After two outstanding regular seasons, the Boothbay boys and girls basketball teams are each poised to make a run at the 2020 regional championship. The Lady Seahawks are the defending state champion and finished with a 16-2 record placing them second in the Heal point standings. The Boothbay boys finished third with a 14-4 record, but enter Augusta with their own championship. Boothbay defeated defending state champion Winthrop and Class C South No. 1 in the Feb. 8 Mountain Valley Conference championship game.
The Lady Seahawks are the only team to defeat No. 1 Winthrop this season. Boothbay won both regular season contests, but lost to the Ramblers in the MVC championship game. Despite being a high seed and experienced team, the Lady Seahawks struggled down the stretch. The Lady Seahawks trailed Telstar (3-14) by two points entering the fourth quarter Feb. 2 before prevailing 49-40. They had no problem earlier this season defeating Madison by 20 points, but on Jan. 20, the Bulldogs lost a 50-47 nail-biter. And on Feb. 6, Boothbay managed to score only 24 points in defeating Carrabec (9-9) by eight on senior night.
This season’s 18-game schedule took its toll on the Lady Seahawks as injuries and a seemingly never-ending flu bug slowed down the team. As the challenges piled up, Boothbay seemed to pull together in crunch time. “It’s one of the things I am most proud of this season,” said Boothbay girls coach Brian Blethen. “We battled and worked our way through some tough situations. And I think it may serve us well duirng the tournament.”
One of those tough situations came Jan. 24 in a rematch with Winthrop. In a tight contest, forward Glory Blethen left the game and went to the hospital with the flu. The Lady Seahawks battled to force overtime and, in the final four minutes, guard Chloe Arsenault led the team to a hard fought victory over a Class C South power. “Glory came out of the game dehydrated and vomited into a trash can, but we hung together,” Coach Blethen said. “Our players have a will to win and Chloe showed she was a true leader. She stepped up as a senior and team captain and led the way in overtime.”
The Lady Seahawks lost only twice this season. The first loss came Dec. 9 against Class B Mountain Valley in Rumford. Boothbay played without three of the core six. The second loss came against Monmouth Academy as rebounding and not tracking down loose balls played a key role in their 51-48 loss. “I think we fell asleep against Monmouth,” Coach Blethen said. “This season has shown that we can beat everybody, but if we don’t play well then we can lose to anybody, too.”
The boys tournament should also prove interesting as Boothbay did something it hadn’t been able to accomplish this season. The Seahawks beat Winthrop and should make tournament week all that more interesting if the Seahawks and Ramblers can play a fourth game this season.
The boys’ team had big expectations entering this season. Coach I.J. Pinkham’s preseason goal was winning 14 games, and that’s what the Seahawk boys did. This placed Boothbay third in the Heal point standings. Boothbay’s four losses came to Class B South No. 2 Mountain Valley, Hall-Dale and twice to Winthrop. Besides claiming the MVC Championship, Boothbay had two other key wins this season. Road victories over Mountain Valley and Hall-Dale showed Boothbay as a regional championship contender.
Like the girls team, Boothbay battled illness this year, but had enough depth to persevere. “I am pleased with the improvement all the players made this year. The returning players all improved their games, and I’m really impressed with the improvement of our swing players,” Pinkham said.
Entering this season, Boothbay had an experienced roster with four of five starters returning. Pinkham credited tri-captains/seniors Hunter Crocker and Nicholas Morley and junior Ben Pearce as providing solid leadership. “They have led by example and been great role models.” Scoring has been distributed very well this year, with three players averaging in double figures and three others scoring around seven points per game. “This makes us difficult to defend,” Pinkham said. “I’m pleased with our ability to play together and share the basketball during the regular season.”
Both squads prepared for the tournament with Feb. 11 scrimmages. On Tuesday, the Lady Seahawks traveled to Waldoboro to play Medomak Valley and Boothbay boys traveled to Wells. The rest of this week includes practices and waiting to see who wins prelim games for the tournament. At 4 p.m. Feb. 17, the Boothbay boys play the Mt. Abram/Buckfield winner. At 5:30 p.m. Feb. 18, the Lady Seahawks play in Augusta against Sacopee Valley, which defeated Kents Hill in their prelim game on Tuesday. Should the Boothbay teams win their opening round games, the regional semifinals will be played on Thursday, Feb. 20. The Seahawk girls would play at 2 p.m. and the Seahawk boys would play at 7 p.m.