Twins Adele and Grant Nadeau have played varsity basketball at Gorham High for the last four years. This season, they were named to the honorary Maine McDonald’s All-Star games. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

It’s probably no surprise that Adele and Grant Nadeau have had almost parallel paths in their high school basketball careers.

The Gorham High seniors are twins, after all.

“We’ve always just been best friends to be honest,” Grant said.

“We really don’t fight,” Adele said.

When it comes to athletics, instead of competing for supremacy, they prefer to encourage each other. When they hit the driveway court at their parents’ home, it’s more a partnership than competition. And they’re among the best high school basketball players in the state.

When asked how the twins are different, Gorham girls’ basketball coach and geometry teacher Laughn Berthiaume, who was Grant’s middle school soccer coach, flips the question around.

“Honestly, I feel they’re a lot alike,” Berthiaume said. “I feel like they both care deeply about academics, both are very respectful kids who appreciate their teachers and coaches, and both are looking to get better.”

Both made the Gorham varsity teams as freshmen and have continued to improve.

Adele, a 5-foot-9 shooting guard and four-year starter, was an SMAA all-rookie pick as a freshman and a third-team All-SMAA choice as a junior, when she ranked eighth in Class AA South in scoring average (10.4 points per game), made more than 30 3-pointers and tied with her teammate, Sophia Michaud, as the top free throw shooter in AA South at 83 percent.

Grant, at 6-5 more of a penetrating scorer than pure shooter, was an SMAA honorable mention pick as a sophomore after an injury shortened freshman season. He moved up to SMAA second-team honors as a junior, when he ranked seventh in AA South in scoring (13.4), led the division in steals per game (3.1), and also averaged four assists and five rebounds.

This season, both were named to the honorary Maine McDonald’s All-Star game as part of the Class AA/A/B South team, though the usual games won’t take place.

Adele Nadeau is one of 10 semifinalists for Miss Maine Basketball.

Grant is on the Boys’ Academic All-State team and, according to Gorham Coach Mark Karter, is of the same caliber as the 10 semifinalists for Mr. Maine.

“I think so. Absolutely,” Karter said. “Unfortunately, where we preach unselfish basketball, I think it went unnoticed by a lot of people. If he was shooting a higher volume of shots, I think that might have been different.”

The Gorham girls’ team is 5-1, the boys are 7-0 after Wednesday’s games against Portland.

Which leads the siblings to both wonder what might have been if their senior season had included a regular postseason, as opposed to a season reduced to 10 games and without a state tournament because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I think we had the opportunity to have the pieces,” for a deep tournament run, said Adele, who was on Gorham’s 2018 regional championship team. “We have a very deep bench, with eight, nine, 10 girls that consistently play, so we’re not an easy team to guard.”

“It was disappointing to hear we wouldn’t have a tournament because we have such an experienced team and we would have surprised a lot of people how good we are and how well we play together,” Grant said.

The twins even shared a significant, almost freaky, setback.

In the summer between eighth and ninth grade, first Grant and then Adele were diagnosed with stress fractures of L5 vertebrae in their lower back. According to them, the injuries were completely coincidental and not a shared genetic trait.

“Grant got his first and then he got an MRI, and then a couple of months later, I started complaining about my back and our parents were like, ‘Come on, Adele,'” Adele said with a laugh, adding she still teases her parents about initially doubting her.

Grant’s back injury also helped convince him his baseball playing days were over, noting it made it difficult to swing a bat. Their father, Chuck Nadeau, is Gorham High’s varsity baseball coach.

“He was completely fine with it,” Grant said of his dad’s reaction. “I think he realized from an early age that I didn’t love it. It doesn’t stop him from every year saying, ‘It’s not too late Grant, you could try out as a pitcher.’ I think he’s happy that (younger brother) Wyatt has a passion for baseball.”

The entire family shares a love of college basketball, especially the Indiana University women’s team featuring Adele’s former Gorham teammate, Mackenzie Holmes, who leads the 10th-ranked Hoosiers in scoring (17.6 points) and rebounding (7.5).

“We watch every single one of Mackenzie Holmes’ games,” Grant said.

“I played with her two years and am still really close friends with her,” Adele said. “She was so good in high school, but to see her even better in college, it’s crazy.”

There are, of course, some differences between the twins. Adele is a bit more outgoing, and her academic interests trend toward the sciences. Grant, an avid reader, is more comfortable in English and history classes.

The twins also appreciate that their parents requested they be in separate classes through middle school, helping them to establish their own identities and friends.

“I think we’ve only had one class together before this year, and that was in high school and it was gym class,” Adele said.

“And, we dominated the badminton scene,” Grant quickly added. “Just naturals. It was our teamwork.”

Next winter, their journeys will diverge – in part because of basketball.

Grant will attend Bates College in Lewiston, where he was recruited to play basketball. He said he likes the vibe of the small campus (“He’s a classic New England small liberal arts guy,” Adele interjects), that it’s close to home, the fast-paced style Coach Jon Furbush prefers, and the intimate, nearly 100-year-old Alumni Gym.

“I actually think Grant’s best basketball years are ahead of him. He’s just coming into his own,” Karter said. “Which is great for Bates basketball.”

Berthiaume says Adele “absolutely” could have been played in college if that’s what she had wanted.

“I went back and forth a lot deciding if I wanted to play at a smaller Division III school, and ultimately I decided I was more of a bigger school person and wanted to be around a big-school sports atmosphere,” Adele said.

She will be attending Wake Forest University in North Carolina, an NCAA Division I school of about 8,000 students that competes in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Perhaps because of their futures, the Nadeau twins are viewing their senior seasons from a slightly different lens. Grant, knowing his playing days will continue, said his primary focus is “setting the foundation for the guys who are coming after me,” so they can have the success he’s experienced.

For Adele, there is a bit more urgency.

“I only have five games left to ever play basketball. I just want to make the best of everything while I still get to play.”


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