April 14, 2013

Telegram All-State Girls' Basketball: Best player, best team, and she did it with a fracture

Allie Clement couldn't even practice because of the pain, and still led McAuley to all its goals.

By Mike Lowe mlowe@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND - Bill Goodman had to trust his instincts. He knew Allie Clement, his star junior point guard on the McAuley girls' basketball team, wouldn't tell him if she was hurting.

click image to enlarge

Allie Clement, still just a junior, led McAuley to its third straight Class A state championship, and already is planning with teammates to give a good run at four in a row.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

Kristen Anderson, Leavitt, senior guard

She finished her career with a school-record 1,525 points. Anderson, a repeat selection, averaged 24.9 points, 7.2 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 5.3 steals. She will attend the University of New Hampshire.

Tiana-Jo Carter, Lake Region, junior center

Perhaps the state's most intimidating defensive player, the 6-foot-2 Carter is another repeat selection. She averaged 12.5 points, 19.1 rebounds and 4.2 blocks.

Allie Clement, McAuley, junior point guard

The Maine Sunday Telegram and Gatorade player of the year, Clement led the Lions to their third consecutive Class A state championship with 17.0 points per game. A repeat selection, she also averaged 4.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.7 steals.

Nina Davenport, Freeport, junior forward

Davenport was dangerous inside or outside, averaging 19.4 points for the Falcons, along with 8.2 rebounds and 3.9 steals.

Chandler Guerrette, Presque Isle, senior guard

The 5-foot-5 Guerrette led the Wildcats to the Class B state title. She averaged 16.1 points, 3.4 assists, 2.9 steals and 2.9 rebounds.

Jordan Knowlton, Camden Hills, senior forward

A repeat pick, Knowlton finished her career with a school-record 1,532 points. She averaged 21.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.4 steals this year.

Josie Lee, Cony, senior guard/forward

Lee did just about everything asked of her. Listed at 5-foot-8, she averaged a double-double her final two years. This year she averaged 15.8 points, 10.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 3.9 steals. She will attend Tufts.

Victoria Lux, McAuley, sophomore forward

At 6-foot tall, Lux was often a dominating inside player for the Lions. She averaged 9.6 points and a team-high 8.4 rebounds, hitting 57 percent of her shots.

Mallory Nelson, Mt. Ararat, senior forward

The 5-foot-9 Nelson played a big role, challenging taller players every game. She averaged 18.8 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.3 steals. She hit 24 consecutive foul shots in the tournament.

Parise Rossignol, Van Buren, junior guard

The state's most prolific scorer, Rossignol averaged 30.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.8 steals this year, with 71 3-pointers. A repeat selection, she has 1,847 career points and has committed to play at UMaine.

Olivia Smith, McAuley, junior center

Strong two-way player for the Lions, capable of playing inside or out. The 6-foot-2 Smith averaged 9.8 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.4 assists. Scored 20 points with 10 rebounds in the Class A state title game against Bangor.

Martha Veroneau, Waynflete, senior guard

The Miss Maine Basketball winner, Veroneau led the Flyers to the Class C state title. She averaged 21.5 points in the regular season, improving that to 27.7 in tournament, including 34 in the state title game.

Coach of the Year

Jeff Hudson, Presque Isle

In his 14th year with the Wildcats, Hudson led Presque Isle to its third Class B state championship in eight years beating Lake Region, 51-44. The Wildcats trailed by eight at the half and 11 early in the third, but Hudson made two key adjustments. Defensively they went to a zone for the first time all year, offensively they moved to a high post -- and a state title was the result.

 

"Yeah, she fibbed with me a lot," said Goodman, in his second year with McAuley. "She wanted to play. I had to go with my gut and what I saw, the healthy Allie or in-pain Allie."

Either one was pretty good. Extremely good, in fact.

Clement, who played the season with what has been diagnosed as a stress fracture in her right foot, was simply the best player on the best team in the state. She led McAuley to its third consecutive Class A state title, its second consecutive unbeaten season, with a consistency and determination that separated her from others.

For that, she is our choice as Maine Sunday Telegram girls' basketball player of the year.

Others had better overall statistics and others had a greater impact on their teams winning state titles -- notably Presque Isle's Chandler Guerrette and Waynflete's Martha Veroneau.

But even injured, Clement was the focal point for the Lions.

"We pressed everyone," said Ron Cote, the former Scarborough coach. "But when we played McAuley, we took it off because of her. She has tremendous speed with the ball and I didn't want her blowing past us.

"She's just a tremendous player. She shoots off the dribble. She's got a good outside shot. She plays great defense. She pretty much has it all."

Clement, who has been offered scholarships from eight Division I colleges, averaged 17 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.7 steals and 2.6 assists this year.

"It was a very impressive year," said Goodman. "At the beginning of the year, when she was more healthy, a lot of college coaches commented on how her game had improved. As the season went on and her foot hurt more and more, she fought through the pain and did whatever it took to help the team win."

That, said Mike Giordano, the former South Portland coach, is what makes her so good.

"She's the leader," said Giordano. "Very seldom do they have to deal with adversity but when they do, she's the one who wants to take control."

Clement believes she injured her foot two years ago in the AAU national tourney. But it wasn't until early this year that the pain increased. Eventually she had to wear a hard plastic boot on her right foot. Then she had to stop practicing.

The only time she took the boot off was to play. And she was still in great pain. Goodman tried to minimize it by cutting back on her minutes.

She got through by focusing on each day, each practice, each game.

"I think we accomplished all our goals," said Clement. "We had a lot of high goals. And I'm proud of the team, the players and coaches. We accomplished every one of them."

Every practice, she said, was a step to winning the state title.

"Whether I was hurt or not, I saw every game as an opportunity to get better," she said.

Next, said Clement, is a chance to win four in a row.

"We all want to do it," she said. "The players are committed."

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:

mlowe@pressherald.com

Twitter: MikeLowePPH

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