AUGUSTA — Since yielding 65 points in a season-opening loss at Hampden Academy, the Bangor boys basketball team has not allowed more than 49 points to an opponent while reeling off 20 consecutive victories.
Undefeated Cheverus of Portland, meanwhile, has allowed no more than 51 points in any game this season while reeling off 21 consecutive victories.
Bangor allowed 680 points during the regular season, an average of 37.7 points per contest, and 110 points during the Eastern Maine Class A tournament, an average of 36.6 points per game.
Cheverus allowed 684 points during the regular season, an average of 38.0 points per contest, and 108 points during the Western A tournament, an average of 36.0 points per contest.
So take the under when these teams meet for the state championship at the Augusta Civic Center on Saturday night?
“I expect it will be a tight game,” said Bangor coach Roger Reed. “If it’s high scoring, it will be surprising to me.”
Both teams feature tall and talented frontcourts.
Bangor is led up front by 6-foot-3 senior forward Zach Blodgett, 6-6 junior forward Patrick Stewart and 6-4 senior center Josiah Hartley, who practiced with the team for the first time since late last week on Thursday after recovering from illness — though he did come off the sick bed to score 13 points and lead the Rams’ defense in their 41-38 win over Edward Little of Auburn in Tuesday night’s Eastern Maine final.
Cheverus, the defending state champion, has a lineup that includes four players 6-foot-3 or taller in 6-9 sophomore center Matt Cimino, 6-6 senior Griffin Brady, 6-3 senior Connor O’Neil and 6-3 junior Louis DiStasio, the team’s leading scorer at 14.3 points per game and the MVP of the Western A tournament.
“We’re tall and lanky and they look to be a little stronger, a little bit more physical than we are,” said Cheverus coach Bob Brown.
Joey Savino, a 5-10 senior, handles point guard duties for Brown’s squad, with 6-2 Peter Gwilym, who quarterbacked Cheverus to a 46-8 victory over Bangor in last fall’s Class A football state final, leading what is considered a deep bench that enables the Stags to apply full-court defensive pressure before settling into to a matchup zone.
“That will be a key to the game, how we handle the press,” said Reed.
Bangor counters in the backcourt with seniors Tristan Thomas and Luke Hetterman, with depth coming primarily from guards Jacques Larochelle and Nick Sherwood and forwards Sean Mackintosh and Seth Freudenberger.
“Bangor’s a really good team,” said Brown. “They have one of everything you need. They have a point guard who knows his role, some big kids inside, they have shooters, they rebound well and offensively they can pound it inside and eventually wear you down.”
Both teams have a rich postseason history. Bangor has won 11 state championships, including seven under Reed, most recently in 2007. Cheverus has won eight state titles, including two in the last three years (2008 and 2010) under Brown.
“We’ll have to play one of our best games against them,” said Reed. “I don’t think we’ve played our best game yet, but probably they haven’t played their best game yet, either.”