June 25, 2019
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Defending D boys champion Greenville set for semifinal challenge

Joseph Cyr | BDN
Joseph Cyr | BDN
Woodland's Christopher Plissey, center, goes up for a shot as Van Buren's Blake Martin (10) and Colby Lavoie defend during Monday afternoon's Class D North quarterfinal at the Cross Insurance Center.

Upsets are the lifeblood of the early rounds of tourney week, but the Class D boys basketball ranks largely have stayed true to the current Heal points and recent history entering the regional semifinals.

Six of the eight Class D teams remaining statewide have captured at least one state championship during the last decade, with South top seed Forest Hills of Jackman in 2013 and 2015 the only repeat gold-ball winner during that span.

Other recent title winners in the current field are Woodland (2009), Schenck of East Millinocket (2010), Jonesport-Beals (2012), Valley of Bingham (2016) and reigning state champion Greenville.

Greenville, which captured its first state crown since 1954 last March with a 47-46 victory over Woodland, posted the lone quarterfinal upset of the 2019 seedings by defeating No. 4 Rangeley 55-38 in a South quarterfinal last Saturday.

First-year head coach Joe Pelletier and his Greenville club won the battle of the Lakers by outscoring Rangeley 22-4 in the third quarter to expand a 20-18 halftime edge.

Greenville graduated all five starters from its state championship team but had three double-figure scorers against Rangeley in junior forward Camden Harmon, who scored 13 of his team-high 20 points during the decisive third quarter, along with senior forward Nick Caiazzo and junior guard Noah Bilodeau with 12 points each.

[Check out the latest D South boys bracket standings here]

Now Greenville’s current two-year hold on the Class D South title faces perhaps its biggest challenge in Wednesday’s 4 p.m. semifinal against top-ranked and undefeated Forest Hills of Jackman at the Augusta Civic Center.

The Tigers have won each of their 19 games by double figures, most recently an 85-33 quarterfinal win over No. 8 Seacoast Christian of South Berwick.

Yet Greenville (9-10) gave the Forest Hills club two of its three closest games during the regular season, with Forest Hills winning 62-49 at Jackman on Jan. 10 and 73-52 at Greenville on Jan. 24.

The Greenville-Forest Hills semifinal will follow a 2:30 p.m. matchup between No. 2 Valley (14-5) and No. 3 Temple Academy of Waterville (14-5). Those teams split two regular-season games this winter after Valley scored a 45-44 victory over the Bereans in last year’s quarterfinals.

[Check out the latest D North boys bracket standings here]

Thursday’s Class D North semifinals begin at 2:05 p.m., with No. 2 Jonesport-Beals (16-2) facing No. 3 Greater Houlton Christian Academy (16-2) in a battle of programs with vastly different basketball histories.

Jonesport-Beals, which fell to Woodland in last year’s North final, has won 10 state championships and 14 regional titles since 1970 while Greater Houlton Christian scored its first-ever tournament victory in Bangor with a 54-44 quarterfinal win over No. 6 Southern Aroostook of Dyer Brook on Saturday night.

That will be followed at 3:35 p.m. by a semifinal rematch between No. 1 Woodland (17-1) and No. 4 Schenck (12-7). Woodland won last year’s semifinal 63-50 en route to the regional title.

Woodland shot 60 percent from the field in its 76-29 quarterfinal victory over No. 8 Van Buren while Schenck got 33 points from sophomore Tyrone Davis during its 69-52 win over No. 5 Easton.

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