Maine has seen many successes on the hardwood; dynasties that continued for several years and schools that produced outstanding talents. But, in the ever competitive Class A division, it is difficult to win consecutive Gold Balls, to win three consecutively was unheard of.
Unheard that is, until Tom Maines and his Morse teams did it in 1987, ’88, and ’89!
While hoop affectionardos can argue what town owns the rights to the “cradle of basketball” moniker in Maine, the people of Bath would surely make the case for their village to hold the crown.
In 1987, the Shipbuilders team that started the famous streak was a talented group of kids who played with each other throughout grade school. Moreover, players like John Conley, Tom Dorion, Joe Cawley, Matt Skillings, and Derick Hodge all went on to play in college. The ’87 team had length, quickness, and depth, and they were so disciplined and well-coached, it almost was not a fair fight.
They pressed and ran though the opposition in the regular season; winning by an average of 25 point per game. It continued throughout the tournament and they eventually defeated Lawrence High School 69-62 for their first of three State titles.
It was a truly golden time for Shipbuilder fans, as they brought over 4000 fanatics to every night to the Cumberland County Civic Center to cheer their heroes on. It was a perfect marriage between town, coach and players; and they achieved unprecedented success.
The 1987 Morse Shipbuilders deserve to be enshrined for posterity in the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame. Welcome Coach Maines and your Shipbuilders to our hallowed halls.