Bryce Lausier averaged 26 points per game this season, and he was at his best under pressure as the leader of a young Hampden Academy team. Kennebec Journal photo by Andy Molloy Buy this Photo

The way the Hampden Academy boys’ basketball team was built this past season, with a number of younger players often on the court, there was pressure on senior captain Bryce Lausier to lead the Broncos every game, Coach Russ Bartlett said.

What some would see as pressure, Lausier saw as opportunity, especially throughout Hampden’s playoff run. The Broncos trailed by at least eight points in each of their four playoff games. At the center of each of those comeback victories, including the 65-56 win over York in the Class A championship game, was Lausier.

“It just really showed me perseverance. Never stop fighting,” Lausier said. “We played four really great teams. Every team gave us their best.”

Last month, Lausier was chosen as Mr. Maine Basketball and Maine’s Gatorade Player of the Year. For leading his team to the Class A championship, Lausier is also the Varsity Maine Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year.

Lausier, also the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A Player of the Year, averaged 26 points, seven rebounds and five assists per game. He was a 60 percent shooter from 2-point range and a 39 percent shooter from behind the 3-point line. For the 6-foot-4 guard, improvement was most noticeable when he used his size and strength to attack the basket.

“Bryce has always been a very good perimeter shooter. His ability to get to the rim made him a different player,” Bartlett said. “We found ways to get him on the block or off the dribble.”

With six minutes to play in the Class A North championship game and Hampden trailing Cony by 10 points, Lausier became more aggressive, driving to the basket. He scored seven straight points to pull the Broncos within striking distance of the Rams, and got nine of his 18 points in the fourth quarter as Hampden took a 52-50 win.

“(Lausier) scores at all three levels. He’s an athlete who can finish, (has a) good pull-up game, great catch and shoot from 3 with range … Size and strength allowed him to be a very good rebounder,” said Cony Coach TJ Maines, whose team finished 16-5 with three losses to Hampden. “He found open players and was unselfish. Most importantly, he came up big when his team needed him.”

Bartlett pointed to a 3-pointer Lausier made late in the Broncos’ 54-52 regional semifinal win over Brewer.

“It was a 3 off the dribble and it was well-contested,” Bartlett said. “He was the only player on the floor capable of making that shot, and it turned the game in our favor.”

Lausier said he’s comfortable in a leadership role.

“I’m quiet, calm, collected. I usually never talk to my opponent. Mikey Raye (Lausier’s fellow Hampden senior) is the vocal leader,” Lausier said.

Added Bartlett: “Bryce can be complimentary with his teammates, and he can be tough on his teammates if they aren’t working hard.”

Lausier is the third Mr. Maine Basketball to play at Hampden for Bartlett, joining Christian McCue (2012) and Nick Gilpin (2016).

“(Lausier) ranks up there with the top players we’ve had,” Bartlett said.

Lausier said Gilpin’s long buzzer beating 3-pointer to lift the Broncos past Lawrence in the 2013 Eastern Class A final is his earliest Hampden basketball memory.

“Nick’s a guy I always looked up to. Following in their footsteps is an honor,” Lausier said.

This past week, Lausier announced through his Twitter account he has accepted a scholarship to continue his basketball career at St. Anselm College, an NCAA Division II school in Goffstown, New Hampshire.

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