It was certainly a banner year for high school boys basketball teams throughout the Midcoast, as many of the area’s top squads were on top of their games for the 2009-10 campaign. And while none of the teams may have raised a state championship gold ball at the conclusion of the season, more than half of the local teams advanced to the regional playoffs and made a run at their respective state crowns.

And the accomplishments of many of those hard-working student-athletes are rewarded as VillageSoup unveils its first annual high school basketball notables.

The criteria to become a Midcoast notable student-athlete begins with the VillageSoup sports department polling area coaches to provide a list of what they feel are their top players for that season, not necessarily a high school career. In this case, for boys basketball, Belfast’s Scott Benzie, Camden Hills’ Jeff Hart, Mount View’s Steve Caron, Medomak Valley’s Nick DePatsy, Searsport’s Brad Cook, Rockland’s Matt Breen, Georges Valley’s Scott Johnson, Vinalhaven’s Matt Slivinsky, North Haven’s Ryan Lantagne and Islesboro’s Don Johnson were polled for their nominations.

The notables are based on individual performances, although the strength of a team’s season may impact how many players from a specific team are selected.

Athletes had to play in at least half of their team’s regular-season games to be considered for notable status.

This year’s VillageSoup boys basketball notables include Georges Valley’s Logan Cross and Alex Grierson; Belfast’s Jack Davis; Mount View’s Michael Cochrane, Zach Babin, Jason Hughes and Dylan Keller; Islesboro’s Jason Hatch and D.J. Johnson; Camden Hills’ Tyler McFarland, Keegan Pieri, Jimmy Weferling, Cam Gartley and Joel Gabriele; Rockland’s Chris Nolan, Aidan Hadley and Dylan Meklin; Vinalhaven’s Nathan Hopkins and Steven Osgood; Medomak Valley’s Alex MacKenzie, Isaac Greenrose and Isaac Durkee; North Haven’s Zeb Campbell; and Searsport’s Rocky Faunce.

Upperclassmen clearly dominated play on the hardwood this season, as this year’s notables are comprised of 13 seniors, five juniors, five sophomores and in a rare instance, one eighth grader. Island schools, which compete in the significantly smaller Class D, allow eighth graders to compete at the varsity level.

VillageSoup selects who they and coaches feel are the best player on a given team for that season, thus giving every team in the area one notable representative. Then the notables are filled out with the area’s other top players.

Babin, Weferling, Cochrane, Nolan, Cross, Meklin, Davis, MacKenzie, Gartley, Keller, Grierson, Hopkins and Hughes are seniors; Durkee, Hatch, Pieri, McFarland and Gabriele, all juniors; and Faunce, Greenrose, Johnson, Osgood and Hadley, all sophomores. Campbell is the lone eighth grader.

Belfast, a Class B team competing in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference, finished with a record of 1-17 and was 18th among 19 teams in Eastern Class B. The Lions did not qualify for postseason play.

Camden Hills, a Class B team competing in the KVAC, had a sensational season and advanced to the state championship game for the second straight season and the third time in four years. The Windjammers finished the regular season with a 16-2 record, earning the No. 1 seed in Eastern Class B.

The Windjammers then dispatched of No. 9 Mount Desert Island 54-39 in the regional quarterfinals, defeated No. 5 seed and Midcoast rival Medomak Valley 69-48 in the semifinals and then blew out No. 2 Ellsworth 82-49 in the regional final. Camden Hills then fell in overtime to Western Class B titlist Falmouth 72-65 in the state Class B championship game. The Windjammers also won the league title.

Georges Valley, a Class C team competing in the Mountain Valley Conference, finished with a record of 9-9 and earned the No. 9 seed in the Western Class C playoffs. The Buccaneers defeated No. 8 St. Dominic of Lewiston 66-61 in the preliminary round in double-overtime before falling to top-seeded Livermore Falls 61-47 in the regional quarterfinals.

Islesboro, which competes in Western Class D, finished with a record of 8-7 and was 10th among 14 teams. The Eagles did not qualify for postseason play.

Medomak Valley, a Class B team competing in the KVAC, had a strong season and finished with a record of 14-4 and earned the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Class B playoffs. The Panthers defeated No. 4 Presque Isle 46-42 in the quarterfinals, but fell to Midcoast rival and top seeded Camden Hills 69-48 in the semifinals.

