HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT PREVIEW: Local boys’ teams set sights on Cross Center

first_img Hospice volunteers help families navigate grief and find hope – September 12, 2020 Latest Posts Ellsworth runners compete in virtual Boston Marathon – September 16, 2020 Pound for pound, few places in Maine have seen more success in boys’ basketball over the past few years than Hancock County. Since the Eastern Maine region became the Northern Maine region prior to the 2015-16 season, local teams have played in a total of five state and seven regional championship games.With all six Hancock County teams qualifying for the playoffs, the 2018-19 season is shaping up to be another successful one. Although much is still to be decided with five of the six teams scheduled to play in the preliminary round, local teams are likely to have significant impacts on their respective Gold Ball races over the next month.Now that the tournament fields are set, it’s go time for teams locally and elsewhere around the state. Here’s how local teams stack up as they look to make deep runs at the Cross Insurance Center.Ellsworth (12-6, No. 6 seed in Class B North)This is placeholder textThis is placeholder textWith a balanced assortment of veterans and young players, Ellsworth produced its fourth winning season in the past five years in 2018-19.Jackson Curtis and Hunter Curtis led the way in the paint, where they combined for more than 500 points and nearly 300 rebounds. The Eagles also had two of the Big East Conference’s top 3-point shooters in Devin Grindle and Darby Barry, who shot a respective 43.8 and 40.2 percent from beyond the arc. On defense, seniors Grindle and Norman Jodrey anchored a secure Ellsworth unit.Mount Desert Island’s Charlie Parker (left) defends against Old Town’s Jacob Cyr during the first half of a high school boys’ basketball game Dec. 8 in Bar Harbor. MDI was the only Hancock County boys’ team to clinch a bye to the regional quarterfinals. ELLSWORTH AMERICAN PHOTO BY MIKE MANDELLAmong the Eagles’ various accomplishments this year were a season sweep of George Stevens Academy, something Ellsworth had not accomplished since the 2012-13 season, and two four-game win streaks. Head coach Peter Austin’s team did not lose back-to-back games all year.The No. 6 Eagles will face No. 11 Winslow in the preliminary round at 6:30 p.m. today, Feb. 12. With a win, they would advance to take on Mount Desert Island (13-5) at 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15, at the Cross Center.Mount Desert Island (13-5, No. 3 seed in Class B North)MDI is back as one of the top threats to win the Class B North championship after fighting its way to the No. 3 seed in the Northern Maine playoffs.Led by Derek Collin and Drew Shea, MDI’s frontcourt wreaked havoc on opponents in 2018-19. Fellow seniors Eli Parady and Brett Duley added more experience for the Trojans, and the emergence of junior Steven Pierce later in the year gave the team yet another weapon.After a 2-3 stretch that included two losses to first-place Hermon and one to second-place Caribou, MDI ended the season on a high note with three straight wins. With each of those victories coming by double digits against playoff teams, this year’s Trojans are right where they need to be as they seek their third consecutive Class B North championship game appearance.“With a lot of us being seniors who’ve played at the Cross Center before, we know what it’s like to be there and be under pressure in front of a lot of people,” Collin said. “Bringing that experience with us, that’s going to be important because it’s not something every team has.”MDI will open the tournament at 5 p.m. Friday against the winner of the aforementioned Ellsworth vs. Winslow prelim. If victorious, the Trojans would advance to face No. 2 Caribou, No. 7 Orono or No. 10 Washington Academy in the semifinals at 2:05 p.m. next Wednesday, Feb. 20.“It could be Ellsworth again [in the quarterfinal game], but no matter who it is, we know we’re in for challenging games from here on out,” MDI head coach Justin Norwood said after the Trojans’ 49-37 win over the Eagles in last Thursday’s regular season finale. “You’re getting everyone’s best this time of year, and there’s no tomorrow if you lose.”Bucksport (9-9, No. 10 seed in Class C North)In another universe, Bucksport might have earned a home prelim game as a 12- or 13-win team this season. Yet fate was cruel to the Golden Bucks, who were an unlucky 1-7 this season in games decided by four or fewer points.Ellsworth’s Hunter Curtis looks to pass to teammate Darby Barry as George Stevens Academy’s Andrew Szwez defends during the second half of a high school boys’ basketball game Feb. 2 in Blue Hill. Two of GSA’s three regular season losses came against Ellsworth. ELLSWORTH AMERICAN PHOTO BY MIKE MANDELLNevertheless, Bucksport is in the tournament as the type of team no one wants to face: a high-scoring unit that can take any opponent to the wire on a given day. Led by senior center Tyson Gray’s 19.1 points per game, the Golden Bucks enter the Class C North playoffs playing their best basketball at the right time.Bucksport will play on the road against seventh-ranked Dexter (14-4) at 7 p.m. today. With a win, the No. 10 Golden Bucks would advance to face No. 2 Mattanawcook Academy (15-3) at 11:05 a.m. next Tuesday, Feb. 19.George Stevens Academy (15-3, No. 3 seed in Class C North)If you expected George Stevens Academy to drop off significantly this year after two Mr. Maine Basketball candidates and one of the state’s top sixth men graduated last June, you were sorely mistaken.After losing to Ellsworth on Dec. 14, GSA reeled off 12 straight wins to climb to third place in the Class C North standings. Battling illnesses and injuries to starters and top-end bench players throughout the year, GSA finished the regular season with an average of 63.3 points per game and a 15-3 record.