BEN ONEK, Senior-Basketball

* SMAA Player of the Year

* SMAA Senior All-Star

* Class AA North All-Region, first-team

* Maine McDonald’s Senior All-Star

* Mr. Maine Basketball finalist

* Captain

Onek’s game was simply transcendent this winter, as his skill and leadership helped the Rams produce a successful, memorable season.

Onek grew up playing football and basketball, but basketball emerged as his top sport.

“I’m pretty competitive and I like being active,” Onek said. “I like working with a group of guys who want to win.”

Onek joined the Deering varsity as a freshman and quickly stood out thanks to his size, athleticism and clutch play. Onek made the SMAA All-Rookie team as a freshman, was a second-team all-star as a sophomore after averaging 10.6 points and remained a top player as a junior.

Thanks in part to his offseason work with Blue Wave AAU team coach Robert Pillsbury, Onek took his game to yet another level and this winter, he had his finest season, averaging 19 points and 10 rebounds per contest, as he was recognized as the best player in the league.

Highlights included 13 points and 11 rebounds in a season-opening win over South Portland, 21 points and 13 boards in a victory over Sanford, 20 points in a win over Gorham, 19 points in a loss to eventual Class AA South champion Bonny Eagle, 15 points and 10 rebounds in a win over Oxford Hills, 19 points in a win over Cheverus, 23 points in a loss at defending Class AA champion Edward Little, 21 points in a second victory over South Portland, 17 points and 11 rebounds in a win over Windham, 24 points in a loss at Thornton Academy and 20 points, 10 rebounds, three steals and three assists as Deering closed the regular season with a therapeutic win over rival Portland, Onek’s first victory over the Bulldogs in his career. Onek’s tour-de-force was a 33-point, 14-rebound, three-block shot performance in home victory over Noble.

The Rams had to play Portland again in the quarterfinals and Onek missed much of the game due to foul trouble and was held to just three free throws as Deering lost a gutwrenching 51-50 decision on a 3-point shot just before the horn.

“That shot still hurts, but this season was the best season I’ve had,” Onek said. “It was fun. We had a close team.”

Onek received several postseason honors, capped by being named a finalist for the Mister Maine Basketball award, given to the state’s top senior player (the award was won by Bangor’s Matt Fleming). 

Onek has been selected to take part in the football’s Lobster Bowl this summer and is making a return to baseball this spring. You’ll next see him on the hardcourt at Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, New Hampshire.

Ben Onek, Deering’s Winter Male Athlete of the Year, put on a show this season and cemented his status as a special player in program history.

Coach Todd Wing’s comment: “As a four-year varsity player, Ben has been a pleasure to coach. A talented and coachable player who has represented our program and school with class. He’s a refreshing, down-to-earth young man that people like to be around.”

Previous winners:

2017-18 Owen McLaughlin (swimming)

2016-17 Ezra Chapola (track)

2015-16 Paolo DeMarco (track)

2014-15 Hany Ramadan (track)

2013-14 Eric Delmonte (swimming)

2012-13 Jared Bell (track)

2011-12 Jon Amabile (basketball)

2010-11 Jon Amabile (basketball)

2009-10 Eddie Tirabassi (basketball)

2008-09 E.J. Googins (swimming)

2007-08 Chris Smith (wrestling)

2006-07 Brandon Carbone (basketball)

2005-06 Allen Stein (wrestling)

2004-05 Kyle Johnson (swimming)

2003-04 Brian Vail (track)



* Eastern High School Championships qualifier

* Captain

Tumavicus was a top performer on a team that made history and her devotion to her sport will allow her to continue at the next level.

Tumavicus has long been a running aficionado, but she tried Nordic skiing in middle school and was quickly hooked.

“Skiing has become my favorite sport,” she said. “We have a great team. Everyone’s close. It’s fun to be outside in the winter. I’m competitive and I’ve had really good coaches who have taught me to work hard.”

Tumavicus has made her mark in cross country and outdoor track, but she’s been a standout on the trails in the winter. She placed 13th in the classic as a sophomore and as a junior, she was runner-up in the classic and eighth in the freestyle.

This winter, Tumavicus set her sights on the top spot and while she didn’t get there as an individual, her Deering/Portland/Cheverus/Casco Bay co-op team managed to leave the rest of Class A in its wake and win a championship for the first time. Tumavicus had a team-best sixth-place finish in the classic, placed 13th in the freestyle and eighth in the pursuit. She also helped the squad win the Telstar Relays and the Sassi Memorial Classic.

“I had a pretty good year,” Tumavicus said. “It wasn’t the best (championship) weekend for me, but I’m proud of what we accomplished as a team.” 

Tumavicus is the vice president of Deering’s National Honor Society, belongs to Student Senate, the rock climbing team and plays ultimate frisbee. She will attend Colorado College next year, where she plans to run and ski.

Grace Tumavicus, Deering’s Winter Female Athlete of the Year, capped her high school career in style and helped her team go somewhere it had never gone before.

Coach George Aponte-Clarke’s comment: “Grace has been a dedicated and focused member of the Nordic team throughout her high school career. Through hard work, positive attitude and passionate enthusiasm, Grace developed to be one of our top skiers and a committed team leader. This season, her consistently high results help lead the team to the state championship. Her fun but focused approach to skiing is appreciated by her coaches and teammates whether in the wax room, on the trails, during workouts, or at the finish line.”

Previous winners:

2017-18 Annah Rossvall (track)

2016-17 Tasia Titherington (basketball)

2015-16 Abi Ramirez (basketball)

2014-15 Amanda Brett (basketball)

2013-14 Emma Pontius (swimming)

2012-13 Genevieve Worthley (swimming)

2011-12 Genevieve Worthley (swimming)

2010-11 Kayla Burchill (basketball)

2009-10 Claire Ramonas (basketball)

2008-09 Diana Manduca (basketball)

2007-08 Diana Manduca (basketball)

2006-07 Nicole Garland (basketball)

2005-06 Emily Sweatt (swimming)

2004-05 Rebecca Schack (track)

2003-04 Megan Urban (basketball)

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter:@foresports.

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