Mount View, a Class B team competing in the KVAC, had its best all-around season in some time by finishing with a record of 15-3 and finding itself as the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Class B playoffs. The Mustangs slipped past No. 6 Old Town 46-38 in the quarterfinal round before falling to No. 2 Ellsworth 84-65 in the semifinals.

North Haven, which competes in Western Class D, finished with a record of 1-13 and was 13th out of 14 teams. The Hawks did not qualify for postseason play.

Rockland, a Class B team competing in the KVAC, had an up-and-down season but had a late-season surge and earned a trip to the Bangor Auditorium for the third straight season. The Tigers finished with a 9-9 record, earning the 10th and final playoff spot in Eastern Class B. Rockland defeated No. 7 Winslow 57-44 in the preliminary round and took No. 2 Ellsworth to the brink of elimination before falling in overtime 66-65 in the quarterfinals.

Searsport, a Class C team competing in the Penobscot Valley Conference, finished with a record of 5-13 and was 16th out of 20 teams in Eastern Class C. The Vikings did not qualify for postseason play.

Vinalhaven, a Class D team competing in the East-West Conference, finished with a record of 10-6 and earned the No. 6 seed in the Western Class D playoffs. The upset-minded Vikings defeated No. 3 Valley of Bingham 50-46 in the quarterfinals and knocked off No. 2 A.R. Gould of South Portland 72-59 in the semifinals, before falling to top-seeded Richmond 47-32 in the regional final.

The following are VillageSoup’s 24 high school boys basketball notables, listed in alphabetical order:

Babin, a 6-foot-3-inch forward, was a consummate team leader this season for the Mustangs as a senior and was referred to by coach Caron as the glue that held the team together. Babin scored 145 points (8.5 ppg) through the regular season, while also pulling down 96 rebounds (5.6 ppg), 45 assists (2.6 apg) and 26 steals (1.5 spg) through 17 games. A versatile player that could thrive in either the guard or forward position, Babin was one of the more unselfish players on the team this season and was an aggressive player on both ends of the floor.

Campbell, a 5-5 guard, was the top overall player this season for North Haven, and did so impressively as an eighth grader. Through 14 games this season, Campbell scored 100 points this season while also averaging five assists and three steals per contest. Despite Campbell never playing any real organized basketball prior to this season, he was the team’s starting point guard and played exceptionally well given the responsibilities of the position. Coach Lantagne added that Campbell is a tough defender, distributes the basketball well and displays great hustle on the floor.

Cochrane, a 6-2 forward, was Mount View’s top offensive threat this season and played much bigger than his frame would suggest. Cochrane scored 246 points (13.6 ppg) and also pulled down 113 rebounds (6.3 rpg), leading the team in both categories. Sixth-nine of his rebounds were of the offensive sort, as he had a sixth sense in the paint and was often the recipient of many putbacks underneath the hoop.

Cochrane was also the team’s most outstanding defender, as he would often guard the opposition’s top offensive player. He can also attack the basket with the best of them, and has a terrific first step off the wing that is tough to stop. Cochrane was also a second team KVAC all-conference selection.

Cross, a 5-10 guard, was Georges Valley’s top offensive threat this season, which earned him a second-team Mountain Valley Conference nomination in the process. Cross averaged 12.6 points per game this season for the Bucs, canned 36 three-pointers and was the best foul shooter on the team, converting 76 percent of his attempts. Cross was a versatile player for the Bucs this season due largely in part to his ability to hit the outside shot, work well with both hands and his strong defensive prowess.

Davis, a 5-11 guard, had a strong year for the Lions this season despite it being a down year for the team record-wise. An athletic player with a quick first step and the ability to take opponents off the dribble, Davis averaged 11.4 points per game this season and also pulled down an average of 5.8 caroms per contest. He also averaged three assists and 2.5 steals. According to coach Benzie, Davis “has the ability to dominate a game on any given night.” Davis was also named to the KVAC all-academic team this season.

Durkee, a 6-1 forward, had a breakout season for the Panthers this season as a junior and established himself, along with Greenrose, as the team’s top three-point threat. Durkee was second on the team in scoring averaging 12.2 points per game, also led the teams in steals per contest with just under three and free throw percentage at 68 percent. He also canned 31 three-pointers.

“Isaac really brought his game to a higher level this season on both ends of the court,” said coach DePatsy. “In the off season he became stronger and it has really made him become one of the best small forward rebounders in the league.” A scorer who can catch-and-shoot or put the ball on the floor and go to the rim, Durkee will likely be one of the primary scoring options for the Panthers next season.

