YARMOUTH — On Monday, Josh Britten of Yarmouth was both excited and anxious before basketball practice. It was the first day Britten, one of the top guards in the state, could have full-contact drills.

Last spring, Britten dislocated his shoulder in lacrosse and had surgery in August. He missed soccer because of it. Since the start of basketball practice, Britten has been shooting, dribbling and doing other light drills, but no scrimmaging or preseason games, per doctor’s orders.

“I’ve been thinking about this day for a while,” said Britten. “I’m looking forward to getting started.”

On Tuesday, Britten, a senior, got his first game action when the Clippers played Medomak Valley of Waldoboro in a preseason tuneup before tonight’s statewide openers.

Britten had 15 points in the first half against the Panthers, considered an Eastern Class B favorite. Yarmouth led at halftime before losing. Britten fouled out in the second half.

Though Britten has been running in practice, doing it in game conditions is something else. Coach Adam Smith said it may take Britten a few games to get his full stamina back.

The Clippers are hoping it’s sooner than later. They open tonight at Gray-New Gloucester.
Britten averaged 24 points last season as the second-leading scorer in the Western Maine Conference behind Theo Bowe of Cape Elizabeth, who has graduated.

As last season progressed, Britten got more and more attention from defenses. Graduated Clipper seniors like Luke Pierce, Matt Murphy, Connor Ertz and Mike McCormack were able to deflect some of the defensive pressure away from Britten.

This year, it may not be as easy. Teams will focus on stopping him.

“I’m sure some teams will double-team and face-guard me, but I’m confident we’ll be able to adjust,” said Britten.

Britten mentioned teammates Chris Knaub and Sam Torres as keys in having a balanced offense.

“I call us the Big Three,” said Britten. “We’ve been playing together since the first grade.”

As soon as he could practice his shooting after surgery, Britten worked on his range and release.

He feels he won’t be that far behind, if at all, from players who took part in AAU ball during the summer.

One of Britten’s top outings last season was the second game against Falmouth. Britten, who shoots left-handed, hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to send the game to overtime. The Clippers prevailed with Britten finishing with 35 points.

“He’s one of the best players in the state,” said Falmouth Coach Dave Halligan. “He’s quick and explosive. Josh is one of those special players who can create offense, yet he knows how to get his teammates involved. He plays all-out all of the time, He dives for loose balls. He’s the kind of player you would love to have on your team but are not crazy about playing against him.”

Britten has 796 career points, which ranks fourth on the school’s career scoring list. With another strong season, he could become the school’s leading scorer.

Johnny Murphy is the career leader with 1,206 points.

Britten ranked fourth in steals last season in the Western Maine Conference with 3.1 per game.

“Josh’s basketball skills are evident to everyone who watches us play,” said Smith.

“What they don’t know is that his intensity at practice is what separates him from others and makes him so valuable to our team. He is a tremendous practice player who makes everyone work harder and play at a higher level because of his tireless and constant effort.”

A top student, Britten will soon apply to Bates College in Lewiston, where he is planning to continue his basketball career.

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at:

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