When Falmouth guard Thomas Coyne went down with an injury before the season, Jack Simonds knew he would have to assume more of the offensive load for the Yachtsmen. Simonds averaged 16 points per game as a junior, but he’d be asked to do more for a team that hoped to contend in Western Class A.

“I knew I had to become more aggressive,” said Simonds. But he wasn’t going to deviate from what he likes most about basketball – the team.

“The team always comes first,” said Simonds, named the Maine Sunday Telegram’s Player of the Year.

“Coach (Dave) Halligan always stresses that. That’s a main reason why I loved playing for him.”

In his three previous seasons, Simonds was teamed with several other scoring threats. As the main option this winter, the 6-foot-6 forward increased his scoring average to 23.4 points. He also averaged 10.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists.

And Simonds was even better in the postseason. He tied the Western Class A tournament record with 42 points against South Portland in the semifinals, and won the Vinall Trophy as the tournament’s top player/sportsman, even though Falmouth lost to Portland in the regional final.

Not surprisingly, he credits his teammates.

“They got the ball to me in good scoring positions,” he said of his outburst against South Portland.

Simonds played in three regional finals and one state final in his varsity career. Falmouth won the Class B state title in his sophomore year, then moved up to Class A. This season, the Yachtsmen finished 17-4 after their 57-47 loss to Portland in the Western final.

“This season was probably the most fun,” said Simonds. “We had players in their first year of varsity who stepped up. The community was completely behind us and we got better as the season went along. It was fun to see.”

For Simonds, a 13-game winning streak was a season highlight, but his No. 1 highlight was the senior class going 36-0 at home over four seasons.

Simonds, who will attend Bowdoin College, finished his career with 1,101 points, 612 rebounds and 104 assists. He won the Bob Butler Award as the outstanding player/sportsman in the Western Maine Conference and was a finalist for Mr. Basketball. His dad, Mike, won the Butler Award in 1992 at Scarborough High.

“Jack’s dedication to the sport of basketball stands out,” Halligan said. “His intelligence on the court is outstanding. He rarely made mistakes. Jack’s career is marked by unselfishness. He shared the ball with teammates. With Jack, the team always came first.”

Simonds showed he liked the spotlight when he came up big in the tournament as a freshman. Falmouth lost to Yarmouth in the Western Class B final, but won the state title the next year, with Simonds having another big tournament.

Falmouth lost to Bonny Eagle in the Western A semifinals last year.

“Jack helped us make the transition from Class B to Class A,” said Halligan. “What made him difficult to cover was his ability to play inside or outside.”

Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or:

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