BAR HARBOR — The season begins with a bang for the Mount Desert Island High School varsity basketball teams this year.
The girls will have three preseason games under their belts, and the boys will have one when the home Thanksgiving Tip-Off begins Friday.
After two days of tryouts and only three practices last week, the girls headed to Fairfield Saturday to be part of the Lawrence Bulldog Classic preseason tournament. They played Lawrence and Gardiner in afternoon games.
“They are two very, very good opponents,” MDI girls’ Coach Brent Barker said. “Both are going to be in the hunt for the Class A Eastern Maine title. Both gave us a lot of different looks with their different styles.”
Scores often aren’t recorded in preseason scrimmages; sometimes the board is reset after each quarter.
Tuesday evening, the MDI girls and boys played Hampden, another top program in Class A, at home.
The Lady Trojans will be looking to defend an Eastern Maine Class B Champion title earned last season. They defeated Presque Isle 63-51 in last year’s tournament. They fell to Lake Region 56-47 in the State Championship game.
Graduation losses between then and now were limited to only two players, Sierra Myrick and Hannah Shaw. But Shaw was their leading rebounder. “That’s one of the things you always worry about,” Barker said, “but I think we’re doing a really good job there. We have a lot of kids changing their roles, and we’ve got to make those adjustments.”
The boys’ team had five seniors graduate in June: Andrew Davis, Steven Hanscom, Ryan Littlefield, Jon Phelps and Abe Philbrook. They had a 14-4 record in the 2013-2014 season, third seed in the league. After having the honor of playing the first game in the first MPA basketball tournament to be held in the Cross Insurance Center, the Trojans fell to Old Town 57-44 in the quarterfinals.
MDI hosts a Thanksgiving Tip-Off Tournament beginning at 1 p.m. Friday with girls’ games. Planned games are Ellsworth vs. Lake Region at 1 p.m., MDI vs. Lincoln Academy at 2:30 p.m., Ellsworth vs. Lincoln Academy at 4 p.m. and MDI vs. Lake Region at 5:30 p.m.
The boys’ tournament is set for Saturday afternoon beginning at 1 p.m. with an Ellsworth vs. Fryeburg Academy game. Other games are MDI vs. Medomak Valley at 2:30 p.m., Ellsworth vs. Medomak Valley at 4 p.m. and MDI vs. Fryeburg Academy at 5:30 p.m.
The MDI girls head to another Tip-Off tournament in Bangor Saturday to include games with Bangor at 11:30 a.m. and Thornton Academy at 1 p.m. “Our forwards are going to get a good test,” Barker said of those games. “We’re going to get some good battles.”
On Tuesday, Dec. 2, the boys are set to travel to Calais and the girls to host Calais for the final preseason matchups.
The regular season begins Friday, Dec. 5, when the girls host Old Town at 7 p.m. The boys travel to Old Town Saturday, Dec. 6, for a 7 p.m. season opener.