Thursday, April 24, 2014
By DALE DUFF Special to the Telegram
WASHBURN - Mitch Worcester says he went north when he sought out a mentor to help him with his basketball game a few years ago.
Considering he lives in Washburn, some might wonder how much farther north he could go.
The answer is about an hour north, to Van Buren, and the mentor was Matt Rossignol.
"I always look toward Matt. He always helped me a lot at camps. We talked basketball. I always considered him a mentor."
Turns out the extra help paid. Tuesday night, Worcester joined the 2,000-point club in Maine.
Worcester knew he needed 19 points to hit 2,000, but didn't know the floater in the lane in the second quarter was the one until the buzzer sounded and the crowd stood in applause.
"I was a little nervous before the game but I started thinking I'm just not going to worry about this," said Worcester, a 6-foot-3 senior.
He finished the game with 39 points (2,020 career).
Scoring on the basketball court is kind of a family thing. Mitch's dad, Larry, scored 1,180 points for the University of Maine at Presque Isle in the 1980s. He holds the school record for 3-pointers in a season (87).
Mitch's mom, Kim, scored 1,091 points in high school, leading Washburn to back-to-back girls' state titles in 1985 and 1986.
And his sister, Mackenzie, is a sophomore at Washburn. Her team won the Class D state title last year and she's already closing in on 800 points.
"When both the kids were young we had those miniature plastic hoops that everyone has," said Larry Worcester. "They seemed to like it. They would come to all our practices when I was coaching so they were around a lot of basketball. They seemed to enjoy it."
Larry Worcester coached at Narraguagus for three years before moving to Washburn. He coached the boys' team for 13 years before going into administration and is now superintendent of schools in Van Buren.
He said he remembers when Mitch was in the sixth or seventh grade and he had a conversation with the longtime Colby College coach, Dick Whitmore.
"I said, 'Dick, I think (Mitch) likes the game but I'm not sure if he loves it yet. I don't see him playing all the time out in the yard.' And I remember Dick saying, 'don't worry, that bell will go off some day, or it might not.' "
That bell rang a year or so later.
"Just like Dick said, that bell went off and Mitch said he really wanted to get good at this game. He started playing in the morning, lifting weights. He was like I was and Kim was. He got the fever."
"I guess hard work pays off," said Mitch. "Scoring those points in a nice accomplishment."
RANDY NORSWORTHY: Mitch Worcester's coach at Washburn was also a 1,000-point scorer -- Norsworthy played for Presque Isle in the 1970s.
GARET BEAL: The Jonesport-Beals senior broke a school record Thursday night when he scored 55 points against Woodland. His dad, who died last summer, held the record with 54 points.
COLTON BIVINGHOUSE: The Katahdin senior scored his 1,000th point Tuesday night in a game against Southern Aroostook.