YARMOUTH — Right up there with his ability to score and play defense, Josh Britten’s biggest contribution to Yarmouth’s Class B state basketball championship was his leadership.
“Josh has always been a leader but this year he became more vocal,” said Coach Adam Smith. “Josh looked out for everyone on the team and made them better. As our point guard, he made sure the other players got their looks. It helped to give Chris (Knaub) and Sam (Torres) their confidence.”
For his performance this season, Britten is our choice as the Maine Sunday Telegram/Portland Press Herald Player of the Year for boys’ basketball.
With Britten leading the way, the Clippers took the school’s first basketball state title since 1968. He scored 29 points in the 65-53 win over Gardiner at the Bangor Auditorium.
“Josh put us on his back and carried us from the opening tap,” said Smith of the final.
With Britten, setting the tone (22 first-half points), his teammates stepped up. Knaub, Torres and the other Clippers had outstanding games.
“I knew Chris was a dead-on shooter,” said Britten. “He just needed confidence. He knocked down big shot after big shot.”
Britten said the addition of Nate Shields-Auble, a 6-foot-4 sophomore, gave the Clippers a physical presence inside.
Britten led the Western Maine Conference in scoring at 21.8 points a game and scored 54 points, a school record, in a four-overtime win over Poland. Britten is also the school’s all-time scorer with 1,331 points.
He won the Butler Award as the WMC MVP and took home the Pierre Harnois Award as the Western ‘B’ tourney MVP.
The team still basks in glory.
“It’s pretty incredible,” said Britten. “We’re still the talk of the town. Every day it seems someone in the town comes up and congratulates us. It’s pretty neat when people tell me they were in high school when Yarmouth last won it. Winning a state championship is something I’ll be able to tell my children and grandchildren.”
Smith said the Yarmouth elementary school kids think the players are pretty special.
“We had our captains (Britten, Knaub and Torres) go to a third-grade practice. The kids sent a note thanking “their heroes” for coming to school,” said Smith.
Yarmouth gained the third seed for the tournament.
“We played our best in the tournament,” said Britten. “We lost to Falmouth in overtime in the last game of the regular season. Losing that game gave us more passion to play in the regional final against them. We had a little lull during the season but we got back on track. Our defense proved to be our bread and butter.”
Britten plans to spend a post-graduate year at Maine Central Institute in Pittsfield or Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, N.H.
“I would like to play at the Division I level in college,” said Britten. “This will give me another year to improve my game and open doors for me.”
Staff Writer Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at: firstname.lastname@example.org