McAuley senior guard Allie Clement became the sixth multi-time winner of the Edward “Red” McMann Award, presented to the outstanding player-sportswoman in the Western A girls’ basketball tournament.
Clement scored 23 points in Saturday’s 50-28 Western A championship game win against Windham – 11 coming in the third quarter when the Lions broke the game open – giving her 53 points in the tourney.
“She made a lot of great decisions and she’s a very special player,” McAuley Coach Bill Goodman said.
After Westbrook’s Lisa Blais won the McMann Award for the second time in 1979, it was 17 seasons until Bri Fecteau of Westbrook won her second in 1996. Sarah Marshall of McAuley is the only three-time winner (2001-03). Deering’s Diana Manduca (2008-09) and McAuley’s Alexa Coulombe (2011-12) also were two-time winners.
Clement was not the only repeat winner on the day.
Lake Region senior center Tiana-Jo Carter won her second Mike DiRenzo Award as the outstanding player-sportswoman in the Class B tournament after a standout 24-point, 15-rebound effort in the Lakers’ 59-51 win against Wells. She finished off the game with two authoritative defensive rebounds in the final 25 seconds.
“She rebounds, she makes baskets, she fights, she falls on the floor, she dives for loose balls, she sacrifices her body every second and does whatever she can to help us win,” Lake Region junior guard Sarah Hancock said.
A play in the second quarter showed the type of hustle Hancock referenced. Carter hit the deck at Lake Region’s offensive end and was obviously in some pain as a Wells player came away with the ball. When Lake Region forced a turnover, Carter got up quickly and was in position for an offensive rebound which she converted for a basket on a tough finish.
Gorham’s Karen Butterfield won the award in non-consecutive seasons, 1978 and 1980. Katie Whittier of Gray-New Gloucester (2001-02) and Nicole Taylor of York (2009-10) also won the DiRenzo Award twice.
Justin Zukowski became the 14th winner from Portland High of the George Vinall Trophy as the top player-sportsman of the Western Class A boys’ tournament.
The award is named after the former athletic director at Deering, who was a top basketball official in the 1930s and 1940s. It has been awarded since 1936 when Walter Quinn of Portland became the first winner. The trophy is given by the Western Maine Board of Basketball Officials.
Zukowski had an outstanding tournament and was clutch in the fourth quarter in the regional final, scoring eight points as the Bulldogs held off Bonny Eagle and pulled for a 70-60 victory.
Portland’s win shapes up a classic state title matchup against defending champion Hampden Academy (21-0) on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Cumberland County Civic Center. The Broncos have won 43 straight games.
After Quinn won the Vinall in 1936, Donald Drossel won the award again for Portland the following year. The Bulldogs dominated, winning the award in the early years as they added four straight winners from 1942 to 1945 in Henry Stillman, Kenneth Graham, Charlie Bennett and Andy Lano. Peter DeRice won for the Bulldogs again in 1947
Then Portland went 21 years before another winner, Dana Anderson in 1968. Since then other Portland winners of the Vinall have been Todd Miranda (1986), Mike D’Andrea (1988), Robert Pillsbury (1999), Tyler Emmons (2004), Andrew Duncanson (2007) and now Zukowski, who is a semifinalist candidate for Mr. Basketball.
Portland won its first regional title since 2007 when the Bulldogs lost to Bangor, 56-39, in the state final at the Augusta Civic Center. The Bulldogs will be trying for their first state title since 2004 when they beat Brunswick, 69-63, at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
WHEN WAYNFLETE Coach Rich Henry played the post for the University of Maine, “I used to think it was really important to have a great inside game.”
But now he’s more objective.
“I learned, especially in high school basketball now, you have to have a great point guard,” Henry said. “And Harry is a great point guard. He runs the show.”
Harry Baker-Connick, a 5-foot-7 junior, is not as well known as 6-3 senior and Mr. Basketball semifinalist Serge Nyirikamba, but Baker-Connick showed his worth in Saturday’s 62-38 win over Maranacook in the Western C title game, moving the ball around to an offense that had four players score in double figures.
“I think teams just think that we give it to Serge and he does his thing,” Baker-Connick said. “But we have better supporting players than people think. Everyone hit their shots and it translated into a pretty good score for us.”
Nyirikamba led with 22. Baker-Connick scored 17, mainly on drives to the basket.
“He has such a tempo,” Nyirikamba said of Baker-Connick. “He always has the ball in his hands. He’s a great leader for us.”
Shortly after being announced as winners of the Class B swimming and diving state championship, the boys of Greely High took a celebratory leap into Bowdoin College’s Gleason Pool. Moments later, after a count of three, head coach Rob Hale and assistants Doug Pride and Alisha Copp followed, fully dressed.
Perhaps they should have counted to five, one for each year of the current Greely run of state titles.
From the water, Greely’s five seniors led the team in singing the Biz Markie song “Just A Friend,” because … why exactly?
“I don’t know where it came from,” admitted senior Jack Benoit. “It’s what the seniors sang to us when we were freshmen. It doesn’t mean anything. It’s just a tradition.”
THE CHEVERUS High boys featured plenty of depth in winning a second straight Class A swimming and diving championship last Monday, besting Bangor High by 10 points.
Bangor had a 37-point lead in diving (although Cheverus did get 24 points from Nick Jensen and Fred Baldenweck).
Counting the diving and championship finals, the Rams still had more points than Cheverus, but depth was the difference as the Stags enjoyed a 34-point edge (70-36) in the consolation races.
So while Michael O’Donovan, John Devine, Kevin Kane, Tony Penk, Jacob Griffin and Tim Jerome were amassing points in the championship heats, Gus Anderson, Walker Church, Sam Devine, Thomas Nappo, Raymond Le, Shane Moore and Ben Tompkins (along with Jerome in the 50 free) recorded needed points in the consolations. Nappo and Church also swam in a relay.
– Staff writers Steve Craig, Tom Chard, Kevin Thomas and Glenn Jordan contributed to this report.