We’re going to do this a little bit differently. If you’re a regular reader, you have a pretty good idea of what the numbers say. They tend to think one of the top 2 seeds will win the region. But that’s kind of boring. So for each region, I’m going to dig a little and we’ll see if maybe we can make a case for someone else. For some of these regions, I’ve seen every team. For others, I haven’t seen anyone. We’ll do 2 picks, the model’s pick and mine. Maybe I’ll do better than the model, but probably not. But I’m gonna take some fliers. Kind of like you might in your NCAA brackets. Because picking chalk is boring.
We’ll skip AA, because they’re on break.
Hampden is the 1 and they’ve got a 6’3" matchup nightmare in Bailey Donovan, plus a returning Marissa Gilpin (I know, right? Another Gilpin.) Thing is, they lost 2 games to teams they’ll likely have to beat to repeat. Skowhegan has been great, but they lost to a B school and they’ve been less-great in the second half (ranked 12th, vs 3rd). If they can get past Nokomis, they either get defending champ Messalonskee, who’ve beat them twice, or Gabby DePatsy and Medomak Valley, who they’ve yet to play, so there’s no guarantee they get there. But if Lawrence can get past Brewer in the first round, they might have what it takes to win the whole thing. They’ve already beaten Hampden at home and played them close on the road and they’ve been a solid second-half team. I’m not sure this region is the "Group of Death", but it’s crazy-tough.
Model: Hampden (37.7%)
Brunswick is 18-0 and a deserving 1 seed, but they needed a buzzer-beater to knock off a Greely team that was without Anna DeWolfe. Greely has the Brunswick loss and a road loss to #1 South Portland and a 12-game winning streak and the toughest schedule of anyone in this region. Marshwood is 17-1, but they’re ranked 20th over the second half and have played the weakest schedule in A South. The 4th seed York has been even worse, ranking 61st over the second half. This one is pretty easy.
Model: Brunswick (40.5%)
This one gets billed as a 2-way race between Hermon and John Bapst, but the model gives 5 different teams a 10% chance to win the region and all 8 teams have at least a 5% shot, which is insane. No other region is remotely close to that, not even the A North boys and there’s 3 teams in that region that could legitimately win the region, if they’d only made the tournament. Hermon split their games against Bapst, with the road team winning each game, so a regional final could be a great game. Bapst has a couple of losses that triggered the loss penalty, including a perplexing 9-point loss to #78 Orono. MCI has that great win over Skowhegan, but they’ve been inconsistent. MDI is incredibly tall across the roster and they’ve beaten Presque Isle twice, but they’re 0-3 against the top 25. So this might come down to matchups, and my gut tells me that might favor Presque Isle. They’ll get MCI in the 4/5 game and then a Hermon team they’ve already beaten in the second round. They’d potentially get Bapst in the final and they’ve beaten them too. Oh, and they’re ranked 53rd in the first half and 13th in the second.
Model: Hermon (23.8%)
Me: Presque Isle
4 teams in B South finished 14-4 and 4 teams finished in the top 30 (but not the same 4!), so it’s a little wide-open. Gray-New Gloucester is the favorite, mostly because they played a tougher schedule and converted their Power Ranking points better, but not by so much it’d jump out at you. This is really a 6-team region. Wells played the toughest schedule (31st), but didn’t convert very well, although they did win 6 of their last 8, including 2 wins over Class A York. They’ll play Freeport, winners of 7 of their last 9, including a 12-point road win against a Lake Region team that split with GNG and nearly pulled off a road win against Poland.
So let’s say Freeport beats Wells, then beats Poland. GNG takes care of business, which is no guarantee. They played on the final day of the regular season and Freeport nearly pulled off the win.
Model: GNG (31.2%)
So Houlton is 65% to win this region. That’s…a lot. They’re #2 overall, which is really hard for a C school to do. And they’ve outscored opponents by a whopping 336 points. That’s…the 4th best total in C North. No, really. Houlton’s worth showing against a C school was a 10-point win over Central, and Houlton is the only team that’s beat Central. Thing is, Central played a pretty weak schedule outside of Houlton and Dexter, but they did out-score that schedule by 532 points. They beat Dexter in both of those game. Dexter is the 2, largely because their schedule isn’t really awful (91st), but they didn’t exactly dominate it. Narraguagus is 17-1 against the 3rd worst schedule in the state, but…they’ve outscored it by 676(!) points. That’s 95 points better than anyone else in the state. They just scream paper tiger, but sometimes those teams are for real, they just haven’t been tested yet.
Model: Houlton (65.0%)
C South has already lost 3 of their top 8 seeds, thanks to prelim games. The 12 seed has a 3.0% chance of winning the region, and I think we can all agree that would be kind of amazing. But I like to think of C South operating in tiers. In tier 1, there’s Boothbay and Monmouth. Both have pretty similar profiles, and while it’s hard to argue against Boothbay’s height, they only beat Monmouth by 3 at home in their early season meeting. Oh, and Boothbay is 18-0. Monmouth has just the 1 loss to Boothbay. Both teams have converted over 90% of their Power Ranking points. They rank 1st and 2nd in the state. To say they’ve been dominant is an understatement. If you look elsewhere, Madison was ranked 66th in the second half. I want to go with OOB, but I just don’t see it.
Model: Monmouth (33.2%
Southern Aroostook went 16-2 en route to the 1 seed and the highest ranking of any girls D school. Both of those losses came against #2 Houlton. They have posted a Win% of 90% or higher in 15 games. The one win they didn’t? They put up a 89.8% against Central Aroostook. But they haven’t played Deer Isle-Stonington, who went 16-0 against…the easiest schedule in the state. By a lot. Their SOS of 7.01 was the lowest in the state. Second lowest was Vinalhaven at 9.21. Basically, they played Pine Tree (5-13) every night, only worse. Shead only outscored their opponents by 4 points all year, which isn’t a good sign. That leaves Woodland, a team that played a lot of C schools and overcame some early struggles (they triggered the loss penalty twice, against Narraguagus and Calais) to rank 22nd in the second half. They even avenged that Calais loss.
Model: Southern Aroostook (44.0%)
Vinalhaven is the defending champ and has gone 18-0 in their title defense. They take a 1-hour ferry trip just to get to the mainland and drive to the game, so the harrowing drive to Augusta shouldn’t bother them too much. They’re 3rd in the state in converting Power Ranking opportunities, but they did it against the 2nd easiest schedule in the state. That brings us to Rangeley Lakes. Rangeley had the best scoring differential in D, but they didn’t exactly face a tough schedule themselves, as it ranked 134th. That includes 2 losses on the island where they lost by 14 and 19 on consecutive days. Once you get past Rangeley, you’re looking at a #91 Temple team that went 0-3 against the top 2 seeds or a #77 Greenville team that has played neither and is ranked 50th over the second half. They went 9-9. I can’t do it.
Model: Vinalhaven (44.6%)
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