April 15, 2012

Telegram All-State Boys' Basketball
A player with leadership helped end Clippers' drought

Josh Britten led the way and got teammates involved in Yarmouth's first state title since 1968.

By Tom Chard tchard@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

YARMOUTH — Right up there with his ability to score and play defense, Josh Britten's biggest contribution to Yarmouth's Class B state basketball championship was his leadership.

click image to enlarge

Josh Britten had plenty of scoring power – he has Yarmouth records with 1,331 points in a career and 54 in a game – but it was his point guard distribution that led to a title.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

TELEGRAM ALL-STATE BOYS' BASKETBALL

Jon Amabile, Deering, senior, guard: Amabile scored 27 points in the Class A state final win over Hampden Academy. He won the Vinall Trophy as the MVP of the Western Maine tournament. Amabile averaged 17.5 points this season, and scored more than 1,000 points in three seasons.

Garet Beal, Jonesport-Beals, junior, forward: Beal, Maine's Gatorade Player of the Year, led the Royals to a 19-2 record and the Class D state title. The 6-foot-5 standout averaged 22.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, 3.8 steals, 3.6 assists and 1.6 blocks.

Mitch Black, Brunswick, senior, guard: Black was a four-year starter and was named KVAC South Player of the Year. He led his team in scoring (13.7 ppg), assists and steals, and was second in rebounding.

Josh Britten, Yarmouth, senior, guard: Britten, Yarmouth's all-time leading scorer (1,331), led the Clippers to the Class B state championship and scored 29 points in the win over Gardiner. He was the top scorer in the Western Maine Conference at 21.8 points per game and was first in steals at 4.3 per game.

Dustin Cole, Bonny Eagle, sophomore, guard: Cole was the Scots' top scorer at 17 points per game, and led the SMAA in assists at 4.4 per game and free-throw percentage at 85 percent. He led Bonny Eagle to the Western Class A final for the second straight year.

Bobby Cote, Biddeford, senior, guard: Cote led the SMAA in scoring at 22.5 points per game and was named the league's MVP. He scored a career-high 33 points in a 69-62 win over Bonny Eagle.

Louie DiStasio, Cheverus, senior, guard: DiStasio is a repeat all-state selection. He averaged 16.8 points -- fifth-best in the SMAA -- led the league in steals with 3.6 per game and ranked fifth in 3-point field goals.

Cole Libby, Bonny Eagle, senior, forward: Libby was a finalist for the state's Mr. Basketball Award. He averaged 15 points, and at 6-foot-2, led the SMAA in rebounding at 9.6 per game. He was second in the SMAA in free-throw percentage at 80.9 percent.

Christian McCue, Hampden Academy, senior, guard: McCue was named Mr. Basketball. He averaged 17 points, led the KVAC in 3-pointers and sparked the Broncos to the Eastern Class A title. He was co-Player of the Year in the KVAC North.

Cam Sennick, Mt. Blue, senior, forward: Sennick was co-Player of the Year in KVAC North and a finalist for Mr. Basketball. He averaged 16.1 points and led the KVAC in rebounding with 9.6 per game. He led the Cougars to the Eastern Class A final.

Cody St. Germain, Dirigo, senior, center: St. Germain led the Cougars to the Class C state title and was selected Player of the Year in the Mountain Valley Conference. He averaged 20.5 points and 9.4 rebounds during the regular season.

Aaron Toman, Gardiner, senior, center: Toman helped lead the Tigers to their best record (19-3) in school history, averaging 16.6 points and 10 rebounds. He was a first-team KVAC selection.

COACH OF THE YEAR

Adam Smith, Yarmouth: In his eighth season as Yarmouth head coach, Smith led the Clippers to their first state basketball championship since 1968. His philosophy? "I have them play at a level I think they can get to, not at a level they think they can get to," he said. He has a career record of 94-63.

"Josh has always been a leader but this year he became more vocal," said Coach Adam Smith. "Josh looked out for everyone on the team and made them better. As our point guard, he made sure the other players got their looks. It helped to give Chris (Knaub) and Sam (Torres) their confidence."

For his performance this season, Britten is our choice as the Maine Sunday Telegram/Portland Press Herald Player of the Year for boys' basketball.

With Britten leading the way, the Clippers took the school's first basketball state title since 1968. He scored 29 points in the 65-53 win over Gardiner at the Bangor Auditorium.

"Josh put us on his back and carried us from the opening tap," said Smith of the final.

With Britten, setting the tone (22 first-half points), his teammates stepped up. Knaub, Torres and the other Clippers had outstanding games.

"I knew Chris was a dead-on shooter," said Britten. "He just needed confidence. He knocked down big shot after big shot."

Britten said the addition of Nate Shields-Auble, a 6-foot-4 sophomore, gave the Clippers a physical presence inside.

Britten led the Western Maine Conference in scoring at 21.8 points a game and scored 54 points, a school record, in a four-overtime win over Poland. Britten is also the school's all-time scorer with 1,331 points.

He won the Butler Award as the WMC MVP and took home the Pierre Harnois Award as the Western 'B' tourney MVP.

The team still basks in glory.

"It's pretty incredible," said Britten. "We're still the talk of the town. Every day it seems someone in the town comes up and congratulates us. It's pretty neat when people tell me they were in high school when Yarmouth last won it. Winning a state championship is something I'll be able to tell my children and grandchildren."

Smith said the Yarmouth elementary school kids think the players are pretty special.

"We had our captains (Britten, Knaub and Torres) go to a third-grade practice. The kids sent a note thanking "their heroes" for coming to school," said Smith.

Yarmouth gained the third seed for the tournament.

"We played our best in the tournament," said Britten. "We lost to Falmouth in overtime in the last game of the regular season. Losing that game gave us more passion to play in the regional final against them. We had a little lull during the season but we got back on track. Our defense proved to be our bread and butter."

Britten plans to spend a post-graduate year at Maine Central Institute in Pittsfield or Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, N.H.

"I would like to play at the Division I level in college," said Britten. "This will give me another year to improve my game and open doors for me."

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at: tchard@pressherald.com

Twitter: TomChardPPH

 

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