Eastern Maine Class C tourney teams deserve fair treatment

Another Eastern Maine tourney has passed and with it some unfair treatment again for the Class C teams.

Each year the Class C teams are forced to play back-to-back semifinal and final games in the annual Eastern Maine tourney while Class B and D teams have at least one day between their semifinal and final games.

Along with the back-to-back games for the Class C teams, add in the games being played on a 10-foot longer college court at the Cross Insurance Center, and the result was that the four Class C teams seemed tired in the two finals.

The losing teams seemed listless at the start of both games as they fell behind early in the games with Orono trailing 13-0 early in the first quarter and Lee down 30-11 at the half.

The shooting percentages were poor and this could be the results of tired legs.

The Orono girls shot just 20.4 percent from the floor, 66.7 from the line and 19 percent from 3-point land while Calais countered with 40.4 percent from the floor, 50 percent from the line and 15.4 for 3-pointers.

The Lee boys shot 30.9 from the floor, 54.5 from the line and 21.4 on 3-pointers while Houlton, which had a game plan to go inside, shot 48.6 from the floor, 73.7 from the line and 12.5 on 3-pointers.

The Calais girls and Houlton boys won the games.

The shooting percentages were definitely down for the losers of both games as Orono and Lee shot a combined field goal percentage of just 24.2, foul shooting at 58.9 and shot only 17.6 from beyond the arc.

The total shooting percentages for the two games for the four teams: 33.7 field goals, 61.1 foul shots and 17.8 on 3-pointers.

It also didn’t seem fair to have the Class C girls play an evening session of semifinals at 7:05 p.m. and 8:35 p.m. and then play the finals at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday while the boys played the afternoon session of semifinals at 2:05 and 3:35 p.m. and then the evening session of the finals at 8:45 p.m.

Wouldn’t it have made more sense to play the girls games in the afternoon on Friday to give them more turnaround time for some needed rest and have the boys play in the evening on Friday? The Calais girls played at 8:35 p.m. Friday and had to then play the final less than 21 hours later while the boys team that played at 3:35 p.m. on Friday didn’t have to play until almost 28 hours later at 8:45 p.m.

As it is now the Class B teams have the best tourney schedule with three games on the first Friday and five games on the first Saturday for quarterfinals, semifinals on Wednesday and finals on Saturday.

The Class C teams have been in the evening session for the finals because they traditionally draw strong crowds, but to make everything fair for Classes B, C, and D, the finals should be rotated so that each of the three classes only has to play back-to-back semifinals and finals once every three years. Also, the girls semifinals should be on Friday afternoons and the final at 7:05 p.m. Saturday.

Thankfully, the Maine Principals’ Association’s basketball committee has finally realized this situation should be addressed and will be doing so later this year. It didn’t do so this year because it didn’t want a schedule change while also changing from the old venue of the Bangor Auditorium to the new Cross Insurance Center.