AUGUSTA — Due to a variety of scheduling challenges, including the usual logistical one of starting their frame of reference from an island in Penobscot Bay, the 2022-23 Islesboro basketball teams, their players, coaches and fans, looked forward to each regular-season game on or off the island simply to play competitively, have fun and forge to their goals of qualifying for the coveted Class D South tournament at the Augusta Civic Center.
As it turned out, the Eagles flew high enough often enough in a somewhat scattered and unpredictable regular season to secure sufficient success and place among the top eight in the region to grab berths in the playoffs and a road trip to central Maine.
Those postseason opportunities came on Saturday, Feb. 18 at ACC when the islanders were embroiled in two distinctly different quarterfinal games a few hours apart on the same court.
Earlier in the morning, in boys play, No. 6 Islesboro (8-9) lost to No. 3 Greenville (7-13) 44-32 in a highly-competitive affair. In the early afternoon, in the girls game, No. 8 Islesboro (4-13) lost to No. 1 Valley of Bingham (16-4) 68-19.
The Laker and Eagle boys did not play one another during the regular season. For the girls, the Cavaliers also beat Islesboro 66-31 on Dec. 19 on the island.
As the playoffs progressed, the Greenville boys lost to No. 2 Valley 75-64 in the semifinals, while the Valley girls beat No. 5 Vinalhaven 77-23 in the next round and will meet No. 4 Seacoast Christian in the regional final on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 1 p.m. at ACC.
Islesboro court players hoped to build on the athletic success of the island coed soccer teams, which advanced to the regionalr championship games in the falls of 2021-22 and 2022-23.
Alas, the official court seasons have concluded for the Eagles, but the following is a recap of their quarterfinal playoff games at the ACC.
Boys: Greenville 44, Islesboro 32
The opponents proved evenly-matched, although the foes struggled a bit offensively in the early going. The Lakers led 8-4, 18-13 and 31-26 at the quarter breaks.
For the Eagles, Tobias Conover scored 10 points; Dylan Frank, eight; Robert Conover, five; Alex Watson, four; Harper Conover, three; and Finnegan Calderwood, two.
The islanders made 1-of-3 foul shots (33 percent), but did connect on five three-pointers, including two from Frank and one from each of the Conovers.
The triple-ball helped keep the islanders stay in the game over the final 16 minutes as Frank had two and Tobias and Harper Conover one in that time.
For the Lakers, Liam Mason turned in a stellar 22-point effort, in which he made three triples and 5-of-6 foul shots (all in decisive fourth quarter). In fact, Greenville salted the game away when it made 9-of-14 free throws in the final eight minutes and 14-of-22 overall (64 percent).
Also for Greenville, Dominick Murray scored 13 points, Ocean Turner three and Lance Owen, Devin O’Connor and Dale Turner two. Murray also connected on a trey.