Amid all of the talk about parity within the Eastern Maine Class A boys basketball ranks this season, the four most dominant schools in the division throughout the last half-decade or more have survived to play in Wednesday night’s regional semifinals at the Augusta Civic Center.
In fact, Bangor, Edward Little of Auburn, Hampden Academy and Mt. Blue of Farmington have combined to win every regional title in the division since Brunswick defeated Bangor 54-42 in the 2004 EM final.
Hampden advanced to the state final in 2005 and 2006, Bangor in 2007, 2008 and 2011 and Edward Little in 2009 and 2010, with that trio also producing three state champions — Hampden in 2005 and Bangor in 2007 and 2011.
But perhaps most impressive about the consistency of the four programs is that of the 20 regional semifinal berths available since the start of the 2006-07 season, the combination of Bangor, EL, Hampden and Mt. Blue have earned 16 of those spots.
This year’s semifinal field includes the same four participants as a year ago, when Bangor defeated Mt. Blue 41-34 and Edward Little outlasted Hampden 70-65.
Before that, three of those four schools advanced at least that far in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
Bangor has reached the semifinals in each of the last five years, winning two state titles over that span, while Edward Little has advanced to the EM final each of the last four years with a 2-2 record in those games.
Mt. Blue qualified for the semifinals in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011 only to be ousted in that round each year.
Hampden reached the semifinals in 2007, 2010 and 2011 before being eliminated, and in 2007 entered the tournament as the No. 8 seed before ousting top-ranked EL in the quarterfinals.
Wednesday night’s semifinal doubleheader begins with No. 3 Mt. Blue (15-4) against No. 7 Edward Little (12-7) at 7 p.m., followed at approximately 8:30 by No. 1 Hampden Academy (18-1) against No. 5 Bangor (14-5).
Hampden owns two narrow regular-season victories over Bangor, 56-48 at home in overtime to open the season last Dec. 9, and 42-39 at Bangor on Jan. 20.
Mt. Blue won its only meeting with EL this season, 58-50 at Farmington on Jan. 10.