Sisters Grace, left, and Franny Ramsdell are the top two players on the Wells High girls’ basketball team, playing a critical role in the Warriors’ success on and off the court. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

You always hear coaches talk about creating a family atmosphere for their team, no matter the sport.

For the Wells High girls’ basketball team, it came naturally this year.

The Warriors are led by sisters Franny Ramsdell, a senior guard, and Grace Ramsdell, a sophomore forward. Not only are they Wells’ best players, but apparently they are best friends with every teammate, making sure everyone is involved in every activity.

“They make it easy,” said Grace Boucher, a sophomore who starts at point guard. “I’m best friends with both of them. We hang out together all the time, go to a lot of basketball games together.”

Some players are close to Franny, some closer to Grace. “Through sports, we all became good friends,” said senior guard Meredith Bogue. “And we love to play basketball together.”

And they will play one more game together. Wells (15-6) will meet Hermon (20-1) for the Class B state championship at 7:05 p.m. Friday in Bangor. The Warriors have never won a state championship in girls’ basketball, and this is their first regional title since 1979, when they were in Class C.

“All season long we’ve preached about focusing on the next game on our schedule,” said Coach Don Abbott. “It just so happens the next game is the biggest game.”

This is a moment Franny Ramsdell has been waiting for. “It’s just awesome to get to share something like this together,” she said.

Senior Franny Ramsdell, being guarded during a practice by teammate Grace Boucher, leads Wells with 16.8 points and 3.4 steals per game. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Sports is something the entire Ramsdell family shares. Dean, the father, played football at the University of Maine. Darcy, the mother, was a three-sport standout at Wells. Older sisters Gillian (now a special ed teacher at Wells Middle School) and Halee (now a junior at UMaine-Farmington, playing basketball) both played for Abbott.

Dinner table conversation inevitably revolves around sports.

“We talk about it a lot,” said Franny.

Franny and Grace also do a lot of talking – statistically – on the basketball court. Franny averaged a team-high 16.8 points and 3.4 steals. Grace was next with 15.7 points while leading the team in rebounds (12.6, tops in the Western Maine Conference) and second in assists (2.4) and steals (2.3).

But their biggest contributions aren’t necessary in the scorebook. “It’s their competitiveness,” said Bogue. “Whenever we’re practicing they want to be the best, especially when they go against each other. You can see it. It’s your sister, you want to beat your sister. It makes it so like we’re playing in a  real game.”

Grace said she certainly looks up to her older sister. “In practice,” she said, “I watch how she leads the team.”

What Franny Ramsdell does is make sure everyone feels like they are contributing. “There are so many great girls on the team,” she said. “And the emphasis is on ‘We,’ not ‘Me.’ That brings us closer together.”

Together. That’s another word Abbott stresses.

Wells girls’ basketball Coach Don Abbott talks with players during a practice earlier this week. The Warriors will play Friday in a state championship game for the first time in 41 years. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

“Since Day One, back in 2006 when we started this thing, it’s always been about ‘Together,'” he said. “That’s been our one word, doing it together … We’ve had some terrific individual players, but it’s always come back to the team and the importance of the team and the program. I think that’s how we try and play, that’s how we try to conduct ourselves. We’re not flashy, we’re not about individual statistics. A lot of coaches say that, but our kids really embody that.”

They do everything together, such as raise money to support the Wells Breast Care Center, a branch of York Hospital. Over the last 11 years, through their annual Shootin’ for a Cure fundraiser, the Warriors have raised over $290,000. York Hospital dedicated a wing to the team last September.

“That has been the single biggest thing that has bonded our program,” said Abbott.

“It really brings our team together,” said Bogue. “It’s just just a really good day.”

And now the Warriors hope to have one more really good day.

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