June 25, 2018
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Resilient Bangor boys basketball team off to quick start

By Ernie Clark, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — Bangor High School’s 53-48 overtime victory at Brunswick on Saturday was just the latest example of the competitiveness being shown early in the basketball season by coach Ed Kohtala’s club.

After dropping their season opener to defending Eastern Maine Class A champion Hampden Academy — a game in which Bangor rallied from a 16-point deficit to within three before finally falling by a 52-41 count — the Rams rebounded from a game-starting 11-0 deficit to win their road opener at Messalonskee of Oakland 67-57, also in overtime.

After overpowering Skowhegan for its second straight victory, Bangor came from behind twice within a 20-hour span over the weekend to improve its record to 4-1.

The Rams trailed rival Brewer by four points entering the fourth quarter Friday night before securing a 56-49 victory.

Bangor then spotted Brunswick an 8-0 lead the following afternoon and never got back to as much as a tie until junior guard Alex Campbell made a 3-pointer with nine seconds left in regulation. Brunswick then scored the first four points of overtime before Bangor ended the extra period with a 9-0 run good for its second overtime victory of the season.

Making the comebacks even more noteworthy is the fact that the Bangor roster includes just one player who had made a single varsity start before this season — Campbell, in a regular-season game at Mt. Blue of Farmington last winter.

The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Rams, ranked third in the latest Eastern Maine Class A Heal points. After traveling to South Paris for Thursday’s game at Oxford Hills, Bangor visits 5-0 Edward Little of Auburn on Saturday before returning home to face 4-1 Lawrence of Fairfield on Tuesday, Jan. 1.

Vikings’ Graffam nets 300th win

Oxford Hills boys basketball coach Scott Graffam earned his 300th career varsity victory last Friday night as the Vikings topped Mt. Blue of Farmington 66-26 at South Paris.

Graffam is in his 31st year as a varsity basketball coach, with this his second stint at Oxford Hills.

He originally coached the Vikings from 1982-83 through 1990-91, leading Oxford Hills to the 1990 Western Maine Class A championship.

Graffam then spent two years at Scarborough, followed by six years at Medomak Valley of Waldoboro, before returning to Oxford Hills beginning with the 1999-2000 season.

Oxford Hills is 2-3 this season in Eastern A heading into a 2 p.m. home game Thursday against Bangor.

Key games top light slate

No games were on the schedule for Christmas Eve and Christmas, and the regular-season boys basketball slate remains light for the rest of the week, but there are some important games on the docket.

They begin Wednesday night when 4-0 Hodgdon invades 5-0 Houlton in a battle of Aroostook County unbeatens.

The following afternoon — weather permitting, given a forecast for snow Thursday — Mount Desert Island of Bar Harbor and Ellsworth invade The County, with 2-1 MDI at 4-1 Presque Isle and 3-2 Ellsworth at 2-1 Caribou in a pair of Big East Conference Class B encounters.

Those matchups switch Friday afternoon when Ellsworth visits Presque Isle and MDI is at Caribou.

Highlighting the Friday night schedule is a Class A game sending unbeaten Hampden Academy to Brewer. Hampden has won its first five games by an average of 33 points, while 2-3 Brewer has been competitive even in defeat, losing to three of the top six teams in the Eastern A Heal points — Bangor, Lawrence of Fairfield and Lewiston — by an average of 6.3 points.

Then on Saturday afternoon comes the rematch of last year’s double-overtime battle in the Eastern C semifinals as Penquis Valley of Milo (4-0) takes on two-time defending Eastern Maine champion Lee Academy (4-0).

That’s followed at 6:30 p.m. by a Class A clash that sends Bangor to Edward Little.

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