Undermanned Hawks work hard to navigate choppy court watersNorth Haven players, coaches stay positive, make long boat, bus trips to play sport they love
Waterville — One game at a correctional facility and another at a Christian school was certainly an interesting way to spend the weekend for the boys basketball team from North Haven Community School.
Unfortunately for the North Haven, which boasts a school enrollment of 57 students from kindergarten to 12th grade, neither game resulted in a victory.
The school has only 14 high school students in grades 9-12. Seven of the school’s eight high school-aged boys comprise the team, along with one eighth-grade player.
The North Haven girls team was forced to cancel its season before it began due to lack of players, which, in turn, has made it difficult for athletic director Ken Jones to schedule games for the boys team.
In fact, 10 of the team’s 14 regular-season games this year are on the road. High school teams typically play an 18-game schedule, but 14 is the minimum required by the Maine Principals’ Association.
The island boys began their weekend on Friday, Jan. 6 on the road with a 4 p.m. game at Arthur R. Gould — a school in the confines of the Long Creek Youth Development Center — which is a youth correctional facility in South Portland.
The Bears mauled the Hawks 92-20, as the hosts held a 42-1 advantage after the first quarter.
North Haven coach Luke Brown said the Bears applied full-court pressure on the undermanned, inexperienced Hawks for “the majority of the game.”
The Bears are 6-1 and second in Class D South.
Brown called the experience “quite humiliating” and “it was a real rough blow to the team,” particularly given “the nerves were up going inside the correctional facility.”
“The boys took it hard,” the coach said. “But after having a conversation with them I think we managed to get through it in a positive way.”
After traveling back to the Midcoast and staying overnight at The Ledges motel in Rockport — and picking up the middle school-aged girls team off the first ferry from North Haven to Rockland — the Hawks were back on the road, this time to Temple Academy of Waterville, a Christian school affiliated with nearby Centerpoint Community Church.
The Hawks again were dealt a lopsided loss — this time a 56-23 decision to the Bereans — though the differences between the games, despite the loss, were night and day, including prayer before the game for all in attendance and again after the game in a circle around midcourt for all competitors.
“Temple is a really good and competitive team,” said Brown. “They came out and played a very fair game with us. Us not having a whole lot of talent out on the floor really makes it difficult against these big squads like this. I’m really proud of my boys. They came out and gave 100 percent every one of them.”
Brown admitted the season, outside of wins and losses and Xs and Os, has been a struggle.
“We have two or three kids that really want to play the basketball game and the rest of them are there because they’re friends with the rest of the kids. We have the entire high school on our team except for one boy playing on the team.”
Brown said it speaks volumes to the integrity of his players.
“These boys care about their teammates, their school and their community," the coach said. "That’s why they’re here. They’re willing to put aside any fun times they might be having at home or work or whatnot to be able to come out here and help build a team.”
Four of the team’s five games thus far this season have been on the road. The Hawks have five more road games before finishing the year with four straight home games against neighboring Islesboro and Greater Portland Christian.
Next, the Hawks will make the trek north — 153 miles one way from Rockland — to face Forest Hills of Jackman. After taking an 80-minute ferry boat ride across Penobscot Bay to boot.
In years past, the Tigers have met the Hawks halfway at the Augusta Civic Center, where the squads have played doubleheaders. However, with only one North Haven team this season, Forest Hills did not feel that was cost-effective.
“That’s an hour- and 20-minute boat ride and then four hours or so to get there by bus,” said Brown. “That’s a lot of stress on the kids, but I guarantee they’ll be there and be ready to play 100 percent.”
The following is a recap of North Haven’s past two contests:
Temple Academy 56, North Haven 23
At Waterville Jan. 7, the Bereans bested the visiting Hawks. Temple Academy led 20-4, 38-9 and 44-12 at the quarter breaks.
Brandon Brown scored seven points for the Hawks, while Tyrese Edwards added six; Sean Haskell, five; David Edwards, four; and Grayson Demmons, one.
Brad Smith scored 18 points for the Bereans, while Micah Riportella, Kevin Avila and Sawyer Derione added six; John Bell, five; Nathan Riportella, four; Nathaniel Wiles, three; Will Paradis, Jordan Brann and Xu Yangiun, two; and Noah Shepard and Issac Foshay, one.
The Hawks were 2-of-7 (29 percent) from the foul line, while the Bereans were 10-of-22 (45 percent).
In the Maine Principals’ Association Heal Point Standings for Class D South, North Haven (0-5, no points) is 13th, while Valley of Bingham (7-0, 28.8998 points) is first in the 13-team region. The top nine teams qualify for the playoffs.
A.R. Gould 92, North Haven 20
At Portland Jan. 6, the Bears pounced on the Hawks in the first quarter and surged to victory. A.R. Gould led 42-1, 65-3 and 79-9 at the quarter breaks.
Brandon Brown scored nine points for North Haven, while Sean Haskell added five; Grayson Demmons, three; Tyrese Edwards, two; and Austin Gonzales, one.
Noah Nelson netted 18 points for the Bears, while Tyrese Collins added 16; Gage Barton, 10; Malakai Brimage, nine; Tristan Chamberlain and Lucas Rogers, seven; John Clement, Adam Black and Isaak Alyour, six; Emil Girard, five; and Kyle Hendrickson, two.
The Hawks were 1-of-4 (25 percent) from the foul line, while the Bears were 3-of-3 (100 percent).