December 27, 2012

CAPITAL CITY HOOP CLASSIC: Richmond excited for competition

By Matt DiFilippo mdifilippo@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

While Maine Principals' Association rules have changed the format of the Capital City Hoop Classic, getting an invite on the girls side is still noteworthy -- especially for a Class D school.

When the girls side of the tournament opens at 9 a.m. on Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center, Class D Richmond will be facing Class C Madison. Richmond will also face Class A Lawrence at 2:30 p.m., the same day.

"I'm stoked," Richmond coach Molly Bishop said. "I've been looking forward to playing there for four years. We bring a good crowd, and we're local."

Joining Richmond, Madison, and Lawrence are Cony, Boothbay and Waynflete. The boys side of the tournament is Friday, and the lineup has Cony, Gardiner, Hall-Dale, Lawrence, Lincoln, and Boothbay.

The Lawrence boys are in an interesting position. Their game against Cony at 12:45 p.m., Friday counts in the Heal points standings. The Bulldogs also host Mt. Blue at 5 p.m., Saturday. That game was moved from today when the Lawrence-Cony contest became a countable game.

But Lawrence could end up playing three games Friday. As part of the Hoop Classic, the Bulldogs also play Boothbay at 6 p.m., Friday, and could play in the championship game at 8:15. That would make four games in less than 29 hours.

While Lawrence coach Mike McGee says his team has never won the Hoop Classic, he's not going to weaken his team for Saturday.

"I know there's going to be four to five guys who are going to log 27, 28 minutes (against Cony)," McGee said. "Those guys won't dress for the 6 o'clock game. They'll be in street clothes. There's only one championship I'm concerned about. It runs during February vacation."

The girls tournament has six good teams. Richmond is one of the best teams in Western D, and Madison and Boothbay are 1-2 in the Western C Heal points. Lawrence, sparked by freshmen Nia Irving and Dominique Lewis, has been competitive this season. Waynflete features Martha Vernoeau, who scored 47 points at the Civic Center in a playoff game last season. Cony, while not at the level of last winter's Eastern A champions, is 3-2 this season.

The Gardiner and Monmouth girls teams are playing at the Mustang Holiday Classic at Central Maine Community College in Auburn. It was supposed to be a two-day event, but today's games were canceled.

On Friday, Monmouth plays Poland at 2:30 p.m. and Gardiner plays Berkshire High of Massachusetts at 4. Gardiner then plays Monmouth at 7 in the final game of the day.

"It gets us a chance to try some different lineups, and some people in different scenarios," Gardiner coach Mike Gray said. "We tell them in practice, every day is about making yourself better, and making the team better."

Matt DiFilippo -- 861-9243

mdifilippo@centralmaine.com

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