Every team that qualifies for the high school basketball tournament has its own tale to tell, but here might be a few of the more intriguing story lines to follow during the coming week.
A generation ago, the Baron of Van Buren made his way from the St. John Valley to the Bangor Auditorium, wowing crowds with his flashy, high-scoring ways before moving on to a successful career at the University of Maine.
Now Matt Rossignol is coaching a Van Buren girls squad led by his daughter, the even higher-scoring Parise Rossignol.
The younger Rossignol, a 5-foot-7-inch sophomore guard, will make her Bangor Auditorium debut with the Crusaders on Monday night in an Eastern Maine Class D quarterfinal against Shead of Eastport.
Parise Rossignol required just the first 32 games of her high school career to surpass 1,000 career points, and is on a pace to break Cindy Blodgett’s state record of 2,596 points. Blodgett, who played for Class A Lawrence of Fairfield during the early 1990s, didn’t score her 1,000th point until the state championship game of her sophomore year.
The Van Buren-Shead quarterfinal, incidentally, is a rematch of a preliminary-round game last year won by the Tigerettes 52-50 despite 39 points by Rossignol.
Amid all the valid talk of parity in the Eastern A boys ranks, the Hampden Academy Broncos finished atop the division with a 17-1 record — with the lone loss coming after coach Russ Bartlett’s rallied from a game-starting 21-2 deficit at Lewiston only to lose by three points.
Hampden is a deserving favorite given its ability to pull out all of the other close contests it faced during the regular season — but there are plenty of challengers lurking.
All in the family
Will the husband-and-wife coaching tandem of Travis and Karen Magnusson each win a title?
They went a combined 35-1 during the regular season, with Karen Magnusson leading the Cony of Augusta girls to an 18-0 record good for first place in Eastern A while Travis Magnusson guided the Dirigo of Dixfield boys to a 17-1 record and first place in Western C.
The Mount Desert Island boys basketball team has had its most successful regular season in school history, its 18-0 record three games better than any previous finish.
Now the top-seeded Trojans — the only undefeated boys team in Eastern Maine and one of just two statewide — hope to overcome some more history on the road to their first Eastern B title.
No Big East Conference team has won that regional title since Hermon in 2000, with Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference schools advancing to the state final in each of the last 11 years.
MDI’s path toward breaking that streak begins in Saturday’s quarterfinals against the school most symbolic of that KVAC dominance, Camden Hills of Rockport, which has won five state titles and seven Eastern B crowns since the Big East last broke through.
And the eighth-seeded Windjammers could be a dangerous first-round foe, particularly with sophomore forward Colin Morse now back in the lineup after missing his team’s last 14 regular-season games due to an ankle injury.
The two-time defending Eastern B champion Nokomis of Newport and Presque Isle girls teams seemingly have been on a collision course since the start of the season, and if they are to meet it will be as undefeated rivals playing for a regional championship.
Both teams enter postseason play at 18-0, Presque Isle ranked first and Nokomis second.
But despite being in different conferences, Presque Isle in the Big East and Nokomis in the KVAC, they are familiar foes, having met in the semifinals each of the last two years.
In both years Presque Isle entered the tourney as the top seed, but in each case fourth-ranked Nokomis advanced with a six-point victory.