“We’ve had a lot of sicknesses this year, and that’s just been something we’ve had to deal with,” GSA head coach Dwayne Carter said. “I think we’ve only had seven practices this year where we had every single player healthy, but we still competed every night and put together a very good season.”Andrew Szwez was GSA’s leader in points (15.9) and rebounds (7.8) per game through 16 games. The Eagles also got strong years from Reece Dannenberg (10.8 points per game), Isaac Wardwell (9.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game), Caden Mattson (8.6 points, 4.4 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game), and Percy Zentz (8.6 points and 7.2 rebounds per game).“One thing about having so many players who can fill in is that it’s hard to scout us,” Carter said. “If a team keys in on one player, we have plenty of others who can step in and get the job done for the team.”GSA will host No. 14 Central (7-11) at 6 p.m. today in its first prelim game since 2014. With a victory, Carter’s No. 3 Eagles would advance to take on either No. 6 Fort Kent (14-4) or No. 11 Calais (6-12) in the Class C North quarterfinals.Sumner (11-7, No. 8 seed in Class C North)It’s been six years since the Sumner boys’ basketball team last played a tournament game in Bangor, but after winning 11 games in a loaded Class C North field, the Tigers are on the verge of doing so once again.Sumner’s David Allen sets a screen as Ethan Young looks to drive to the basket during the first half of a high school boys’ basketball game on Dec. 13 in Sullivan. Both the Tigers (11-7, No. 8 in Class C North) and Mariners (5-11, No. 7 seed in Class D North) qualified for the Northern Maine playoffs. ELLSWORTH AMERICAN PHOTO BY MIKE MANDELLWith the help of a 3-0 start to the season, Sumner jumped into the playoff race early in the year and never fell out of the top 14. The Tigers were led by senior and 1,000-point scorer Colby McLean, who averaged 20.5 points per game on the season.The eighth-ranked Tigers will take on No. 9 Fort Fairfield (12-6) at 7 p.m. tomorrow, Feb. 13, though the impending snowstorm could push that game back 24 hours. With a win over Fort Fairfield, Sumner would advance to face top-ranked Central Aroostook (15-3) in the quarterfinals at 8:35 p.m. next Tuesday, Feb. 19.Deer Isle-Stonington (5-11, No. 7 seed in Class D North)Pay little attention to Deer Isle-Stonington’s 5-11 record this year because the Mariners are much stronger than they appear at first glance. The Deer Isle-Stonington boys overcame their own share of injuries and illnesses this season to earn earn a playoff berth despite playing against one of Class D’s toughest schedules.Deer Isle-Stonington will face No. 10 Machias (8-10) at 5 p.m. Tuesday. With a win, the Mariners would improve to 3-0 against Machias this year and advance to face second-ranked Jonesport-Beals (15-2) at 9:05 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16.Other teams to watchHermon, which went undefeated last year, had an 18-0 regular season again and will be favored to win back-to-back Gold Balls. Caribou, which swept Ellsworth and lost by two points against MDI in Bar Harbor, has yet to lose in 2019. Class B South is not as strong as Class B North, but Mountain Valley and Maranacook are still formidable teams with title aspirations.“I would definitely say Hermon is [the favorite],” Norwood said. “They have size, length and quickness, and any team wanting to win that championship this year has to be prepared to go through them.”With seven teams between 14 and 16 wins, Class C North is a complete logjam. Although Central Aroostook and Mattanawcook Academy have the two byes, Houlton and Penobscot Valley will be among the other teams looking to dethrone GSA. In Class C South, Winthrop, Waynflete and Hall-Dale will be battling it out for the regional championship.Woodland of Baileyville enters the tournament as the overwhelming favorite to win the Class D North title, but Jonesport-Beals and Greater Houlton Christian also boast strong teams. Forest Hills utterly dominated opponents this year, surging to an 18-0 regular season in Class D South with 17 of those wins coming by 20 points or more. Mike MandellMike Mandell is the sports editor at The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander. He began working for The American in August 2016. You can reach him via email at mmandell@ellsworthamerican.com.center_img Latest posts by Mike Mandell (see all) MPA approves golf, XC, field hockey, soccer; football, volleyball moved to spring – September 10, 2020 Biolast_img read more

