PORTLAND — Alexa Coulombe only scored seven points in McAuley High’s Class A girls’ basketball championship victory against Cony.
But as Paul Vachon, the Cony athletic director and former coach, stood by his team bench watching the awards ceremony, he nodded at Coulombe and said, “She was the best player on the floor. Anybody who knows basketball saw that. Everything went through her.”
Thus was Coulombe’s senior year with the Lions. At 6-foot-2, she was capable of dominating every game. But as senior captain, she sacrificed individual statistics to make sure everyone on the team was involved.
“It all started with my first meeting with Alexa,” said Bill Goodman, the first-year coach of the Lions. “She said she wanted everyone involved. She had a vision of what she wanted the team to be. And she worked hard to make it come true.”
Coulombe, who will play at Boston College, is the Maine Sunday Telegram girls’ basketball Player of the Year.
In helping McAuley repeat, she averaged 11.6 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 2.9 steals and 2.8 blocked shots. Statistically, she had a slightly better year as a junior, but her senior leadership was unparalleled.
“She was our calming influence,” said Goodman. “She did just about everything for us on the floor and, offensively and defensively, she was the smartest player I’ve ever coached.
“It carried over to practice where she would show the other players what (the coaches) wanted them to work on.”
Coulombe, who also won Miss Maine Basketball, ended with 871 career points. Goodman is certain she could have passed 1,000 if she wanted. “But that’s not what she wanted,” he said. “She was so unselfish. And that’s her legacy.”
“It’s obviously great when you can (score 1,000 points),” said Coulombe. “But I think the two state titles we won mean more to me than anything like that. Recognition of individual achievements is great, but when you do it as a team, that’s even better.”
With the arrival of 6-2 sophomore Olivia Smith and 6-foot freshman Victoria Lux, Coulombe spent a lot of the season playing on the perimeter, which was fine. That’s likely where she’ll play in college.
She can handle the ball against pressure, hit an open jumper and, more important, guard quick players. In the playoffs, she often guarded Meghan Gribbin of Windham, a quick smaller player.
“She could do it offensively and defensively on the perimeter or in the post,” said Goodman. “And I don’t think there’s another player in the state who could do that.”
Coulombe, who lives in Falmouth, gave up other sports to concentrate on basketball before she reached high school. She played for the AAU New England Crusaders of Nashua, N.H. The exposure helped lead her to Boston College.
“Coming from McAuley, which is such a small environment, it’s like a family,” she said.
Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: firstname.lastname@example.org