Monday, March 10, 2014
BANGOR - It's been a productive seven days for Martha Veroneau of Waynflete.
Garet Beal and Martha Veroneau
Last Saturday she scored her team's final 16 points to lead the Flyers to the Class C girls' basketball state championship. Friday night she was honored as the state's outstanding senior female player.
Veroneau was named the winner of the Miss Maine Basketball Award in a ceremony at Newman Gymnasium at Husson University.
Garet Beal of Jonesport-Beals was named the winner of the Mr. Maine Basketball Award.
"It's an incredible feeling," said Veroneau, who will attend Boston College to study nursing -- but not play any sports. "I've watched so many great athletes receive this award. I've heard about it ever since I was a kid.
"I guess it's a testament to all the hard work and time I've put in to becoming the best athlete I can be."
But, she continued, she couldn't have won it without a strong support group, including her teammates, coach, sisters and especially her mother, Nancy.
"She's always there, supporting me, getting me ready for big games," she said.
Veroneau was certainly a big-game player. The all-time leading scorer in school history (1,465 points), she averaged 21.5 points a game -- but boosted that to 27.4 in the tournament.
She scored 34 points in Waynflete's 59-55 win over Calais for the state title, including 19 in the fourth, the final 16 for the Flyers.
Still, while listening to the accomplishments of the other finalists, Chandler Guerrette of Presque Isle and Kristen Anderson of Leavitt, Veroneau thought, "it was an honor just to be mentioned with two great players. They're just tremendous athletes and just as deserving of this trophy as I am."
Veroneau said it was a difficult decision to choose Boston College and give up sports. But she knew she would face academic challenges at BC that would prevent her from playing.
"I'll miss basketball but I'll have a chance to try different things," she said, "to really hone in on the academic aspects."
Beal will continue playing basketball in college -- at the University of Maine, where he will study kineseology.
He scored a school-record 1,672 points in his career, averaging 33.8 points, 10 rebounds and 7.4 assists this year as Jonesport-Beals took an unbeaten record to the Eastern Class D quarterfinals before suffering an upset loss to Easton.
Beal admitted to being nervous while he listened to the accomplishments of his fellow semifinalists, John Murray of Medomak Valley and Mitchell Worcester of Washburn.
Disappointed in his team's finish, he's looking to the future.
"I'm ready to get on to the next part of my journey," he said. "I'm so excited to play with those guys. It's a high level of basketball; that's what I've dreamed about."
Like Veroneau, Beal said the award vindicated the hours he's put into the sport.
"It shows the work paid off," he said. "I've dreamed about this. It means a lot for me."
Beal broke the school records for points and single-game scoring, records that were held by his father, Lindell, who died in July.
"I'm happy I was able to win this and know my dad would have been proud," he said. "It would have topped it off if he was here."
Other awards handed out Friday included:
• The Team of the Year awards, for community support and spirit, to Marshwood's girls and Central's boys (each winning $1,000 for their programs).
• The Spirit of the Game awards, to Jenn Smith of Dirigo and Kyle Merchant of Dexter.
• The Academic all-state scholarships (worth $2,000), to Josie Lee of Cony and Tom Wilberg of Falmouth.
• The Media Award to Mike Lowe of the Portland Press Herald.
• The Robert Brown Contributor Award to John Bernard of Rumford.
Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: