Saturday’s Class A boys basketball state final will feature two programs that are familiar with each other — and not just on the basketball court.
Bangor and Cheverus have met in four previous basketball finals, with Cheverus defeating the Rams 24-17 in 1940, 35-34 in 1948 and 49-41 in 2008 and Bangor edging the Stags 48-43 in 2003.
But the most recent meeting of the two schools in athletic competition came at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland last November, when Cheverus scored 37 unanswered points after intermission to defeat Bangor 46-8 in the Class A football state championship game,
Bangor center Josiah Hartley was the Rams’ starting tailback in that state final, rushing for 79 yards and adding 64 yards in pass receptions, while basketball reserve Nick Sherwood had 103 yards worth of pass receptions and scored Bangor’s only touchdown on a 36-yard pass from quarterback Joe Seccareccia.
The leading scorer for the Cheverus basketball team, junior forward Louis DiStasio, was a starting wide receiver for the Stags’ football team who also kicked a 27-yard field goal in the state final.
And another key cog to Cheverus’ basketball success this winter, Peter Gwilym, quarterbacked the Stags to the football state championship with 57 rushing yards and 80 passing yards. He went on to win the Fitzpatrick Trophy symbolic of the state’s top senior player-sportsman.
“It will be exciting to have another Saturday with them,” said Hartley.
Rams seek soccer-basketball double
Five Bangor players including starting point guard Luke Hetterman will have the chance to achieve a unique double Saturday.
No school has won Class A state championships in both boys soccer and boys basketball in the same school year since the Maine Principals’ Association first began holding state soccer tournaments in 1970.
But Bangor won the Class A soccer crown last fall with a 3-2 win over Portland, and now the Rams’ boys basketball team has a chance to match that achievement when it plays Cheverus of Portland in its state final Saturday evening.
“Chances like this don’t come around often,” said Hetterman, who also plays baseball for Bangor. “I want three this year, so we’re going to go out and try our best.”
Other Bangor soccer players on the basketball team are Jacques Larochelle, Seth Freudenberger, Brandon Thayer and John Szewczyk.
The Bangor boys basketball team wasn’t sure what kind of contribution it would get from Hartley in Tuesday night’s Eastern Maine Class A final after he had been ill for several days and spent part of Monday evening in a local emergency room.
So Rams coach Roger Reed and his staff devised a contingency plan that involved using a smaller lineup — which meant more playing time for senior sixth man Jacques Larochelle.
Hartley was able to play nearly all of the game despite the aftereffects of his illness, but when frontcourt mate Patrick Stewart fell into early foul trouble, the contingency plan came into play anyway.
And while Larochelle did not score, the 5-11 guard delivered a perimeter defensive effort that helped Bangor earn a 41-38 victory over two-time defending champion Edward Little of Auburn and drew raves from his coach.
“Jacques does a great job for us, and tonight he was really, really good defensively for us,” said Reed. “He’s always an unsung hero for us, but we know what we have in Jacques and I can’t say enough about him. He really helped our defense throughout the night and when Patrick was in foul trouble on the bench he logged some big minutes for us and was right there all the time.”
Like mothers, like daughters?
Two members of the Eastern Maine Class A champion Hampden Academy girls basketball team will have the chance to achieve something their mothers did a generation ago.
Senior guard Michaela Stephenson’s mother, Cindy Rand Stephenson, led Hampden to its only previous state title in 1976. The Broncos outlasted Mt. Blue of Farmington 66-65 in overtime to win the Class A state title in just the second year of the modern schoolgirls tournament format.
Six years later, Lucienne Dandaneau Moore, mother of current Hampden senior forward Whitney Moore, was a captain on the 1982 Bangor team that won that school’s lone state title in girls basketball with a 59-44 win over South Portland.
This year’s Hampden team will play Catherine McAuley of Portland on Saturday for the 2011 Class A state crown. Game time is 4 p.m. at the Augusta Civic Center.