Maintaining high school athletic programs in small communities — particularly on islands — sometimes can be a daunting task.

And sometimes, rather than putting the health of prospective players at risk, it is easier to simply call a last-minute audible.

Islesboro Central School made such a call when it announced on Tuesday, Nov. 6 that it would be unable to field boys or girls varsity basketball teams, which effectively has grounded the Eagles’ 2018-19 seasons before they were able to get airborne.

In an email sent by co-athletic directors Katie Yeatts and Rob McHugh to other athletic directors on Islesboro’s prospective high school basketball schedule, the two said “that this administrative decision was made following careful consideration and extensive discussion.”

“We apologize for any inconvenience this causes and we look forward to trying again next year,” the ADs wrote.

This is an all too common problem among small island communities, whose populations are not all year-round residents.

The Islesboro boys squad did not field a team last season, while the Islesboro girls had a mere six players and qualified for the Class D South playoffs.

Islesboro, according to the Maine Principals’ Association basketball bulletin for the 2018-19 season, has an overall high school enrollment of 31 players, the second smallest school by enrollment in Class D South only to Penobscot Bay-neighbor North Haven (22).

Additionally, the North Haven girls basketball team were forced to cancel the 2016-17 season due to lack of players, as was the North Haven boys basketball program during the 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 seasons.

When they do have enough players to field a team, the Islesboro boys often make strong bids for solid regional postseason standing, while the Eagle girls also make competitive waves during the winter campaigns.

Courier Publications' sports staff can be reached by email at or by phone at 594-4401.