Friday, March 7, 2014
By Gary Hawkins firstname.lastname@example.org
AUGUSTA — There are as many reasons to play in the Capital City Hoop Classic as there are teams. But one reason all teams share is a chance to get on the floor at the Augusta Civic Center where many of the tournament games will be played in February.
TAKE THE SHOT: Lawrence’s Nia Irving takes a shot under pressure during a Capital City Hoop Classic game on Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center.
Staff photo by Joe Phelan
“It’s just playing against good teams and getting exposure here at the Civic Center,” Madison girls coach Al Veneziano said.
Saturday was girls day at the Hoop Classic and Veneziano’s Bulldogs played games against Richmond (a 61-57 win) and Cony (a 63-48 loss). The Bulldogs are expected to contend for the Western Maine Class C title this season along with two other teams at the tournament Saturday, Waynflete and Boothbay.
Against Class A Cony, they got a strong dose of the Rams’ 3-point shooting.
“It gives us a chance to play a little more perimeter defense,” Veneziano said. “It also exposes your weaknesses.”
The Bulldogs got 30 points from Samantha Bruce and 10 from Bronte Elias in their win over Richmond and 17 from Elias and 15 from Bruce in their loss to Cony.
They did lose a starter when junior Alex Jarvais injured her knee in the Richmond game.
“She’ll be out a week or so,” Veneziano said.
Lawrence split a pair of games, losing to Waynflete 66-56 and beating Richmond 57-42.
The Bulldogs are 4-2 in Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A play and were coming off a big win against Mt. Blue on Friday night.
“It gave me an opportunity to see kids that haven’t had a chance to play much,” Lawrence coach John Donato said. “It also gives me a good idea how kids mix with other kids.”
Against Waynflete, Lawrence’s two outstanding freshmen led the way as Nia Irving scored 14 points and Dominique Lewis added 11. In the win against Richmond it was the Irving with 13 and Paige Belanger with 10.
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Cony won the boys championship game Friday night, defeating Boothbay 68-65. Kevin Kingsbury led the winners with 19 points while Mitchell Bonenfant scored 17. Boothbay’s John Hepburn led all scorers with 22 points while teammate Lincoln Simmons scored 12.
The all-tournament team included Kingsbury and Zack Lachance from Cony, Gardiner’s Tyler Jamison, Hall-Dale’s Michael Woods and Boothbay’s Hepburn. Boothbay’s Anthony DiMauro was named tournament MVP. Jamison won the 3-point shooting contest, defeating Woods 13-6 in the finals. Cony’s Chandler Shostak won the $500 college scholarship sponsored by G&E Roofing and the Chinah-Dinah.
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Richmond got what it needed from its first trip to the Capital City Hoop Classic on Saturday.
“It was really a great day,” senior Jamie Plummer said. “I was really pleased we got the chance to play on the Civic Center floor. And it was good to have some (post) competition and some players to play against.”
The Bobcats are the two-time defending Western Maine Class D champions and are rarely challenged during the regular season. Saturday, they got all they wanted in a 61-57 loss to Madison and a 57-42 loss against Lawrence.
“Both had pretty big inside people I was able to match up on,” the 6-foot Plummer said. “I was glad for that.”
Plummer scored 28 points against Madison and 13 against Lawrence. Teammate Ciarra Lancaster scored 10 in the Lawrence game.
Gary Hawkins — 621-5638