Before the Class B boys’ state championship basketball game against unbeaten Camden Hills, Cape Elizabeth Coach Jim Ray was talking to his assistant coaches, Aaron Spaulding and Mitch Ouellet.

Ray felt his team was prepared, but as with most coaches, there’s always an element of doubt.

“I said to them, ‘These guys have worked so hard I don’t think they will be overwhelmed,’” said Ray.

Ray also expressed something else.

“I hope Theo has a great game.”

The Capers weren’t overwhelmed. They led at halftime before losing by nine to the team that entered the season as a solid favorite to win it all.

And Theo Bowe had arguably the best single-game performance of the 2011 tournament. He scored 36 points to fuel the Capers’ near upset bid.

“Theo always rises to the occasion,” said Ray. “He missed his first couple of shots in the game, but he got into a rhythm. It was entertaining to watch Theo do his thing.”

For his performance in the state game combined with an outstanding regular season, when he averaged 25.2 points, Bowe is the Maine Sunday Telegram MVP for boys’ basketball.

Without Bowe, it’s unlikely Cape would have won the Western Maine title or been the No. 2 seed. He was selected as the regional tournament’s MVP. Bowe missed two games this season, and suffice it to say, the Capers weren’t the same team.

“Theo just added another dimension to our team with his talent and leadership,” said Ray. “He missed two games and we struggled. Obviously he was capable of doing what he did in the state final.

“Theo is not in it for himself. He’s not at all selfish on how he approaches the game, but he’s going to do what he needs to do without hesitation.”

Cape trailed Camden Hills 8-0 before Bowe heated up. His first two baskets were 3-pointers, and he scored 12 of his team’s 14 first-quarter points and 22 Cape’s 34 in the first half. His 3-pointer just before the half made it 34-31.

“It was the first time this season that a team hadn’t played a box-and-one (defense) on me or had someone face-guarding me,” said Bowe.

“It felt good to face a regular man-to-man defense. It was one on one, which made things easier.”

Bowe had a number of big games during the season, but in the biggest he stepped it up a few notches. All those hours spent playing one on one in the driveway against his brother, Alex, and in pickup games with his friends and his brother’s friends honed his talent.

“We don’t call fouls, so you learn to get your shot off,” said Bowe. “It definitely served me well.”

While many high school players turn to AAU basketball in the offseason, Bowe did not.

“It just wasn’t something he wanted to do,” said Ray. “Theo worked on his game in his driveway, practicing his spins and fakes.

“Playing against his brother and his friends, he learned how to create space and get his shot off. That’s what’s missing with a lot of players today.”

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at:

tchard@pressherald.com