There may not be another high school basketball player more excited for the state championship game this weekend than Hermon High School senior forward Elizabeth Wyman.
Two years ago, the week before the Hawks were to face Wells in the Class B state championship game, Wyman hyperextended her problematic right knee in practice.
She could only watch as her Hawks lost an excruciating 34-26 overtime game.
With no tournaments last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Wyman and the 19-2 Hawks have had to wait two years for another chance, and will take on 19-0 Oceanside of Rockland in Friday’s 7 p.m. state title game at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.
In the remaining state championship games on Saturday, 21-0 Skowhegan will look for its first gold ball when it faces 16-4 Greely of Cumberland Center at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland at 1:05 p.m.; the Class AA contest between North champ Cheverus of Portland (17-3) and South champ Gorham (18-3) will also be played in Portland at 7:05 p.m.
The C and D games will be played at the Augusta Civic Center.
The Class D game between 21-0 Southern Aroostook of Dyer Brook and 13-6 Seacoast Christian of South Berwick will tip off at 1:05 p.m. with 16-3 Stearns of Millinocket and 20-0 Hall-Dale squaring off at 7:05 p.m.
“I have been really waiting for this,” Wyman said. “[Winning] the gold ball is something I have really thought about even when I was doing strength training or at a shootaround. We’ve always talked about getting back to the state game and getting another shot at it. My teammates want it just as much as I do.”
Wyman felt she could have made a difference if she had been able to play in the 2020 game.
“She would have helped with her speed and her length,” agreed Hermon coach Chris Cameron.
Cameron said that Wyman is the healthiest and strongest she has ever been, and it shows.
Wyman was named to Class B North’s All-Tournament after she averaged 15.3 points and six rebounds in Hermon’s three victories. She and her teammates will be looking for Hermon’s first state girls title since 1989. Hermon is 1-4 in state championship games.
Oceanside will be making its first ever appearance in a state title game and the same goes for the two former schools that merged into Oceanside: Rockland and Georges Valley of Thomaston.
Matt Breen’s Mariners had won every game by at least 17 points until the B South final, where they held off York 56-49.
“They have obviously had a great run this year. They have [Bailey] Breen down low and [Audrey] Mackie is their outside shooter and she was the MVP of the B South tournament,” Cameron said. “But they are definitely more than Breen and Mackie. They have other weapons.”
In the Class D final, Southern Aroostook coach Cliff Urquhart, whose team is the defending three-time Class D North champ with state championships the first two years, said people shouldn’t be misled by Seacoast Christian’s record.
“All six of their losses were to C teams and four of those losses came to North Yarmouth Academy and Old Orchard Beach, and they’re two good teams,” Urquhart said.
NYA and OOB went a combined 28-5 during the regular season.
Southern Aroostook’s Madison Russell and Seacoast Christian’s Breckyn Winship were the MVPs at their respective tournaments and SA’s Cami Shields joined Russell on the all-tourney first team. They combined to average 32 points per game.
In Class C, Nick Cullen’s Minutemen will be playing in their first state championship game since 1995 when Stearns was in Class B.
Unanimous tourney MVP Alisyn Alley, who averaged 13.7 points, 7 rebounds, 4.7 steals and 3 assists in the three victories, and backcourt mate Makayla Anderson (15.3 ppg) are the Stearns catalysts. Hall-Dale, which won the state title in 2011 and lost in the state game the following year, has been led by Amanda Trepanier and KK Wills.
Trepanier’s 19 points and Wills’ 13 rallied Hall-Dale from an 18-point deficit to beat NYA in the C South final.
In Class A, Skowhegan senior phenom Jaycie Christopher’s 25 points and eight rebounds in the 44-30 title game win over Lawrence of Fairfield helped land her the MVP Award and she and her mates will contend with a Greely team that won back-to-back state titles in 2018 and ’19.
Chelsea Graiver’s 19 points led Greely past Brunswick 38-35 in the A South final.
The AA final pits a Gorham team that won state titles in 2016 and ’17 and lost to Edward Little of Auburn in the final in 2018 against a Cheverus team making its first AA final appearance.
Cheverus’ Madison Fitzpatrick (18.3 ppg, 4 steals, 2.8 assists during regular season) and Emma Lizotte (14.9 ppg, 10.4 rpg) will be pitted against Gorham’s Anna Nelson (12.8 ppg, 4.8 apg, 4.4 rpg, 2.8 spg).