Camden Hill looks to grow, find postseason formula
Rockport — The following is a synopsis of the 2012-13 Camden Hills Regional High School boys varsity basketball team:
Coach/years coached current team: Jeff Hart, 31st year.
Last year's record/playoff information: 11-7, No. 8 in Eastern Class B. The Windjammers dispatched of No. 9 Washington Academy of East Machias 69-50 in a preliminary playoff before falling to top-ranked Mount Desert Island 59-58 in the quarterfinals.
Roster: Seniors Alex Crans (5-foot-9-inch guard), Weston Bryant (5-11 guard) and Connor Hart (6-foot guard), juniors Colin Morse (6-3 forward), Connor Graffam (6-4 forward/center), Jayson Kuhn (6-foot guard), John Hall (6-4 center), Terron Bailey (6-2 guard), Merrill Hall (5-11 guard), Chandler Crans (6-2 guard/forward) and Joe Chamberlain (5-10 guard); and sophomores Bill Bracher (6-foot forward) and Andrew Hall (5-11 guard).
Outlook: While the Windjammers may not appear to be the best team on paper, one of the cardinal rules in Eastern Class B is to never count out a Jeff Hart-coached team.
Despite losing point guard Adam Carlsen and forward Taylor Hall to graduation, among others, the 'Jammers have a mix of seasoned returning players and young talent that again could propel them back to the postseason, a place Camden Hills is quite familiar with.
"We're trying to find out who we are," said Hart. "We've got some younger kids that we've got to get in there and some guys with no varsity experience so we're trying to do that."
"We've got good teams coming up right off the bat," he said. "We open with Waterville and they're really good and then Medomak Valley. There's no letup. We're just kind of cruising into it," he said.
Morse, who missed much of last year due to an ankle injury before returning late in the campaign and nearly willing the Windjammers to an upset over the Trojans in the quarterfinals, is back and healthy this year and should be the focal point of the team's offense. Hart said Morse also could some ballhandling duties this season.
Chandler Crans and Connor Hart, who is no relation to the coach, also should provide perimeter shooting for Camden Hills, while John Hall, who has missed most of the past two years with foot problems, could provide a good interior presence despite no varsity experience.
Coach Hart hopes many of his other younger players will come along and adapt to full-fledged varsity minutes by season's end.
As far as early-season favorites?
"Everyone's talking about Oceanside," said Hart. "They've got size, they've got guards, they've got shooters and they've got depth. They've got some veterans and some young guys, so they're right there."
The coach, who has a 453-152 career record (with 25 regional tournament appearances, 13 league titles, 10 regional crowns and six state championships to his credit), also noted that Medomak Valley, Waterville, Winslow and Nokomis of Newport will be tough matchups.
"It doesn't seem like there are many bad teams out there," he said.
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