Five overtime thrillers, buzzer beater state championship games, memories that will never be forgotten.
Bangor Auditorium has had it all and this will be the last year the old building will host the class B, C and D basketball tournament.
The Dexter Tigers defeated the Rockland Tigers in a five overtime classic in the class B 1986 Eastern Maine final at the Auditorium.
That is a game many consider the best high school game ever played in Maine.
The game did not start until 10:30 and did not end until after midnight due to a leak in the roof that held up the class B girls Eastern Maine final.
Peter Murray and Steve Bell were part of that thriller.
Murray who is currently the head coach of the Dexter Tigers boys basketball team was an assistant coach for the 1986 team.
"By the time the five overtime game was done it was after midnight," Murray said. "It had a surreal feel to it like is this really happening."
Bell who is the principle at Dexter high school was a guard on the 1986 Dexter team.
"The obvious that comes to mind is the delay because of the leaking roof, "Bell said. "Not knowing if we are even going to play. Everyone is trying to figure out what time tomorrow and making arrangements. How long we had to wait is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of that night."
Another memorable game was the 2001 class A state championship game between Bangor and Deering.
Robert Beatham and Jon Small were broadcasting the game for WABI TV out of Bangor.
The security at the Auditorium were preparing for the Deering side to be charging the floor in anticipation of them claiming the state championship.
A Zak Ray steal and Joe Campbell basket shocked the crowd and gave Bangor the 57-56 victory.
"The thing I remember the most was the security guards on the Deering side preventing the Deering fans from coming over the top because they were anticipating a Deering win,"Beatham said. "All of a sudden Zak Ray made the steal and Joe Campbell lays it in. I do not think Jon or I made a sound that could be described in the English language. We didn't know what to say."
It was a memory an eight year old boy from Bangor will never forget.
Lance Lajoie said, "I was eight years old and I remember seeing Bangor's gigantic student section storm the court and thinking to myself, I can't wait to be in high school and do that some day."
If you go to section G seat 16 you will find the same person that has been at that seat for the past 40 plus years.
Richard Mcquesten has seen many great moments from that seat. His most precious memories have been the great times with his granddaughter Samantha Snyder.
"She would run my coffee cup to the concession stand to get it filled,"Mcquesten said. "One of the new workers said she couldn't fill it. One of the other workers said that we can for her."
When Samantha was eight years old, Bangor Daily News reporter Jessica Block asked Sam who she was rooting for. Snyder responded with "I need to go ask my grandfather."
After asking her grandfather, Snyder came back to the Auditorium floor and informed Block that she was cheering for the (Mt. View) Mustangs.
Block wrote a story about her encounter with Snyder called "Mustang mix up."
Snyder passed away March 5, 2012 as result of a car accident.
Snyder started going to games with her grandfather in 1996. Mcquesten got his granddaughter her first tournament pass in 2001.
The 2013 tournament will be a special and difficult one for Mcquesten.
"It will be tough to see the old Auditorium go. It will be special this year,"Mcquesten said. "It will be hard because I miss her."
Lindsey Welch won a national championship while playing college basketball at the University of Southern Maine.
For Welch the experience of being the best in the nation did not compare to running out on the court for a state championship game at the Auditorium.
Welch and the Nokomis Warriors faced McAuley in the 2001 class A state championship game at the Auditorium.
"Before running out we looked up and saw that their wasn't an empty seat in that place. It gives me chills talking about that place,"Welch said. "I played in a National Championship division 3 and played in a state championship at the Auditorium, nothing compares to running out on that floor."
Welch currently coaches the Winslow girls basketball team and is hoping her team can get to the last tournament at the Auditorium. Winslow will travel to Gardiner on February 12th. The winner will advance to the quarterfinals at the Bangor Auditorium.
"Hoping to make one last appearance on that floor,"Welch said. "My dream was to win a state championship on that floor and then coach in a state championship on that floor. Hoping Winslow girls basketball make that run to get their and experience the greatest feeling of all time."
Most of the memories from the Auditorium involve high school basketball.
Reg Bamford has a memory that has to do with a Gorilla mascot, a legendary coach and a team called the windjammers.
"When I was 19 I was the Gorilla mascot for the Maine Windjammers of the CBA (Continental Basketball Association),"Bamford said. "One night Maine was running the Albany Patroons out of the gym at halftime. Like any good mascot I taunted the Albany coach right off the floor. He turned to me and in a very angry voice told me "you need to cool it", the Coach? Phil Jackson.. yeah.. that Phil Jackson. Chased by a gorilla.. that's probably why he turned to Zen."
One of the best memories for Eric Dubay was watching the PCHS boys win the Eastern Maine championship.
Another great memory for Dubay was the first time he went to the Auditorium.
"Another great memory was going to the Auditorium, for the first time, with my best friend and his mom when I was 12. We were there to watch my friends cousin play,"Dubay said. "Just so happens his cousin is Dean Smith and he faced off against Van Buren and Matt Rossignol. Now that is was a great first time experience."
Seth Whitmer remembers going to the Auditorium his senior year and watching his Schenck Wolverines win the class D Eastern Maine championship.
Many have memories they will never forget from the old building they call the "Mecca". Some plan their vacation time from work around tournament week.
"For me personally it goes all the way back to childhood. I grew up in a community that is basketball rabid in East Millinocket," Murray said. "The tournament has always been an important part of the year. People take a week long vacation to free up time to be able to go to all the games."
The five overtime game is just one of the great memories for Murray.
"Won a state championship on that floor as an assistant coach,"Murray said. "During my time as a varsity coach my son and his classmates cut the nets down. It just becomes a special moment for me personally and my family."
Bell's daughter Jordyn will be part of the last tournament at the Auditorium. Jordyn and the Dexter Tigers (18-0) will go into the tournament as the number two seed in class C.
"Having kids that are playing now you just want to have them experience that. As a coach I took a couple of teams there. You just want your kids to experience running onto that floor,"Bell said. "I hope she and the rest of the team take the time to enjoy it. Those moments are special."
Bell added, "Hopefully they understand what is in front of them. They have a good chance if they play together. They are a good group of kids. I am looking forward to just watching it."
Morgan Russell will always remember playing at the Auditorium but it is for a different reason than most. Russell was injured in a 2010 game between her Mattanawcook Lynx and the John Bapst Crusaders.
Russell said, "I tore my meniscus in that gym."
Many coaches including Welch, Murray and Penquis girls coach Jason Snider will be trying to coach their teams to preliminary round victories this week for a chance to be part of the last tournament at the "Mecca".
"When people "dis" that place I feel it's like family;"Welch said. "I stand up and say their isn't any better place to play in the state of Maine."
Snider added, "The atmosphere of the Bangor Auditorium is like no other, it created Maine high school basketball!"
Mcquesten said, "What a great atmosphere for a kid to be around, such great people."
The tournament will start on February 15th with the Nokomis Warriors girls taking on Washington Academy or Belfast at 5 p.m.
The tournament will conclude with the class C boys state championship game on March 2nd.