Watch: High school basketball players talk rivalries, farm animals, haircut rules

AUGUSTA — What a week.

The high school basketball tournament is nearing its apex, with regional semifinals and finals set to tip off this weekend. By late Saturday evening, the final contenders for coveted Gold Balls will be determined.

At the Augusta Civic Center, it’s been a wild week through the D South, C South and A North tournaments. We’ve seen some great stuff.

There’s been an upset or two (hello, Messalonskee boys), a crowd-pleasing dunk (Skowhegan senior Adam Savage with authority) and plenty of noteworthy performances (Brewer boys set long-distance tourney record).

Throughout the action, we’ve talked with some of the student-athletes who’ve left an indelible mark at the Augusta Civic Center, as well as captured a few compelling moments.

Here’s some of highlights, in no particular order:

Walk-off winner

Messalonskee sophomore Merrick Smith showed plenty of poise when he beat defending Class A champ Nokomis and the buzzer with a tough shot to end a wild A North quarterfinal game.

Hey, the cows have to eat

Forest Hills guard Allie Dunning (right) had a busy morning on Feb. 20. Prior to her team’s victory over Greenville in a D South quarterfinal, she had to feed some livestock before heading to Augusta. It’s so Maine — and in a good way.

“No team is gonna want to play us.”

You have to appreciate the physical style that the Skowhegan boys basketball team enjoys playing. The River Hawks have a ton of size, with three players (Collin and Kyle LePage, as well as Adam Savage) standing 6-foot-5. The trio is tough to defend or attack. It also does not lack any confidence. After an A North quarterfinal victory over rival Lawrence, Kyle LePage said no team wants a piece of Skowhegan.

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