February 16

CENTER COURT: Western C boys kick off Monday

Winthrop-Maranacook highlight of bracket

By Bill Stewart bstewart@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

Maranacook and Winthrop are separated by just a handful of miles and enjoy a healthy rivalry.

That rivalry will be renewed Monday when the No. 5 Black Bears (14-5) and No. 4 Ramblers (14-4) tip off in a Western C quarterfinal game at the Augusta Civic Center.

“We have a great rivalry with them,” Winthrop coach Todd MacArthur said. “It’s cool we get to match up with them.”

The teams will tip off at 7 p.m. In other quarterfinal games Monday, No. 10 Hall-Dale (10-9) will face No. 2 Boothbay (16-2) at 4 p.m.

No. 7 Monmouth (12-7) will also face No. 3 Waynflete (15-2) will play at 2:30 p.m. No. 8 Wiscasset will face top-seed Dirigo at 8:30 p.m.

Despite the proximity between the schools, Maranacook and Winthrop didn’t see each other in the regular season.

The teams met in the preseason, with Winthrop winning, but there’s plenty more at stake this time around.

“It’s going to be a great game,” said Maranacook coach Rob Schmidt, whose team easily handled St. Dominic in a prelim game last week. “Winthrop is a good-shooting team. We’ll have our hands full.”

Winthrop is also short-handed as guard Matt Sekerak is out for the season with a knee injury.

“It really is unfortunate for them,” Schmidt said. “Obviously, it’s a benefit for us but you still wish he were healthy.”

Added MacArthur: “No excuses. We have a lot of confidence in the other guys. We’ll need everyone to step up.”

The Ramblers will need to at least slow down hot-shooting Maranacook guard Taylor Wilbur, who scored 18 points against the Saints in the preliminary round.

Wilbur is a threat from just about anywhere on the court.

“He’ll shoot from anywhere,” MacArthur said. “We need to make sure we have a hand in his face whenever he crosses halfcourt. We’re going to have to contain their shooters and slow down their transition game.”

Boothbay swept Hall-Dale in the regular season, winning 56-44 and 59-43.

However, the Bulldogs will see a vastly different team tonight as six Boothbay players were suspended just before the tournament for the rest of the season.

Three of the six players are starters.

Monmouth and Waynflete will play in the quarterfinals for a second straight season.

The Flyers cruised to a 78-47 victory.

“They got us pretty good last year,” Monmouth coach Lucas Turner said.

Waynflete is led by 6-foot-3 senior forward Serge Nyirikamba, who scored 18 points in the quarterfinal game against the Mustangs in last season.

Turner said Marcques Houston will defend Nyirikamba.

“He did it last year but Marcques is a year older and a year better,” Turner said. “(Nyirikamba) is a big shot blocker in the middle and is tough at both ends. We’ll need to slow him down.”

Bill Stewart — 621-5640bstewart@centralmaine.comTwitter: @billstewartkj

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