And just like that, it’s gone. No, I’m not talking about my money after playing the blackjack table at Hollywood Casinos, I’m talking about Tourney Week 2018, the best week of the year.
I just finished my 23rd year working this event in some fashion. Most of my years have been behind the microphone working for various media outlets. I’ve seen it all; great teams, phenomenal players, crushing defeats, and amazing upsets. Some years are better than others, but after all these years, they seem to run together and all you have left are the great moments. So with this week wrapping up, here’s the best of the best from the Cross Center. (B/C/D Tourney)
Cream always rises to the top. All boys #1 seeds won their tournaments (Hampden/ Hermon/GSA/Woodland) and three of the four girls #1 seeds won (Hampden/Houlton/S. Aroostook). The only holdout was #6 Winslow girls, and after watching the Black Raiders, they were much better than their record. Oh. I know The Broncos played in Augusta, but well worth mentioning here.
Young talent. We had a ton of freshmen and sophomores who were real contributors to their teams. The Dexter girls started three freshmen and almost won it all. Those are just a few.
Bands - Not every school has them, but there are a few that just blow you away. Presque Isle, MDI, Houlton, and GSA are by far the best. The smaller C and D schools do what they can, and we even had a little rock band from Shead High School. They weren’t big, but they were loud.
Dunking…..in Bangor. I saw at least a half a dozen dunks,good ones, and NO technicals called. If you’ve paid any attention to social media over the last week, Portland and Augusta had a handful of T’s called for dunking. I’m not getting into whether dunking is legal or illegal. Let’s just say, thank you to the Bangor referees for “letting them play”.
The facility - Look, there was no better basketball atmosphere that the Bangor Auditorium. The place just screamed basketball. It also was old, leaky, and dirty. Many of us work 15 plus hour days at the tournament, and at the Auditorium, I’d actually feel dirty after a long day, and I didn’t run around. The air is just cleaner and the facility is nicer at the Cross Center. Put a crowd in there and it’s loud too. I will say the concessions are a bit pricey for what you get, but that’s minimal. Hard to believe this is the 5th tournament at the CIC. Think about that.
The crowds were good. As of Friday, they were up a bit from last year. I think Saturday helped keep that number up. We still have this weekend with the state championships, but the magic of Tourney Week has been packed away for another year.
Congratulations to all teams, coaches, and communities. It was another great week of memories.