As promised, I did not have time to write up every Gold Ball game (because, obviously), so let’s do a lightning round.
This is a matchup of the 2nd and 3rd best teams in this bracket (South Portland was the #1 overall seed and is 3rd in the Power Rankings) and could easily go either way. The model thinks Scarborough is slightly better, by virtue of a tougher schedule. Oxford Hills played the easiest schedule in AA by a pretty wide margin. At the end of the regular season, the pick would have been Oxford Hills, but Scarborough put up Win%’s of 83% and 93.7% against the 13th and 3rd best teams in the state, while Oxford Hills had an easy path, only having to play #21 Portland and the Cinderella in #45 Deering.
GNG is properly seeded as the #1 overall in B, but the model had MDI as the #2 in B North (and #3 overall) behind Hermon. MDI started the tournament with a 24.7% chance to make it this far and they’ll face their toughest test yet in GNG. Worth noting: GNG is 0-2 against the top 15 (Greely, twice). MDI is 2-1 (They split with Hermon and beat #14 Waterville in the Regional Final).
Both of these teams were mis-seeded. Winthrop should have been the 2 seed in C South (3rd overall) and Houlton should have been the 3 in C North (6th overall). Houlton closed the gap further with their dominating tourney run with a combined Win% of 98.7%. Winthrop wasn’t so bad themselves, blitzing the C South field to the tune of 96.0%. I’m splitting hairs here, but that might be what it takes.
The C North Girls tournament was maybe the most wide-open tournament bracket you’ll ever see in your life. There wasn’t even a favorite to pick against. 6(!) different teams were between 12% and 15.5% to win the region and the best team was actually the 4 seed and eventual winner. The folks at MPBN will spend a lot of time today telling you this is a 1 vs 4 matchup, but these are the top 2 teams in Class C. Penobscot Valley played the tougher schedule (mostly by virtue of playing #20 Dexter and #29 Stearns three times each), but no one in the state was better against their schedule than Boothbay.
Jessica Gagne did a great feature on Forest Hills, which has an 8th grader playing significant minutes, but the Tigers aren’t a Hoosiers-style plucky underdog. They are the most dominant team in the state against their schedule, boys or girls, and it isn’t particularly close. They’re the highest scoring team in the state, boys or girls, by nearly 3 points a game. Oh and they’re also the 3rd stingiest defense. But…they’ve played the weakest schedule in the state. Schenck will be the best team Forest Hills has played this year. Both of these teams are properly seeded. Forest Hills is the overall #1. Schenck is the overall #6. They were very impressive in the tournament, finishing off with a rout of #48 Jonesport-Beals. Schenck went 3-3 against the Top 50 this year, ranking 33rd in the process. Forest Hills didn’t play anyone that good.
The defending champs are one of the highest scoring teams in the state. Greenville has one of the best defenses. It’s a strength vs. strength matchup! Both these teams are properly seeded. Southern Aroostook is the overall #1. Greenville is #5 overall. Since their loss to #40 Central Aroostook, Southern Aroostook has been on a tear, going 10-0 with 8 blowouts, including a 26-point win over #39 Madawaska. This will be a question of the pace of the game. Greenville’s defense held tourney opponents to an astounding 21.7 points a game, nearly 9 points better than their season average. Greenville is 0-4 when a team scores 40 points. Southern Aroostook’s season low? 49.