BAR HARBOR — Celebrations following the middle school basketball championships on Feb. 10 played at Mount Desert Island High School, where both girls and boys teams made up of players from Tremont and Southwest Harbor won, deemed that side of the island anything but quiet.
For the boys A team, defeating Conners Emerson’s team in the championship game was the first time they had outscored them all season.
“No one in that gym ever expected that,” said Jeff Watson who coaches the girls’ middle school team and was watching the boys’ game before theirs began. “They played super. I was blown away by them.”
In the two previous regular season matchups between the boys’ basketball team from Bar Harbor and, what is affectionately known as, Tremetic, the latter lost both games by a considerable amount.
According to Coach Leeman Hodgdon, everything came together for them to pull off the 39-29 win for the championship. He highlighted strong performances by several players, including Riley Donahue, Mathew Levesque, Shane Lumbatis and Henry Lester.
“Henry Lester is probably the best pure athlete on the island,” said Hodgdon about the Pemetic Elementary eighth grade player. “His speed and quickness … you don’t often see a player who can dribble faster than another kid can sprint.”
For Leeman Hodgdon, who was still giddy about the win four days later, the victory against his cousin, Jason Hodgdon, who coaches the Conners Emerson team was extra sweet. It is the first championship win for Leeman Hodgdon, who has coached the Southwest Harbor/Tremont team for the last six years, and his assistant coach Kevin Scott.
In addition to Lester’s quick defensive moves that resulted in multiple solo lay-up points and Lumbatis’ soft touch that helped put points on the board, Leeman Hodgdon noted Donahue’s strong defense against Conners Emerson’s top scorer, Spencer Laurendeau.
“He really did a good job in limiting Spencer’s open shots,” said Leeman Hodgdon.
A victory was just as sweet for Watson and the girls A team, who were celebrating back-to-back championships with their win. This year’s match up against Mount Desert Elementary School’s team was a repeat of last year’s championship game, with the Tremetic team victorious both years.
“In our league we were undefeated,” said Watson about the girls’ middle school team. “MDES girls fought hard. We trailed for a good three-quarters of that game.”
Strong players for the girls’ middle school team throughout the season were Mollie Gray, who had 22 points in the championship game, Maya Watson, Lexie Tozier and Sophia Thurston, who had several rebounds that resulted in baskets.
“We made some really simple adjustments going into the fourth quarter,” said Watson about how they pulled off the win.
Most of this championship talent will be moving on to the high school next year. Both Watson and Hodgdon had eighth graders making up the majority of their teams. On the girls’ team, seven out of the nine players are in the eighth grade while 10 of the 13 players on the boys’ team are also expected to graduate from elementary school this year.