Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.
After a dominant regular season, Anna DeWolfe leads the Greely girls to the Gold Ball game where they’ll meet 6’3″ Bailey Donovan and the Hampden Academy Broncos. Crazy, huh?
Well this year it’s a little different. Greely is undefeated, whereas last year they had suffered a regular season loss on a buzzer-beater to Brunswick. Last year, Hampden was the favorite to win A North, but this year required a shocking upset of undefeated Skowhegan in a game that featured some…interesting decisions.
No matter how we got here, let’s dig into the rematch.
Seeded: 1st in A South; 1st Overall
Should be Seeded: 1st in A South; 1st Overall
Anna DeWolfe and Brooke Obar will be aiming to defend their title, much like Obar’s mother and DeWolfe’s aunt did in 1983 and ’84 (so says some random person on Twitter). DeWolfe is in a 2-way race for Miss Basketball. She does everything well and some things exceptionally. She makes everyone around her better. In the quarterfinals against Fryeburg, she had one of the most effortless 23 points, 6 steals, and 5 assists in 20 minutes performance you’ll ever see. If DeWolfe and Obar (either one of them) don’t kill you, Camille Clement will. They are, without question, the best team in the state of Maine.
The Win% in the chart above is how likely the team is to win a rematch on a neutral floor, based only the result of that game. 75% is good. 85% is great. 95% is a blowout. Greely topped 85% 17 times. Seventeen! They did it 7 times against the Top 25! Greely played the 3rd hardest schedule in Class A and only Class C Boothbay was more dominant. They posted a %Perfect of 83.5% against the Top 25. Only 5 teams in the state were more dominant against their entire schedule. So, if Greely had played a schedule of only teams in the Top 25, they probably go something like 17-1. That’s insane.
Seeded: 2nd in A North; 4th Overall
Should be Seeded: 2nd in A North; 4th Overall
Hampden features the toughest player in the state to defend (aside from Mackenzie Holmes) in Bailey Donovan. She’s 6’3″, has improved her agility each year, is reliable enough from the line that you’d rather not foul her, and now she’s knocking down 3s. You can’t guard her 1-on-1 and if you focus your entire defense on her, Hampden has enough firepower to hurt you elsewhere. The Broncos aren’t as deep as they were last year, but Alydia Brillant and Amelia McLaughlin are more than capable of ruining your day. But their game revolves around Donovan. She averaged 16.3 points and 15.3 rebounds for the tournament. Hampden gathered 77.1% of their available defensive rebounds and Donovan posted a DREB% of 41.3% in her 26.6 minutes per game. If you can contain Donovan (good luck!), you have to hope no one else kills you, as Lawrence saw when McLaughlin went for 14 or the 2 big 3s Isabelle Soucy hit against Skowhegan.
The win over Skowhegan in the Regional Final was all the more shocking because of those 2 regular season results. They got a *combined* Win% of 1.3% in two meetings and then beat them in the tourney. It’s hard to overstate how rare that is. Other than that, they didn’t have a lot of trouble in the regular season. They lost their annual game against Lawrence (at home this time) and lost a rivalry game to Bangor, but this is a profile of a very good team. They played the 4th hardest schedule in A North.
The matchup we all thought we were getting was #1 Overall vs #2 Overall, 2 unbeaten teams for the Gold Ball. It didn’t quite work out. The model thought last year’s game was closer matchup than this one. Greely won that, but maybe Hampden has 1 more upset in them? Either way, it’s the final game of 2 of the most dominant players in the state over the last couple years. One of them is capping a remarkable career with a Gold Ball.