April 15, 2012

Telegram All-State Girls' Basketball
It's more than statistics for McAuley's two-time champ

Alexa Coulombe was intent on getting all her teammates involved, and did it masterfully.

By Mike Lowe mlowe@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND — Alexa Coulombe only scored seven points in McAuley High's Class A girls' basketball championship victory against Cony.

click image to enlarge

Alexa Coulombe, who is headed to Boston College, didn’t have the best statistics in the state, but she was the best player as McAuley captured its second straight Class A title.

2011 file photo/John Ewing

TELEGRAM ALL-STATE GIRLS' BASKETBALL

Kristen Anderson, Leavitt, junior, guard: A dynamic scorer and defender, the 5-foot-7 Anderson averaged 27.3 points, 7.9 assists, 4.7 steals and 5.4 rebounds, and has 1,211 career points. She has verbally committed to the University of New Hampshire.

Tiana-Jo Carter, Lake Region, sophomore, center: The 6-foot-1 Carter averaged 18 rebounds, 14 points and 3.4 blocked shots in leading the Lakers to the Class B state title game.

Allie Clement, McAuley, sophomore, guard: One of the fastest players in the state, the 5-8 Clement led the Class A state champion with 12.8 points per game, along with 2.6 assists and a team-high 3.2 steals.

Alexa Coulombe, McAuley, senior, forward: The 6-foot-2 Coulombe will next play at Boston College after winning the Miss Maine Basketball Award and our Player of the Year award. She averaged 11.6 points, 7.2 rebounds, a team-high 3.6 assists, 2.9 steals and 2.8 blocked shots in leading the Lions to a second straight Class A state title.

Mia Diplock, Cony, senior, forward: The 5-foot-8 Diplock helped the Rams reach the Class A state championship game, averaging 16 points, 4.9 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 4.1 steals. Diplock, who also plays soccer and lacrosse, will play at Colby College.

Meghan Gribbin, Windham, senior, guard: Maine's Gatorade Player of the Year, the 5-foot-5 Gribbin led the SMAA in scoring (20.8 points) and assists (4.1). She ended her career with a school-record 1,221 points. She's headed to the University of New England.

Jordan Knowlton, Camden Hills, junior, forward: The 5-foot-9 Knowlton has the ability to play inside or out. In helping the Windjammers to the Eastern Class B quarterfinals, she averaged 22.8 points, 14.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists. She has more than 1,000 career points.

Sigrid Koizar, Stearns, junior, guard: An exchange student from Austria, where she was a member of the under-18 national team, Koizar helped Stearns to the Eastern Class C final, averaging 23.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 3.2 steals.

Selena Lorrey, Traip Academy, senior, forward: The 5-foot-10 Lorrey received the Bob Butler Award as the outstanding senior in the WMC. She averaged 16.7 points, 8.7 rebounds, 3.6 steals, 3.5 assists and 2.3 blocks, and finished with 1,099 career points.

Megan Pelletier, Messalonskee, senior, forward: The 6-foot Pelletier averaged 12.7 points, 11.5 rebounds, 3.0 blocks and 2.5 steals. She will attend the University of Southern Maine.

Parise Rossignol, Van Buren, sophomore, guard: Rossignol already has 1,205 points after just two seasons. She averaged 30.4 points, 8.3 assists and 7.5 rebounds this year.

Carylanne Wolfington, Hall-Dale, senior, forward: The 5-foot-7 Wolfington averaged 20.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 5.0 steals. She finished with 1,044 career points, and is heading to Colby to play basketball and softball.

COACH OF THE YEAR

Tom Maines, Scarborough: Coaching a girls' team for the first time in his 39 years of high school basketball in Maine, Maines took a team that no one expected to contend and brought it to the Western Class A final. The Red Storm bought into Maines' system that stressed pressure defense and team play, and finished with a 19-2 record.

But as Paul Vachon, the Cony athletic director and former coach, stood by his team bench watching the awards ceremony, he nodded at Coulombe and said, "She was the best player on the floor. Anybody who knows basketball saw that. Everything went through her."

Thus was Coulombe's senior year with the Lions. At 6-foot-2, she was capable of dominating every game. But as senior captain, she sacrificed individual statistics to make sure everyone on the team was involved.

"It all started with my first meeting with Alexa," said Bill Goodman, the first-year coach of the Lions. "She said she wanted everyone involved. She had a vision of what she wanted the team to be. And she worked hard to make it come true."

Coulombe, who will play at Boston College, is the Maine Sunday Telegram girls' basketball Player of the Year.

In helping McAuley repeat, she averaged 11.6 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 2.9 steals and 2.8 blocked shots. Statistically, she had a slightly better year as a junior, but her senior leadership was unparalleled.

"She was our calming influence," said Goodman. "She did just about everything for us on the floor and, offensively and defensively, she was the smartest player I've ever coached.

"It carried over to practice where she would show the other players what (the coaches) wanted them to work on."

Coulombe, who also won Miss Maine Basketball, ended with 871 career points. Goodman is certain she could have passed 1,000 if she wanted. "But that's not what she wanted," he said. "She was so unselfish. And that's her legacy."

"It's obviously great when you can (score 1,000 points)," said Coulombe. "But I think the two state titles we won mean more to me than anything like that. Recognition of individual achievements is great, but when you do it as a team, that's even better."

With the arrival of 6-2 sophomore Olivia Smith and 6-foot freshman Victoria Lux, Coulombe spent a lot of the season playing on the perimeter, which was fine. That's likely where she'll play in college.

She can handle the ball against pressure, hit an open jumper and, more important, guard quick players. In the playoffs, she often guarded Meghan Gribbin of Windham, a quick smaller player.

"She could do it offensively and defensively on the perimeter or in the post," said Goodman. "And I don't think there's another player in the state who could do that."

Coulombe, who lives in Falmouth, gave up other sports to concentrate on basketball before she reached high school. She played for the AAU New England Crusaders of Nashua, N.H. The exposure helped lead her to Boston College.

"Coming from McAuley, which is such a small environment, it's like a family," she said.

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: mlowe@pressherald.com

Twitter: MikeLowePPH

 

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