FALMOUTH — He’s the team’s leading scorer and rebounder. He ranks third in steals.

Not bad for a player who was a reserve last season. Charlie Fay of Falmouth has improved by leaps and bounds this season for the unbeaten Yachtsmen.

Fay, a 6-foot-5 senior, is one of the top big men in the area. Fay showed early that he wasn’t going to back down against some of the better-known centers in the Western Maine Conference.

In game three, Fay and Michael McDevitt, a 6-foot-7 center from Greely, got into a shoving match after McDevitt drove the middle. Both were called for technicals.

“I like to call it competitive spirit,” was Coach Dave Halligan’s reaction to Fay’s technical. Fay finished with 10 points.

Against York on Jan. 3 in a game between unbeaten teams, Fay was matched against 6-foot-7 center Aaron Todd. Fay scored 14 points, the same as Todd, and punctuated his performance with two thunderous dunks and nearly a third in a 71-51 win.

“Charlie is very athletic,” said Halligan. “He’s a good shot blocker. He can handle the ball and he can play inside and outside.”

And Fay can score. He had 27 points against Yarmouth on Dec. 18. In the Maine Red Claws Christmas tournament at the Portland Expo, Fay scored 14 against Marshwood and 19 against Portland. But against Susan Wagner High of Staten Island, N.Y., Fay had only two points because of early foul trouble. Falmouth won all three games to win the tournament.

On a team known for its scoring balance, Fay is averaging 12.1 points a game through 10 games. He is averaging 8.1 rebounds and 1.8 steals a game.

The Yachtsmen are ranked first in Western Maine Class B. They play tonight at Greely, a team they beat earlier, 63-45.

PUTTING IN HIS TIME

A year ago, Fay was the first big man off the bench, spelling starter Jack Cooleen. Going against Cooleen daily in practice helped develop his game.

“Jack was one of the best centers in the state last season,” said Fay. “His post moves were outstanding. We’re good friends. It was good competition and a lot of fun.”

Fay said being a part of such a talented team has improved his game.

“I have great players around me. Playing into the system has helped me a lot,” he said.

While a lot of high school players compete in AAU basketball during the summer, Fay is focused on lacrosse, his No. 1 sport. Fay is one of the top lacrosse players in the state. He scored 47 goals last season for the Class B state champion Yachtsmen.

“I played on a premier lacrosse team last summer,” he said.

ALL IN THE FAMILY

Fay comes from a strong athletic background. His father, John, was an All-American lacrosse player at the University of New Hampshire and his mother, Sheila, played basketball at the University of Maine.

Through personal training for lacrosse, Fay has gained more strength and muscle mass. It has helped him inside against the league’s other big men.

“I think lacrosse and basketball are related in the defensive aspect,” he said.

“In lacrosse you have to move your feet to stay with the person you’re guarding. The same with basketball.”

Fay still found time to get in some basketball. He played in two basketball leagues last summer. Falmouth attended the Providence College Team Camp, which attracts high schools from all over New England.

And Fay played with teammates on Sundays at Falmouth Middle School. Coached by Chris Rogers, father of junior forward Justin Rogers and the public address announcer for home games, the Yachtsmen played other schools like Edward Little, Medomak Valley and Camden Hills.

Fay began playing basketball in the third grade and has continued right up through the ranks with various coaches.

“I’ve always been competitive. I like to win,” he said.

HOOPS VS. HOCKEY

As he grew, Fay would find himself playing center, something he wasn’t always enamored with. He went out for hockey midway through the winter his seventh grade year and played the next year as well.

“I was actually second guessing basketball,” said Fay.

“I didn’t enjoy the whole aspect of being the big man down low. I enjoyed handling the ball like I do in lacrosse.

“(In hockey), I was more of a bruiser. I had the stick skills, but I was never a skater. I still play hockey with my friends. My size started to come so it seemed like basketball was a better option.”

Falmouth is fortunate Fay went back to basketball and accepted his center position. He played on the jayvees his sophomore year and then grew three to four inches before his junior year. Now, like Cooleen, he’s one of the top big men in the state.

Fay likes Falmouth’s chances to take the Gold Ball.

“We have all the pieces,” he said. “We have so many weapons. We have two youngers kids (Tom Coyne and Jack Simonds) with incredible skills. The seniors are all athletic with experience. We have just what a team should have.”

A good student, Fay has applied early decision to Bates College. If accepted, he would play lacrosse for the Bobcats, and perhaps basketball.

“I would probably try out for the basketball team. If I didn’t make it, I would play intramurals or club basketball to stay in shape for lacrosse,” he said.

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

tchard@pressherald.com

Twitter: TomChardPPH