After intense haggling, needling, back-and-forth negotiations (with a few insults), eye-rolls and "come-ons!," Ken Waltz and Mark Haskell of the Courier Publications/VillageSoup sports staff have held their "draft" and selected their teams — and starters — for the second annual Courier Publications/VillageSoup Midcoast High School Senior Basketball Showcase.

Those student-athletes will be paired with four volunteer coaches for the games scheduled for Saturday, March 18 at Medomak Valley High School. The girls game begins at 6 p.m. and boys contest at 7:30 p.m.

The initial pool of players for the games were chosen and the student-athletes invited to participate in the event. Now they have been placed on teams.

Senior basketball players from Medomak Valley, Oceanside of Rockland/Thomaston, Camden Hills of Rockport, Belfast, Mount View of Thorndike, Searsport, Islesboro, North Haven and Vinalhaven are invited to participate in the games. Every Midcoast team has at least one representative, if the squad had seniors.

The North Haven boys did not have a senior on this year's team and the Hawk girls did not field a squad this season. There also are fewer girls this year due to a smaller overall senior group.

Also, a handful of the initial invited Midcoast student-athletes are unable to participate, thus others were added to the mix.

The boys invited to participate include: Medomak Valley's Cale Gee, Kyle Donlin, Cameron Allaire, Cameron Martin and Zidane McMurrin; Oceanside's Nate Raye, Sam Atwood and Josef Berger; Searsport's Barrett Grant; Camden Hills' Devin Vangel and Morgan Ford; Islesboro's John Gotham and Avery Grindle; Belfast's Zane Bielenberg, Garrett Hamlin, Nolan Woods and Ian Snowdeal; Vinalhaven's Cody Hamilton and Max Stanley; and Mount View's Devon Davis, Joey Danna, Colby Furrow and Kalvin Croteau.

The girls invited to participate include: Medomak Valley's Amber Hagin and Chelsea Ripley; Oceanside's Jillian Brooks, Alexis Mazurek, Elise Laslavic and Haley Montgomery; Islesboro's Jazmyne Schoppe; Camden Hills' Charlotte Messer, Mara Dostie, Emily Morse and Julia Holt; Belfast's Rainey Knowlton and Hannah Richards; Mount View's Halle Reynolds; Vinalhaven's Rosanna Morel; and Searsport's Karigen Coffin, Paige Ireland, Meghan Grant and Madison Philbrick.

The boys coaches will be Matt Breen of Oceanside and Dave Pepin of Searsport. The girls coaches will be Molly Bishop of Oceanside and Marty Messer of Belfast.

Breen and Pepin are the boys coaches at their schools. Bishop is the athletic director at Oceanside and former girls coach at several schools, most notably Richmond. Messer coaches the Belfast boys, but has coached girls teams in the past.

The officials are Bill Stuart, Juan Alcala, Dave Ames and Chris Barstow. Stuart and Ames will work the girls game and Barstow and Alcala the boys contest.

After the pool of 20 boys and 20 girls were selected from the seniors on all the teams in the area, Waltz and Haskell drafted "their" squads, as they did in the first year of the event. Thus, there again are two Waltz teams and two Haskell teams.

The White teams, the hosts, will represent Waltz and the Blue, Haskell's visitors.

The following are the teams, player combinations and coaches for this year's games:

Waltz girls: Ripley, Brooks, Mazurek, Messer, Morse, Holt, Richards, Reynolds, Grant and Philbrick. Bishop will coach the team. Brooks, Messer, Reynolds, Ripley and Holt are the starters. Mazurek and Richards are unable to play.

Haskell girls: Hagin, Laslavic, Montgomery, Schoppe, Dostie, Knowlton, Morel, Coffin and Ireland. Messer will coach the team. Coffin, Ireland, Knowlton, Dostie and Laslavic are the starters. Montgomery and Morel are unable to play.

Waltz boys: Donlin, McMurrin, Raye, Atwood, Ford, Gotham, Grindle, Snowdeal, Hamilton, Davis, Furrow and Croteau. Breen will coach the team. Donlin, Raye, Davis, Furrow and Atwood are the starters. Ford and Hamilton are unable to play.

Haskell boys: Gee, Allaire, Martin, Berger, Grant, Vangel, Bielenberg, Hamlin, Woods, Stanley and Danna. Pepin will coach the team. Allaire, Martin, Grant, Vangel and Bielenberg are the starters.

All participating girls will meet for team photos, shirt distribution and practice on Saturday, March 18 from 10 to 11:15 a.m. at MVHS.

All participating boys will meet for team photos, shirt distribution and practice on Saturday, March 18 from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at MVHS.

There also will be 3-point shooting contests at halftime of the games. There will be five girls and five boys who will shoot. They will toss up five shots from three spots behind the arc, with each made basket counting for one point and the final ball in each rack being worth two points. Each player has one minute to shoot all 15 balls. The players who will participate in the event will be determined at the morning practices on Saturday, March 18 at MVHS.

The national anthem will be sung that night by Medomak Valley High School students: Seniors Juno Buendia and Richard Kinney, juniors Hailie Brown and Rose Hickey and sophomores Allison Lupien and Emily Lupien.

The games usually include 20 girls and 20 boys playing in separate court affairs. And, as an added twist, players selected from the same school, who normally are teammates, often are placed on separate teams and pitted against one another for this event.

The players are selected by the Courier Publications/VillageSoup sports staff after consultation with area coaches.

Players invited to participate in the event have been notified with a formal letter to their schools. Players also will practice with their teammates and coach at the event site the morning of the games.

For the second straight year, Midcoast high school senior basketball players will have a day and venue to showcase their impressive court talents one final time for family, friends and fans.

The lead sponsor of the event is Bangor Savings Bank, 73 Camden Street in Rockland. KDK (screen printing, embroidery and signs), 33 Shepard Drive in Thomaston is the apparel sponsor of the event. Courier Publications/VillageSoup is the host for the games.

Tickets for the event are $5 for adults and $3 for students. Children ages 5-and-younger are admitted free.

Tickets to attend both games can be purchased at the two Courier Publications/VillageSoup offices: The Courier-Gazette/The Camden Herald in Rockland (Breakwater Marketplace, 91 Camden St., Suite 403, Rockland, telephone 207-594-4401) and The Republican Journal (156 High Street, Belfast, telephone 207-338-3333); or online at

A portion of the proceeds from the event will be donated to the participating schools' athletic departments and used for a variety of sports program needs.

A printed program that includes photos of all the players, coaches and officials, along with statistical and other information, will be available at the games and appear inside the March 16 editions of The Courier-Gazette, The Camden Herald and The Republican Journal newspapers.

Last year's inaugural games were on March 26 at Oceanside High School in Rockland.

The 2016 girls and boys games — which often turned into 3-point shooting contests — proved a delight in so many ways, to the girls coming down to the final seconds to determine a winner and the boys combining for nearly 200 points — while sinking 24 3-pointers and one thunderous dunk.

Structure was thrown out the window, for the most part, and the Oceanside gymnasium became another driveway or playground court for fun-filled, pickup games.

The games included three 1,000-point scorers, a coach with more than 300 victories and a Mr. Maine Basketball nominee.

Every player appeared to walk off the court, after representing their schools for the final time, with smiles on their faces, and perhaps new friendships and new found respect for other area hoopsters.

At the end of the exhibitions or showcase event, the White teams prevailed — 54-52 in the girls game and 114-83 for the boys.

The games were extended to four 10-minute quarters.