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Semi-pro basketball

Sternmen anchor in Midcoast, dock for tryouts April 3

Team part of Professional Basketball Association, only one in New England
By Zack Miller | Apr 02, 2021
Courtesy of: Midcoast Sternmen Facebook page

Warren — A semi-professional basketball team called the Midcoast Sternmen will make the Midcoast home in May.

The team will hold tryouts on Saturday, April 3 at the Midcoast Athletics Center from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The cost is $75 to be paid at the door.

"The big thing now is players, and we are talking to 12 to 15 guys right now, and we have one signed guy who played in the Canadian League, but he’s a Canadian citizen, so we are trying to work out the visa process," said Brad Galley, Sternmen president and chief executive officer. "The tryout is tomorrow and we have 15 to 20 guys confirmed coming, and some are [professionals] already that reached out to us that are living in Maine.

"I think 10 players would be great [to have on the team]. Five with pro experience and five with Division III and III level talent that are looking to go play overseas."

The rights to the Sternmen were purchased by Galley — who also runs the Midcoast Elite Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) team with Travis Doughty — and semi-pro squad will be coached by Jim Graffam, who has deep Midcoast ties, including being a graduate of Waldoboro High School and a member of the Midcoast Sports Hall of Fame.

"[The PBA] was some basketball page I followed and I clicked on it and read up on it," said Galley. "I thought it sounded like a cool league and idea, and as the algorithms of Facebook go it started to pop up everyday.

"I explored it a little more and just got the wheels turning. My thought was this would be like the Cap Cod League in baseball, where you get young guys here and involved in the community, get them part-time jobs, pay them a small stipend per game, but they come up here and get treated like local celebrities. They get good film and stats and get signed at a higher league."

Galley has known Graffam for "years," and said if Graffam had turned down the coaching opportunity, the Sternmen would not have happened.

"I think if he would have called back and said he wasn’t interested the idea would have died and I wouldn’t have pursued anyone else, because with coach Graffam’s history it was a perfect fit," said Galley. "He called me back and was all excited, so we started having phone conversations once or twice a week just laying the ground work of what was needed and planning everything out."

The Sternmen will hold practices and clinics at the MAC, located on the corners of Route 1/Atlantic Highway and Short Street in Warren, and "the goal is" to play home games at the Flanagan Community Center at the corner of Limerock and Union streets in Rockland, but Galley is awaiting a final decision from the city. 

"I've talked to Rockland City Hall and they are behind the idea, but have not committed," Galley said. "It's kind of up in the air. Worst case scenario we would play games at the MAC too. We are limited from a capacity standpoint [at the MAC], and would only be able to get 50 or 60 people into that larger gym, but that's our plan B. Our plan A is to get the larger gym at the [Flanagan Community Center].

"We talk once a week, but the city seems to be in our favor and excited about the process."

The team — which will be the only one in New England — is part of the Professional Basketball Association, with a season that will consist of 12 to 14 games, with six to seven home games. The regular season runs May through July, with play compared to "single A baseball."

Three rounds of playoffs, as well as an all-star game, will be in August, to complete the 20-week season.

The league has more than 40 teams across the country, and a league schedule will be released in the near future, but the Sternmen away games will be confined to the Northeast in New York and Pennsylvania to minimize travel costs, and be played on the weekends, as well as home games.

"If we are fortunate enough to win our division and go play for a championship we'll find a way to get there," said Galley. I'm not [New England Patriots' owner] Bob Kraft, but this is a fun thing to do in a time when there is a little bit of a gap in sports activities over the summer, and something we can do for the kids and get them excited."

To register, and for more information on the team, click here to visit their Facebook page, or for more information on the PBA, click here to visit the league website.

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