BAR HARBOR — The high school basketball regular season gets underway this weekend, and the Mount Desert Island High School boys’ and girls’ had a busy week making their final preparations.
After taking on Hampden Academy early last week, the two teams finished off their preseason slates with games Thursday, Saturday and Tuesday.
“It’s always a long wait for high school basketball here in Maine once the season ends, but now it’s finally here,” girls’ head coach Brent Barker said. “We’re lucky at a school where our boys and girls are solid year-in and year-out because that makes it even more fun.”
The Trojan girls played a tough slate throughout the week with games coming against teams from Class A and Class B. That gauntlet began with last Tuesday’s showdown against defending Class A North champion Hampden last week before a battle with Maine Central Institute, last year’s No. 4 seed in Class B North, on Thursday.
Following those five-quarter exhibitions, MDI made a trip to southern Maine on Saturday to take on Lake Region in Freeport. Playing two games in one day, the Trojans emerged victorious in both contests.
“We really wanted to see what we could do going down away from home and taking on two quality opponents like that,” Barker said. “It was a great bonding experience for the girls because they got to be together on the bus, hang out before and after and obviously play together during the games.”
Against defending Class B South champion Lake Region, MDI came away with a 41-35 win. Senior Maddy Candage led the way with 21 points for the Trojans, who got six from Olivia Gray, five from Hannah Chamberlain, four from Rachelle Swanson and two from Leah Carroll.
Later that afternoon, MDI took another strong opponent in Freeport, which went 16-5 and made the Southern Maine regional title game last year. This time, the Trojans locked down on defense to earn a 33-20 win. Candage led the team in scoring again with nine points with Lindsey McEachern scoring six, Gray and Alexis Clarito scoring five apiece, Elizabeth Jones netting four and Chamberlain recording two.
“Our goal is to get better and find ways to improve ourselves, and I think I’ve seen that every day,” Barker said. “We’ve had a really good preseason thus far, and if we keep taking things one at a time like we’ve done a good job of doing so far, I think that’s only going to continue.”
MDI’s boys’ squad also took on Pittsfield on Thursday prior to a Saturday preseason game against George Stevens Academy. The top local teams the past two seasons, the Trojans and Eagles had never met as a result of being in different classifications. Neither matchup was scored.
Head coach Justin Norwood said much of the preseason has been dedicated to adding new tweaks to the team’s offense. With 3-point specialists James McConomy and Andrew Phelps having graduated last year, the team’s shape on that end of the floor remains a work in progress.
“We’re going to have a bit of a new look to it this year,” Norwood said. “It’s new to them, but we’re seeing them start to nail it down every day.”
Both teams were scheduled to play on the road against Brewer in their final preseason action Thursday night.
The MDI girls will open their season at home against Old Town at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, with the boys opening their season against the Coyotes at that time Saturday, Dec. 8.
“I think everyone’s excited to play in a real game,” Norwood said. “The kids and the coaches, everyone is itching to go right now. We have to show what we’re made of because we know we’re going