The high school basketball rivalry between Bangor and Brewer will return to the Bangor Auditorium for the second straight year Thursday when the Rams and Witches square off in a boys and girls varsity doubleheader to end the regular season.
Game times are 5:30 p.m. for the girls and 7 p.m. for the boys.
There had been no Class A basketball at the auditorium since the Eastern Maine regional tournament in that division was moved to Augusta in 2006 until the two schools decided to play their mutual regular-season finales at the facility last year.
The move was designed by school officials to give their teams a chance to play at the historic Main Street venue, to ensure all fans had access to the games after earlier meetings between the teams had resulted in sellouts, and to continue fostering good sportsmanship between the rival programs.
Both games last year also had postseason implications, as the Bangor girls edged Brewer 48-45 to earn a trip to the playoffs while the Bangor boys pulled away from the Witches in the fourth quarter for a 58-35 victory that denied Brewer a tournament berth.
Thursday’s games similarly could help determine playoff fates for the two schools.
In the girls contest, Brewer began the week eighth in Eastern A with an 8-8 record, nearly 18 Heal points ahead of No. 9 Oxford Hills of South Paris, while 5-11 Bangor is 10th, one point behind Oxford Hills for the final postseason berth in the division.
Bangor visits 2-14 Lawrence at Fairfield on Tuesday, and may need victories against both the Bulldogs and Brewer as well as some losses by 8-8 Oxford Hills — who host 13-3 Edward Little of Auburn on Tuesday and visit 11-5 Mt. Blue of Farmington on Thursday — in order to surpass the Vikings and advance to next week’s preliminary round.
The Brewer boys, 6-10 as the week began, face a scenario similar to the Bangor girls. The Witches are 10th, less than three Heal points behind No. 9 Oxford Hills (5-11) and eight points behind No. 8 Cony of Augusta (6-10).
Brewer is at 3-13 Skowhegan on Tuesday and may need a win against Bangor as well as help from Oxford Hills’ opponents — the Vikings visit 10-6 Edward Little on Tuesday and host 12-4 Mt. Blue on Thursday — to move into the top nine and earn a postseason berth.
The fourth-ranked Bangor boys, meanwhile, are headed for the regional quarterfinals with a 12-4 record entering Tuesday’s home game against No. 5 Lawrence, 10-6. Lawrence edged Bangor 45-41 in their earlier meeting this winter on Jan. 3 at Fairfield.
Team of the year nominees sought
Nominees are being sought for the 2012 Maine High School Basketball Team of the Year award sponsored by the Maine Red Claws and the Maine McDonald’s Owner/Operator Association.
The award honors two Maine high school varsity basketball teams — one boys and one girls — based on community service, sportsmanship and academic excellence.
Each winning team will each receive $1,000 for their school’s basketball programs and will be recognized at the Maine McDonald’s All-Star Games on March 10 at Husson University in Bangor and at a Red Claws game this spring.
Criteria for the award includes the following: contribution to community; exemplifying sportsmanship; team competitiveness and spirit; and commitment to academic excellence.
Coaches, parents, principals, community organizations, athletic administrators and anyone knowing of a Maine varsity high school basketball team meeting the criteria are encouraged to submit a nomination form. Nomination forms are available at: vote.mainemcdonaldsbasketball.org/public-voting. Submissions may be done electronically or printed and completed manually. Completed nomination forms must be received by Feb. 17.
For information, contact Kevin Mitchell at Rinck Advertising, 755-9470, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A committee comprised of representatives from McDonald’s of Maine, Maine Red Claws, and the Maine Association of Basketball Coaches will review the nominations and select the winning teams.