She has been the behind-the-scenes bedrock for the Scarborough High girls’ basketball team. Junior point guard Madison Blanche leads the team in assists, steals and rebounds.

“She does all the little things to make a team successful, without the headlines,” Scarborough Coach Mike Giordano said. “Makes good decisions. Smart kid. I never take her off the floor.”

Giordano made Blanche his starting point guard her freshman year. And while the 5-foot-7 Blanche loves to pass, Giordano has pushed her to shoot more.

Blanche got the message Friday when she led the Red Storm with 16 points in their 35-25 upset win over top-seeded South Portland in the Class AA South championship – putting Scarborough in state title game Saturday against Oxford Hills.

Q: How was it your freshman year as the starting point guard?

A: It was funny because I never actually played point guard. I was always either the shooting guard or in the post. But they needed a point guard, so I gave it a try … It was learning on the job. I had such great teammates helping me. Brooke Malone was a senior and I learned a lot from her. Josie (Couture) was a big help.

Q: Why did Coach Giordano need to push you to shoot the ball?

A: Growing up, offense has never been my strong suit. I kind of deferred to others. I didn’t take shots when they were open … With the point guard (position), it was something I had to get used to – taking shots when I’m open. But I really focus on getting the ball to my open teammates.

Q: Wait, you wouldn’t take shots when you were open? Why?

A: I definitely think it was a confidence thing. It was something I’ve had to deal with growing up. My dad (Will Blanche) and Coach G have always been on me to get better. I started playing with Coach G in the summer after seventh grade. Ever since then, (he’s been) pushing me to shoot when I’m open.

Q: So how does a player, who is hesitant to shoot, lead her team in scoring in the South title game?

A: I really don’t know. I just saw the open lanes to the basket. My teammates kept the floor open and that left lanes open … Just an instinct thing. I did what I could to help the team.

Q: Do you like defense?

A: I love defense. … I don’t see defense as needing skill. It’s more heart and effort. My offense may not be there but if I can go out and play aggressive defense and get after it, I’m happy with that.

Q: Are you usually assigned the opponent’s best scorer.

A: Yes. (Former teammate) Lindsey Kelley was always put on the best player. I kind of went into her role.

Q: You play soccer, right? What position?

A: Midfielder.

Q: That figures. Similar role to point guard?

A: I definitely think it is. In both sports I look to feed other people and get them their open shots.

Q: Have you begun thinking about college?

A: I started looking into it. I’d like to go out of Maine for a new experience, but I want to stay in New England. Academics is going to come first. If I’m able to play sports at that school, that would be the dream.

Q: What is your favorite subject and what courses are you taking now?

A: Definitely math … I’m taking AP calculus, AP U.S. history, AP physics, AP literature.

Q: You sound busy. Is there time for family?

A: Definitely. I have three younger siblings … 13-year-old brother (Ethan), 10-year-old brother (Carter) and 8-year-old sister (Lucy). We’re very close.

Q: What do you like to do together?

A: Sports is a major part of our family. We all play basketball and soccer. A lot of times, we play sports together at the house. There is a hoop in the driveway. We play some one-on-ones. Sometimes, I’ll go one (versus) two against my younger brothers. My dad grew up playing basketball and we’ll go two (versus) two sometimes, me and the 13-year-old, dad and the 10-year-old. Those get fun.

Q: Do you ever go one-on-one with your dad?

A: Yes.

Q: Does he let up against you?

A: Definitely not. My dad is a tough one to go against. It goes back and forth, but he usually dominates. He doesn’t take it easy on me.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: @KevinThomasPPH

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