Tuesday, March 11, 2014
By Tom Chard firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the coaching icons in Maine high school basketball has announced his retirement following this season. Mike McGee, the coach at Lawrence High in Fairfield, is in his 29th season as head coach of the Bulldogs. Overall, McGee has 31 seasons with the program, having served as an assistant for two seasons under Irv Blanchette before succeeding him in the summer of 1985.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Jake Moody, Wells: Moody scored 20 of his career-high 38 points in the fourth quarter as the Warriors rallied to beat Cape Elizabeth, 70-65. Moody also had 21 points in a win over Lake Region, and scored 31 in a loss to Fryeburg Academy.
Dan Veino, Marshwood: He scored 32 points with seven 3-pointers in a 62-57 loss to Westbrook.
Serge Nyirikamba, Waynflete: Nyirikamba had 25 points and 11 rebounds as the Flyers downed Old Orchard Beach, 61-50, in a battle of top Western Class C teams.
Sam Terry, Scarborough: Terry scored 19 points, hitting five 3-pointers, in an 81-74 win over Thornton Academy, then scored 24 points with three 3-pointers in a 73-51 victory over Cheverus.
AREA TOP 10
4. South Portland
5. Bonny Eagle
McGee’s resignation has been called the worst kept secret in Eastern Maine since the 55-year old junior high physical education teacher officially submitted it two days after the opening game with Brewer on Dec. 7.
McGee wanted to finish out with this group of seniors. He saw potential in them when they were eighth-graders. The Bulldogs have lived up to that with an 8-1 record and a No. 3 ranking in Eastern Class A entering Friday’s home game with unbeaten and second-ranked Edward Little (8-0). The Bulldogs and Eddies are chasing Hampden Academy (9-0), the frontrunner and favorite.
“I wanted to do it early and give the school plenty of time to find my replacement for summer basketball,” said McGee.
“A program like this deserves that. My veteran coaching friends have told me I will know when it’s time. Tony Hamlin, Scott Graffram and Tommy Maines said I should announce early.”
McGee and his wife recently bought a house in New Port Richey, Fla., and he said he will teach one or two more years. But this season is McGee’s farewell tour around the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference, and he won’t miss the long Tuesday bus rides and having to get up early the next morning to teach.
His teams have won 334 games. He has coached Lawrence to two Class A state titles (1990 and 1994) and six regional titles, with one as an assistant. He has been named coach of the year 16 times by various bodies.
Lawrence has never won a state or regional title without McGee as either a player or a coach. In his sophomore and senior years, the Bulldogs won Eastern Maine titles but lost to Rumford in the state final. He was an assistant in 1984 when Lawrence lost to Westbrook for the state title. In his first year (1986) as head coach, Lawrence lost to Portland in the state final. The Bulldogs lost to Morse in 1988 before winning the school’s first state title in 1990 and another four years later.
The Bulldogs made it to the state final again in 1999 but fell to Portland.
McGee played at Colby College before transferring to Clark University in Worcester, Mass., where he also played and graduated. His father, Dick, coached football at Lawrence before moving on to Colby.
McGee is hoping this year’s starting five of Spencer Carey, Xavier Lewis, Matt Saunders, Nick Noiles and Mason Travers can muster a magical run to the program’s first state title in 24 years. That would be a fitting end for one of Maine’s most knowledgeable and passionate coaches.
AT 6-FOOT-5 EACH, D.J. Breunig and Alec Hazlewood give Westbrook a presence inside. Against a smaller Bonny Eagle club on Tuesday, the Blue Blazes kept going inside with success. Breunig finished with a team-high 18 points, including all of his team’s nine points in the third quarter. He had eight rebounds. Hazlewood added 12 points and seven rebounds. The Blazes (7-2) held on for a 53-50 win over the Scots (7-2).
After being upset by Noble two weeks ago at home, Westbrook has beaten Windham, Marsh-wood and Bonny Eagle to improve its Heal point ranking. The Blazes are fifth in Western Class A.
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