Thursday, December 12, 2013
By DALE DUFF Special to the Telegram
JONESBORO - Garet Beal of Jonesport-Beals strolled to the tee box on the par-3 second hole at Barren View Golf Course in Jonesboro.
The 6-foot-5 Beal addressed his lime green ball, then took a nice, easy 8-iron swing. He needed 129 yards to carry the water in front of the green. He came up about nine yards short.
No problem, said Beal, the reigning Gatorade basketball player of the year. "It's just fun to go out and play. I like playing with the other guys, getting to know people and just talk, really."
The golf scouting report on Eastern Maine's best high school basketball player: good attitude, inconsistent swing, reads putts well, beat him this fall because he's ready for basketball when November comes.
That's when the fun starts.
"Golf isn't as serious as basketball," said fellow golfer and basketball teammate Vinal Crowley. "Most of us play for fun. Basketball, that's when serious starts."
No one knows better than Gordon Faulkingham. He played on school state championship basketball teams in the 1970s. He coached Jonesport-Beals to its first title in 19 years in March. He's also the golf coach.
"This is fun. Basketball is fun, too, don't get me wrong. But this is relaxing. Kids have fun, we have fun," said Faulkingham.
"Garet's got a nice swing. Sometimes he puts too much pressure on himself. He says 'I can do what I want with the basketball but this little white son of a gun drives me crazy.' I tell him that's golf."
Several members of last year's state title team also play golf. Everyone agrees Thomas Beal is the best, a 4 handicap. His analysis of Beal the golfer: "Garet is so tall, sometimes it gives his swing some trouble."
Trouble for golf but perfect for basketball. Beal's size and skill have college coaches drooling. He averaged 22 points and 9 rebounds last season and should be the best in Maine as a senior this year. He said a decision on his basketball future will probably come after the season."
Make no mistake about it, the Jonesport-Beals golf team wants to win the Downeast Athletic Conference title and play for the state title next month. Garet Beal alo wants to play well enough to make the individual state tournament.
Then it's basketball time.
"We've had a bull's-eye for three years. I tell them, 'if you thought they were gunnin' for you before, hang on now,' " said Faulkingham.
THE OLD TOWN High inaugural Hall of Fame class includes former Patriots and Syracuse coach Dick MacPherson, former UMaine basketball standout and school principal Don Sturgeon, longtime coach and AD Bernie MacKenzie, former UMaine player and coach Skip Chappelle and longtime AD Bob Lahey. Ceremonies will take place Friday at homecoming.
JOHN BAPST football coach Dan O'Connell is the school's wins leader. Friday's victory over Hermon gave O'Connell 62 career wins.