It has been a long time since the Hampden Academy girls basketball team hoisted a gold ball.
It was 1976 and the Broncos beat Mt. Blue High of Farmington 66-65 in overtime in the Class A state final.
The Broncos did get another crack at a state title in 2011 but lost to Catherine McAuley of Portland 39-23.
First-year head coach Nick Winchester and the Broncos will try to end the long state championship drought on Thursday night in Portland when they take on Greely High of Cumberland Center.
Both teams enter the contest at 19-2. Hampden Academy was the top seed in Class A North while Greely was the second seed in A South but upset top seed Brunswick in the regional final.
Here’s the lineup of state championship games in chronological order:
Class A: Hampden Academy (17-2) vs. Greely (17-2), 6 p.m., Thursday, Cross Insurance Arena, Portland: The Broncos feature 6-foot-3 junior center Bailey Donovan, who averaged 12.3 points, 11 rebounds and five blocked shots per game in the Class A North tourney, along with a seasoned group of seniors in Marissa Gilpin, Sophia Narofsky, Braylee Wildman, Brooklynn Scott and Peyton Smith. Scott averaged eight rebounds and joined MVP Donovan on the all-tourney team. Greely’s upset of previously undefeated Brunswick was engineered by Bangor Daily News All-Maine Schoolgirl Basketball first-team guard Anna DeWolfe (19 points, six assists, five steals, five rebounds), Camille Clement (25 points) and Brooke Obar (18 second-half points). DeWolfe was the tourney’s Most Valuable Player.
Class AA: Edward Little (14-7) vs. Gorham (14-7), 6 p.m., Friday, Cross Insurance Arena, Portland: Coach Laughn Berthiaume’s Rams from Gorham have been led by BDN All-Maine first team junior center Mackenzie Holmes, who averaged 22 points per game and is a force on the boards. Freshman Adele Nadeau had 12 points and eight rebounds in the 47-28 win over Scarborough in the final. The Eddies used a game-winning layup by Grace Fontaine with 36 seconds left and two clinching free throws from Piper Norcross to beat Oxford Hills of South Paris 48-45 in the regional final. Gorham is looking to win its third straight state title while Edward Little has never won a state championship.
Class B: Winslow (17-5) vs. Lake Region (16-5), 7:05 p.m., Friday, Cross Insurance Center Bangor: This has all the makings of an intense defensive battle. Winslow held each of its three tourney opponents under 40 points and held opponents to fewer than 40 points 16 times in 22 games. The Raiders of coach Lindsey Withee are deep and extremely athletic. Haley Ward (43 points, 19 rebounds in three games), Maeghan Bernard (30 points) and Paige Trask (17 points) were all-tourney picks while Chandler True, who had 15 points in the 42-34 B South final win over Freeport, was the MVP of that tournament. Lauren Jakobs had seven points and nine rebounds vs. Freeport. Winslow is seeking its first state championship since 2005 while Lake Region of Naples last captured a state crown in 2014.
Class D: Southern Aroostook (19-2) vs. Vinalhaven (21-0), 1:05 p.m., Saturday, Augusta Civic Center: This should be a gem with the senior-laden Vikings from Vinalhaven, powered by 5-10 senior center Gilleyanne Davis-Oakes, taking on the athletic Warriors of Southern Aroostook, who don’t have a senior but have a ton of experience since several players saw action as eigh th-graders. Two-time Class D South MVP Davis-Oakes, who had 28 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks in the championship game win over Rangeley, will have her hands full with 5-10 freshman center and all-tourney choice Kacy Daggett (33 points in three games). Another 5-10 player, Makaelyn Porter (51 points), was the D North MVP and Kassidy Mathers (36 points) was also an all-tourney pick. Vinalhaven is the defending state champ while the Warriors last claimed a state title in 1995. Vinalhaven has won 33 straight games while Southern Aroostook’s only two losses came at the hands of Class C unbeaten and regional champ Houlton.
Class C: Houlton (21-0) vs. Monmouth Academy (20-1), 7:0-5 p.m., Saturday, Augusta Civic Center: Kolleen Bouchard became a rare four-time tourney MVP with her 73-point performance in three games for Houlton including her 27 points, two assists, five steals, four rebounds, two blocked shots and two assists in the 33-30 OT win over Dexter in the final. The career 2,000-point scorer is going to need more help from her teammates against a balanced Monmouth team that received 14 points from Tia Day, 12 points and 10 rebounds from Kaeti Butterfield and 12 points from tourney MVP in the final vs. Boothbay Region. Monmouth is the defending state champ.
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