago after the Eastern A tournament was moved from Bangor to Augusta was the original reason for splitting the regional finals into separate sessions.
Game times Friday are 7 p.m. for the girls game and approximately 8:45 p.m. for the boys games.