by Hollie McAfee
Maine winters are long, dark and cold, and that’s probably why so many of us love going to high school basketball games, in a warm gym, to socialize with other fans and cheer on our favorite young people. I should say up front that I am a Hodgdon Hawks fan, through and through. I grew up in Hodgdon, played basketball in high school (many years ago in non-tourney years, you won’t remember me), my kids go to Hodgdon schools, my junior high son plays, lives and breathes basketball, and both Hodgdon’s girls and boys varsity teams are having great seasons so far this year. So, yes, I favor Hodgdon. They are an awesome bunch of kids!
F.A. Peabody has offices in eight towns around the state, and we’ve got some serious basketball talent all around us! The first place boys’ team in each Eastern Maine Class is from a town in which we have an office: Class A, Hampden Academy; Class B, Presque Isle; Class C, Houlton; and Class D, Central Aroostook (Mars Hill.) Presque Isle girls are undefeated and in first place in Class B. Houlton girls are having a winning season. Calais, Caribou and Lee Academy (Lincoln Area) teams are also doing very well. The manager in our Caribou office has a daughter who plays for defending, currently undefeated state champions for Class D, Washburn High School. And we’ve seen great effort by the teams from Katahdin and Southern Aroostook schools, as well as the Greater Houlton Christian Academy. These are just teams I’ve been following, I’m sure I’ve unintentionally left schools out, so feel free to call me out on that!
We have some great coverage of these games from our local radio station in Houlton, WHOU. These guys do such a good job announcing the play by play action, and the video broadcast on the internet is well-done. When I didn’t want to cram myself into the Houlton High School gym with 1200 other people when the Hodgdon boys played there (what a game!) I watched online. WHOU recently made the exciting announcement that they have received an exclusive contract to broadcast all 24 games of the Eastern Maine quarterfinals in Bangor next month. I’ll definitely be watching!
So, basketball in northern Maine is a big deal, maybe more than it needs to be at times. As much as we love to watch these students play, and talk about the games the next day at work, we know that few of them go on to play professional or even college basketball. But that’s ok. They are learning important lessons about life, friendships and sportsmanship as they entertain us through a bleak winter, and I’m thankful for that.