Softball: Wisconsin concludes successful weekend in Florida with some hardware

first_imgThe University of Wisconsin softball team concluded an incredibly successful tournament in Florida over the weekend with an overall record of 8-1 and a Big Ten Freshman of the Week honor for pitcher Kaitlyn Menz.The start of the season is the best for the team in more than three years and gives Menz the first Badger Freshman of the Week honor since March of last season.The honor was certainly no fluke as the Iowa native finished the weekend with an overall earned run average of 1.14 and 28 strikeouts in Badger wins over the No. 20 University of South Florida, Binghamton University, Saint Joseph’s University and Hofstra University. Menz is one of just five freshmen in a predominantly upperclassman unit that is on a mission just two weekends into the year.Softball: Badgers off to to best start since 2012-13 season2017 has been particularly kind to the University of Wisconsin softball team. Even though the season is only six games Read…The highly touted pitcher’s emergence is good news for a Wisconsin team that needs just a few extra pieces to overcome to end result of last season — a loss to Indiana University in the first round of the Big Ten tournament and being left out of the NCAA tournament.With a relatively weak conference schedule approaching, nonconference wins from the mound of a first-year player are just what could put the Badgers in contention for the tournament in a few months.Despite suffering the team’s first loss of the season to No. 16 James Madison University on Sunday, the 7-0 record until that point was the best start in school history and came in large part from players like Menz. The freshman has now recorded four complete games, and will be a valuable addition to a bullpen with a wealth of experience to help her along the way.Softball: Wisconsin kicks off 2017 schedule undefeatedThe University of Wisconsin softball team kicked off their season in just about the best fashion possible. Wisconsin played four Read…The Badgers’ nonconference road will only get harder and farther away from Madison, however, as they stay in Florida for five games in the Sheraton Invitational. The team then travels to Houston for five games and then Fort Collins, Colorado, for five games.In fact, Wisconsin doesn’t return home until the end of March for a three-game series with Nebraska University.The games against Florida International University kick off Friday in Fort Myers, Florida, at 8 a.m. CT.last_img read more

Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan plays, practices despite bumps and bruises

first_img“It was great. He didn’t talk a lot, which was even better. He didn’t complain once.”Rivers, as is often the case, had reporters laughing by then.“But he is one of those guys, and it’s great to have that,” Rivers said.Rivers was asked if he was going to give any of his players shorter minutes over these last few days of the regular season to rest up for the playoffs. After Saturday’s game, the Clippers had just two left — Tuesday at home against Denver and Wednesday at Portland.“I don’t understand the rest if you don’t need it, you know what I mean?” Rivers said. “And you have to be careful because we’ve had all these days off, you don’t want to lose your rhythm. Rest and rhythm, they go hand in hand. “Right now, we’re pretty good. After this, we have a back-to-back. I wouldn’t be surprised if the guys play limited minutes in one of those games, or no minutes. We’ll see.”The Clippers have had two days off from games after each of their past four games.Rivers: No one like Durant)It was interesting to hear what Rivers recently said about Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant, especially since it’s possible the Clippers will play the Thunder in the playoffs. Durant, who is listed as 6-feet-9 but appears more like 6-11, is leading the league in scoring at 31.2 points a game. He’s the odds-on favorite to win the MVP award.“I don’t think anyone’s figured it out and I don’t know if anyone will,” Rivers said of slowing down Durant. “Him and (Dallas’ Dirk) Nowitzki are the two hardest players in the league to guard and it’s a lot to do with they’re just bigger than everybody as far as their length.“And Durant runs around like J.J. (Redick). But he’s 7 feet tall, or 6-11 or whatever they say, and that makes him very difficult. We haven’t seen a player like Durant, ever … ever.“I don’t think there has ever been a player like him.” LOS ANGELES >> Center DeAndre Jordan played in all 82 regular-season games for the Clippers last season and is on his way to doing the same thing this year. Coach Doc Rivers was not one bit surprised.“Well, D.J.’s one of those guys, I mean, there’s a lot of them in the league,” said Rivers, who thought about that for a second. “Well, actually, there’s not a lot. But he’s one of those guys. He does have bangs and bruises and sprains; he just keeps playing. There are people made that way, their makeup, and D.J is one of those guys.”Rivers said there probably have been 10 practices this year where the team trainer told him Jordan likely likely not going to be able to participate.“And then he goes the whole practice and you didn’t even know he was injured,” Rivers said. “It was just D.J. He had a root canal one morning before practice and practiced the whole practice.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

Video technology provider Kaltura has revamped and

first_imgVideo technology provider Kaltura has revamped and relaunched its Technology Partner Network, rebranding it Video Technology Marketplace.The marketplace lets Kaltura customers extend their video experiences by using partner products and technologies that are integrated with the Kaltura platform. The company claims partnerships with more than 170 technology partners.The market includes technology covering AI and video enrichment, interactive video creation, VR and XR, real-time video communication, network optimisation, video monetisation, personalised dynamic ad insertion, QoS analytics, digital signage and lecture capture hardware.“We have taken a platform-first approach from day one and exposed all our platform services via API allowing partners to easily integrate and extend our platform with their innovative technologies,” said Ron Yekutiel, Kaltura co-founder, chairman and CEO.Kaltura co-founder, president and general manager – enterprise and learning, Michal Tsur, said: “With this new marketplace, Kaltura enterprise and education customers can quickly and seamlessly tap into certified cutting-edge video products that further boost engagement and productivity.”Kaltura’s managing director of strategy and partnerships, Liad Eshkar, added: “I am extremely excited to make our marketplace a strategic focus for Kaltura in 2019. Our main goal is to offer our customers best-of-breed technology which is served directly from their trusted video platform.“We have formed a new dedicated partner team focused on selecting and integrating with disruptive, innovative technologies, and ensuring that our partners maintain the highest standards of deliverability, scalability, security, compliance, and ease of use with a seamless user experience.”last_img read more