Faunce, a 6-1 forward/center, was Searsport’s top player this season and proved it with his unselfish, well-balanced play for the Vikings. Faunce averaged 15.9 points per game this season and also pulled down 10.5 rebounds per contest, leading the team in both categories. Faunce was a co-captain on this year’s team and was often their go-to guy offensively.

Gabriele, a 6-0 guard, stepped up and gave the Windjammers and outside scoring threat as he knocked down 29 three-pointers over the course of the season. He finished the year with 152 points (6.9 ppg), 44 rebounds), 41 assists (1.9 apg) and 24 steals (1.1 spg). He had a season-high 20 points early in the season against Belfast, but also had 14 points and knocked down four three-pointer in the ‘Jammers regional final win over Ellsworth. “[Joel] turned into an outstanding three-point threat for us, but his biggest improvement was on the defensive end. He also made big strides handling the ball and that let us bring him in to play point guard if we needed.”

Gartley, a 6-3 guard, was if nothing else, one of the Windjammers’ toughest players and proved it by overcoming a broken wrist in the middle of the season and coming back to contribute both at the end of the regular season and through the playoffs. Gartley scored 100 points this season through 17 games and had a game-high 14 in a game early in the season against Leavitt. He also had 30 assists, 30 rebounds and 20 steals this season in his first full year of varsity action.

Greenrose, a 6-1 guard, quickly moved to the forefront as one of Medomak Valley’s primary scoring options this season and proved he has the potential to be one of the strongest players in the Midcoast over the next two seasons. Greenrose, along with Durkee, gave the Panthers two legitimate outside scoring threats this season and was third on the team in scoring with 10.7 points per contest. He also canned 32 triples this season, and emerged as one of the team’s top defenders.

“Isaac is a very explosive guard who can make things happen off the dribble,” said DePatsy. “He is an excellent shooter, [both] off the catch and off the dribble. Over the course off the season Isaac has really improved on his overall game, especially on the defensive end.” The tandem of Greenrose and Durkee has the potential to give opposing defenses fits next season.

Grierson, a 6-4 center, was a strong interior presence for Georges Valley this season and was a strong defender in the interior. Grierson nearly averaged a double-double this season, coming in at just under nine points per contest and pulling down just over 10 boards per game. He also blocked 41 shots.

Coach Johnson said Grierson was one of the hardest workers on the team this year, plays the middle well and had “some monster games” for the Bucs. One of those games Grierson saved for the Buccaneers’ preliminary round double-overtime victory over St. Dominic, where he dropped in 16 points and pulled down 25 rebounds. That game was one of a few games this season where Grierson pulled down over 20 boards in a game, according to Johnson.

Hadley, a 6-5 center, played well in his first full varsity season for the Tigers after seeing time sparingly on the varsity squad the previous season as a freshman. Hadley tallied 175 points (8.8 ppg),pulled down 172 boards (8.6 rpg) and also had 16 assists. Hadley was a double-digit scorer in 10 games this season, with his best offensive game coming against Lincoln Academy, where he scored 16 against the Eagles. He also had a 10-block game earlier in the season against Leavitt, and pulled down an astonishing 22 rebounds in the Tigers’ quarterfinal overtime loss to Ellsworth. He was also named to the KVAC all-rookie team this season.

Hadley, along with Meklin, gave the Tigers a strong interior presence this season and had the ability to both clog up the paint and contest many of the opposition’s shots. Coach Breen added that Hadley grew into his role as the season wore on and came on strong in the second half of the season. He figures to be a focal point of both the offense and defense for the Tigers moving forward.

Hatch, a 6-3 guard/forward, was an incredibly versatile player for Islesboro this season as he had the ability to seamlessly transition between the guard and forward position without disrupting the team’s offensive rhythm. Perhaps more impressively, Hatch also reached the 1,000-point plateau this season as a junior in a game at Pine Tree Academy in Freeport. Hatch dropped 276 (18.4 ppg) points this season for the Eagles and connected on 32 three-point attempts, while also corralling 131 boards (8.7 rpg), 28 steals (1.8 spg) and 21 assists (1.4 apg). He was also 42-of-56 (75 percent) from the foul line this season.

Hatch made the move to the forward position this season while playing guard over the past three years, which coach Johnson said benefited not only Hatch’s game but the overall play of the team as well. Hatch once again figures to be the focal point of Islesboro’s offense next season as a senior.

Hopkins, a 6-4 center, was the heart and soul of the Vinalhaven boys team that sailed all the way to the Western Class D regional final this season. A big player that played big in big games, Hopkins averaged a double-double this season for the Vikings as he dropped in an averaged of 15 points per contest to go along with 13 rebounds and three assists. The steady senior who is strong on both the offensive and defensive ends in the paint tallied 15 points in their quarterfinal win against Valley, 20 in their semifinal victory against A.R. Gould and 10 in their regional final loss to Richmond.

Hughes, a 6-4 center, was Mount View’s top defensive presence this season according to coach Caron, but also did more than his fair share of contributing offensively. Hughes, who transferred to Mount View from Belfast last season, scored 147 points (8.2 ppg) through the regular season and pulled down 105 boards (5.8 rpg), 39 of which were offensive. He was also tabbed as the team’s defensive player of the year and drew 19 charges, which can often led to big momentum swings for the ‘Stangs. He had a good transition game, could turn a fast break quickly and played very well against some of the more physically imposing big men in the KVAC, such as Camden Hills’ McFarland and Maranacook’s Ben Johnson.

Johnson, a 6-2 guard, had a terrific season for Islesboro this year and proved to be one of the team’s top offensive threats. Johnson was second on the team in scoring, rattling off 226 points (15.1 ppg) and corralling 97 rebounds (6.5 rpg), 56 steals (3.7 spg) and 54 assists (3.6 apg). Johnson, who began playing for the Eagles as an eighth grader, will likely hit 1,000 points next season just as teammate Hatch did this season, needing only 179 points to hit the milestone. Johnson and Hatch should be a formidable 1-2 offensive punch next season for the Eagles.

Keller, a 5-6 guard, was small in stature but certainly played big this year for Mount View as he was one of the driving forces behind the big turnaround in this season’s program. Keller scored 121 points (6.7 ppg) through 18 games this season and also dished out 95 assists (5.3 apg) as the team’s floor general. He also pulled down 52 rebounds (2.9 rpg). Coach Caron referred to Keller as an extension of him on the court, adding that Keller would often know what he wanted before he could verbalize it.

Keller thrived at driving to the basket and dishing the ball to open teammates either in the paint or on the perimeter. While not a shooter by nature, he was not afraid to take big shots, as he scored the final field goal in Mount View’s big midseason win over Camden Hills. He is also a great finisher with a terrific mid-range jumpshot.

MacKenzie, a 6-2 forward, was again Medomak Valley’s top overall player this season and helped lead the Panthers to the No. 5 seed in Eastern Class B. A versatile player with both great hands and superior footwork and has a strong midrange jumper in additional to a superior post game, MacKenzie averaged 13.3 points per contest this season and also averaged 7.8 rebounds per game, leading the team in both categories. He was also second on the team in both assists and steals, and also drew 13 charges against opposing offenses this season. He finished his high school career amassing 770 points.

MacKenzie also earned numerous accolades for his accomplishments on the court, earning first-team, all-defensive and all-academic KVAC honors, was named to the all-tourney team for the Eastern Class B tournament and participated in the 2010 Maine McDonalds High School Senior A/B All-Star Basketball Game.

“Alex is an unselfish basketball player he makes players around him better,” said coach DePatsy. “Alex can play inside and out, his court vision is tremendous, he always has his head up and sees the floor well. [He] is a very coachable player, [and] he is always looking to do something to make himself and his team better.”

Last season, MacKenzie averaged 13 points and seven rebounds per contest, and also averaged 13 points per game throughout his high school career.

McFarland, a 6-5 forward/center, was not only by far in a way the Midcoast’s most polished all-around player, but also heralded by many as one of the top basketball players in the entire state. McFarland had a monster season, pouring in 410 points (18.6 ppg) and pulling down 201 total rebounds (9.1 rpg), 116 of which were offensive boards. He also had 54 blocks (2.5 bpg), 44 steals (2.0 spg), 39 assists (1.8 apg) and was 89-of-112 (79 percent) from the foul line. He scored in double digits in all 22 games played this season, had double-digit rebounds in 11 of those games and also scored 20 or more points in 11 contests.

McFarland “can do it all,” according to coach Hart, and proved it on the court this season. He is a clutch player that not only is not afraid to take the big shot, but more often than not cashes in on those opportunities. He is also a strong physical presence in the paint, often converting second-chance opportunities into easy hoops and is a year-round basketball player. “Tyler is a natural leader,” said Hart. “Totally about the team and only the team. He can score, rebound, play great defense, pass, handle the ball-he can do it all. On top of all that, his is a leader in the school, is a solid citizen and a friend to anyone who knows him.”

