STANDISH – Youth and talent are things that the Bonny Eagle boys basketball teams has in spades, both on the hardwood and on the bench. It took a season, but the rest of the league has quickly come to recognize and respect that.

Bonny Eagle Head Coach Phil Bourassa, in only his second year at the helm of the Scots, took home the Southwestern Maine Activities Association’s 2010-2011 coach of the year award after leading his team to a 17-4 record. Freshman guard Dustin Cole, who averaged an outstanding 14.5 PPG this year, was named as the rookie of the year, as well as being elected to the All-SMAA first team and the all-rookie team, quite an impressive feat for a first-year player.

“To be honored as such in a league full of great coaches is pretty amazing,” Bourassa said. “It’s exciting. But there is a lot of work to be done. We were just a shot away from making it to a state championship, and I think I’ll measure our success by how many Gold Balls we win. So I won’t really use this to reflect on my record – I’ll save that for the end of my career or when I am retired.”

Bourassa’s Scots had nothing short of a phenomenal year. After starting out the season at 7-3, the team went 10-1 to end the campaign; the final loss not coming until a 30-27 heartbreaker against Cheverus in the Western Class A finals at the Cumberland County Civic Center on Feb. 28. In the interim, the Scots finished out the regular season at 8-0, and then handily defeated both Westbrook and Deering in the tournament.

“Unselfishness is a good word to describe how we got to where we did,” Bourassa said. “This was just a great group of kids who really bought into everything we were trying to do, from watching film every day, to working out in the weight room, to committing themselves to lengthily practices. We worked hard, and that showed on the floor.”

And certainly it showed in no place more obviously than the play of the dynamic Cole, who displayed a kind of cool-headedness and a deft ball handling ability that would put many seniors to shame. Cole’s small frame belies an intense ability to show up strong against far larger and older players, and he can both attack the basket and shoot the 3-ball with equal precision. According to Bourassa, who teaches physical education at Bonny Eagle Middle School, he knew from seeing Cole play there that the budding star was going to be something special when he reached high school.

“It was pretty evident (in middle school) how great he was,” Bourassa said. “He is (an incredible weapon). The kids on the team voted him as the most dedicated player right before the banquet, so that tells you something about the kid – he works pretty hard. If he continues to do that, and he shows up every season, and works to improve, then of course we’re going to work around him (and try to compliment his ability). He’s an amazing athlete and a great kid.”

With Cole on the roster for another three years, the future is promising for the Scots, who have improved each of the two years under Bourassa’s leadership. The team has tasted the fruits of two years of hard work, and it has left them hungry for more.

“I think we are all hopeful, and I think the future is certainly bright,” Bourassa said. “I would say the level expectation is significantly higher now. Going into this season, during our preseason meeting, our expectations as a team were to play at this level. I think we exceeded a lot of expectations outside the program, but these kids knew that we were this close to being at this level last year. They were in too many close games (in 2009-2010) to think otherwise. They knew they could win those games this year, and we did.”

Bonny Eagle’s Dustin Cole made his mark on the SMAA in his first season and he has the hardware to prove it. The freshman guard was named the league’s rookie of the year and was selected to the All-SMAA first team and the all-rookie team as well.Staff photo by Mike Higgins

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