It might be a tough sell, but Brunswick girls’ basketball coach Sam Farrell makes a strong case that guard Julia Champagne deserves Player of the Year consideration – in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference and statewide.

For her part, Champagne said “it’s a great feeling having him say that about me.”

Champagne averages 22.3 points for the Dragons, who are 9-5 in Eastern Class A. She also averages 8.1 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 6.2 steals.

Last Friday’s effort in a 63-60 win at Lewiston was typical.With one starter fouled out and another missing due to injury, Brunswick needed every one of Champagne’s 27 points, 10 rebounds, eight steals and five assists.

“The 27 points are one thing but every time we needed a stop she just took the ball,” Farrell said. “You just knew it was coming. She willed us to a win.”

Champagne probably will have to be content with all-conference because Nia Irving of Lawrence, the two-time KVAC Player of the Year, is in the same division, as are Mary Butler of Bangor and Anna Winslow of Oxford Hills. Plus those three teams are ahead of Brunswick in the standings.

Champagne, a 5-foot-6 point guard, has started since the first game of her freshman season, playing alongside her sister Becky, who was then a senior.

“I really didn’t think anything was a big deal. Now I like having the pressure on me,” Champagne said.

This season her responsibilities increased. She is being asked to score more and is closing in on 1,000 career points. The bigger challenges have come on defense.

“She always has the toughest defensive assignment,” Farrell said. “Against Bangor she was guarding 6-foot-1 Mary Butler and she was pretty much on an island with her. Against Oxford Hills she was guarding their best player, (6-foot-1 forward) Anna Winslow. Against Messalonskee she was down low against Sophia Holmes and held her to six points. That’s why I give the nod to Julia. I ask her to do so much.”

Quick and fast, Champagne said she tries to use her athletic ability to keep the ball from the other teams’ top players.

“Also, when they are posting up, then I have a lot of help inside,” she said.

One thing Champagne and Brunswick have not done is gain a signature-level win in Eastern A. Brunswick suffered two-point losses to once-beaten Bangor (45-43, Champagne scored 20, Butler had 16) and defending regional champ Oxford Hills; an overtime setback to Mt. Blue; and twice fell to Edward Little.

“In our five losses we’ve had the lead in the fourth quarter of every one of those games,” Farrell said. “Come tournament time we know there are a lot of good teams, but I believe we can play with any of them.”

Brunswick did not make the playoffs in Champagne’s first two seasons. Last year the Dragons lost to Cony in the quarterfinals.

“No one on our team has ever won at the (Augusta) Civic Center so getting a win there would be a great feeling for all of us,” Champagne said.

The Dragons will play Friday night at unbeaten Lawrence in the teams’ only regular-season meeting.

Champagne probably will guard Irving, Farrell said.

“What separates Julia from those other kids when you talk about player of the year, they have more stars around them than we do,” Farrell said. “Julia does a lot of carrying us on her back.”

Champagne expects play next season at Saint Joseph’s College. A self-described homebody, she said she hasn’t “quite committed but I’m 98 percent sure and I’m really excited to finally make a commitment.”

WHO IS THE player of the year in Western Maine? That might be even tougher to sort out. One player who will stand tall on any list is Greely’s 6-foot-3 senior center, Ashley Storey.

Storey needs seven points to reach 1,000 for her career. Based on her Western Maine Conference-leading 19.4 points per game average, she’ll reach the milestone in her next game, scheduled for Friday when York travels to Cumberland.

The game itself has plenty of significance. York is 13-2 and has won seven straight. The streak started with a 48-43 home win against Greely on Jan. 8.

Greely has won five straight and 12 of 13 since an opening-night loss to Gray-New Gloucester. Only in the losses to York and Gray-New Gloucester has Greely allowed a team to score as many as 40 points.

BEN MALLOY should become Bonny Eagle’s fourth boys’ player to pass 1,000 career points during a home game Friday night against Westbrook.

Malloy, who has 992 points, led the SMAA in 3-point shooting as a junior. He was second as a sophomore and is second this year.

Malloy will join Dustin Cole, James Cerino and Darby Kopp as 1,000-point scorers at the school.

Cole is the SMAA’s all-time leading scorer with 1,812 points. Cerino is next at Bonny Eagle with 1,330, followed by Kopp at 1,076.

Malloy, a 6-foot-2 guard-forward, hasn’t missed a game in his four seasons as a starter.

EDWARD LITTLE beat Hampden Academy on Monday, 69-54. For the seniors, it was their first win against the Broncos.

The victory strengthened Edward Little’s hold on No. 1 in Eastern Class A; Hampden, the defending regional champion, is ranked second. The victory also came on Coach Mike Adams’ birthday.

“Our kids have never beaten them,” said Adams. “They handled us pretty easily in their gym. It felt good to play well and not back down from a very good opponent.”

Kaleb Main led the Red Eddies with 16 points. Elijah Roe had 15 and Ian Mileikis added 14.

Nick Gilpin led the Broncos with 19 points.

RYAN LIBBY, THE boys’ basketball coach at Mattanawcook Academy in Lincoln, resigned Monday. Also, two players were suspended for the remainder of the season because of complaints about unsportsmanlike tactics during a game against Houlton last Friday night.

According to video footage, much of the rough play was directed toward Kyle Bouchard, an all-state player for Houlton, the defending Class C state champion.

Twice, Bouchard was grabbed from behind and thrown to the floor by a Mattanawcook player on a breakaway layup.

Houlton (13-3), which is ranked first in Eastern Class C, won the game 85-41.

Mattanawcook (1-14) subsequently forfeited a game against Orono. The Lynx and Red Riots were scheduled to play Monday, but the game was postponed. When the schools couldn’t agree on a makeup date, Mattanawcook offered to forfeit, according to the Bangor Daily News, and the Maine Principals’ Association awarded a victory to Orono on Thursday.

SAM FREEMAN of Scarborough hit a half-court shot just before the buzzer to tie the game against Cheverus and send it to overtime Wednesday night.

Cheverus recovered to outscore the Red Storm 9-6 in overtime for a 70-67 victory.

Freeman finished with 11 points.