Augusta Civic Center keeps tourney tradition alive

5:52 AM, Feb 18, 2014   |    comments
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AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- With the new Cross Insurance Center and the updated Cumberland County Civic Center, Monday's high school basketball tournament games in Bangor and Portland have a new feel.

But there's something special about the games at the Augusta Civic Center, too. The center is rich in its tradition. Bruce Cooper has been at the door collecting tickets for 34 years. His brother, Kirk, joined soon after. The same man has been keeping book and completing records for the programs since the 1960s. Eighty-nine year old Bob Butler has been attending the tournament games since 1950.

"It's interesting to see players that you've seen before," said Butler.

Fans like the familiar faces courtside and in the crowd.

"It's a small state so people know people from other towns," said Kirk Brewer, watching his hometown team from Boothbay Harbor.

"We kind of hibernate in the winter so it's nice to get out and do something," said Brewer.

The tournament's history goes back to 1922.

"It's a tremendous piece of Maine and high school sports history," said Steve Ouellette, of the Maine Principals' Association.

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