For eight years, 16 high school basketball teams have concluded their summer season by competing in the Lobster Jam tournament in Boothbay Harbor. The ninth tournament won’t be as sweet as only 15 teams will compete beginning July 26, but three are defending state girls champions: Oxford Hills (AA), Greeley (A) and Boothbay Region (C).
This year’s tournament tips off at 12:30 p.m. with pool play with Gardiner and Oceanside in Porter Memorial Gymnasium and Winslow versus Medomak Valley in the elementary school. Boothbay’s first game is Friday against Lewiston at 3:30 p.m. in Porter Gymnasium. The Lady Seahawks conclude pool play on Saturday with two games. In Porter Gymnasium, Boothbay plays Gardiner at 10:30 a.m. and Oceanside at 2:30 p.m. Additional tournament games will be played at Boothbay Region Elementary School.
The 15 teams are placed in four groups (A,B,C and D). Joining Boothbay and Lewiston in Pool B are Gardiner and Oceanside. Pool A is the only one with three teams. One school was a late scratch resulting in Greeley, Bonny Eagle and Cheverus in Pool A. Greeley will double-up in their pool and Kennebunk in Pool C will pick up an additional game. Joining Kennebunk in Pool C are Gorham, Lincoln Academy and Yarmouth. Pool D features Oxford Hills, Winslow and Medomak Valley. Each school plays three games with their pool and the top team advances to the semifinals.
In the previous eight years, Boothbay has not reached the semifinal round. But last winter, the Lady Seahawks won their first state basketball title in 35 years, and two weekends ago, won a division championship at the Gold Rush basketball camp at Colby College featuring high school teams from around the state and region.
For Boothbay coach Brian Blethen, the Lobster Jam is a great way to finish the summer basketball season. After several weeks of scrimmages and playing shortened games, the Lobster Jam provides teams a chance to play regulation games where the fouls, points and games all count.
“It’s a great way to end the summer. The competition is excellent and the opportunity to play real games is a valuable experience to see how we match up with some of the best teams in the state, regardless of class,” he said.
On Saturday, the Lobster Jam semifinals pit Pool A’s winner versus Pool B at 7 p.m. in Porter Gymasium. Pools C and D winners square off at 7 p.m. in the elementary school gym. The championship game follows at 8:30 p.m. in Porter Gymnasium.