Last season, McFarland had 242 regular season points and was an integral part of the team that led the Windjammers to the Class B state championship. At this pace, McFarland figures to become the second Windjammer in three season to eclipse the 1,000-point plateau next season. He was also named KVAC player of the year, and was also tabbed the top player in the Eastern Class B tournament for the second straight year.

Meklin, a 6-4 forward, earned the title of “Mr. Consistent” this season for the Tigers as his ability to play tough inside and his knack of hitting big shots made him invaluable this season for Rockland. Meklin scored 247 points (12.4 ppg) this season and pulled down 143 rebounds (7.2 rpg) and also had 25 assists.

Meklin’s arsenal featured a terrific midrange jump, which he displayed all season and over the course of his high school basketball career. He scored in double figures in 15 of 20 games this season, with a personal high of 24 early in the season at Oak Hill. His athletic ability was always on display for the Tigers, using his length to his advantage and altering many shots.

Last season, Meklin averaged eight points and six rebounds per contest. He was also a KVAC honorable mention selection this season.

Nolan, a 5-11 guard, had his typically stellar offensive season this year for Rockland and ended his high school career on the Bangor Auditorium floor with not only arguably the best game of his career, but also tallied his 1,000th career point for the Tigers. Nolan poured in 392 (19.6 ppg) points this season and drilled 28 three-pointers, while dishing out 104 assists (5.2 apg) and pulling down 48 rebounds.

A floor general in every aspect of the game, Nolan scored in double figures in all 20 games this season, had a season-high of 36 against Leavitt and poured in 27 points in an overtime loss to second-seeded Ellsworth in the quarterfinals. Nolan can shoot from all over the floor and has the ability to both distribute the ball and go to the basket and make plays with ease. Coach Breen added that Nolan is a true playmaker who was able to step up for them in tough situations all year, and had the ability to carry the team on his back when the situation called for it offensively.

Nolan averaged 13 points per game last season along with five assists per contest. He was also a KVAC honorable mention and all-defensive team selection this season.

Osgood, a 6-0 guard/forward, proved to be a sharp shooter and a terrific second scoring option for Vinalhaven during his sophomore season. Osgood averaged 14 points per game this season for the Vikings, while also averaging six rebounds and four assists per contest. Osgood proved to be a terrific shooter particularly from beyond the arc, and figures to be one of the focal points of Vinalhaven’s offense next season. He scored 10 points apiece in both the quarterfinal and regional finals against Valley and Richmond, and poured in 19 points in the semifinal round against A.R. Gould.

Pieri, a 6-5 guard/forward, came on as a starter this season for the Windjammers after being a key reserve last year and proved to be one of the team’s strongest, most consistent players. Pieri rattled off 290 points (13.8 ppg) this season, pulled down 90 rebounds (4.3 rpg), dished out 36 assists (1.7 apg), made 21 steals and was 76-of-92 (83 percent) from the foul line. Pieri was also a KVAC first team all-conference selection this season.

With both his size and ability to handle the ball, Pieri was capable of playing all five positions on the floor this season and often did, as he was equally likely to be found leading the charge at the point guard position or calling for the ball down in the post as a forward or center. Coach Hart added that Pieri is a quiet leader on the team, extremely knowledgeable of the game and an outstanding citizen within the school.

Weferling, a 5-10 guard, was the Windjammers’ spark plug this season as the starting point guard and had the ability to make plays and play hard-nosed defense. Weferling scored 82 points (3.7 ppg), 57 rebounds (2.6 rpg), 57 steals (2.6 spg) and 46 assists (2.1 apg. He had a personal best of 12 points this season against Nokomis of Newport.

While his stats do not jump off the page, Weferling was the Windjmmers’ most athletic player and always drew the assignment of defending the opposition’s top offensive guard. His quick hands and quick feet would often help him both come up with the ball and get into space, putting him in the position of setting up one of his teammates for quick baskets. “He totally set the state for us with his defense and his ability to put the other team back on their heels by pushing the ball up the court,” said coach Hart.

Last season, Weferling scored 32 points as a bench player for the Windjammers. He was also a KVAC honorable mention selection this season.

Village NetMedia Associate Sports Director Mark Haskell can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail at mhaskell@villagesoup.com.