By Kevin Sjoberg
BANGOR — The Maine McDonald’s High School Senior All-Star basketball games were held Saturday at Newman Gymnasium on the Husson University campus.
The event included the participation of several Aroostook County players and coaches.
Carmen Bragg and Carsyn Koch of the state champion Washburn Beavers chipped in with five and six points, respectively, as the girls’ Class C-D East team defeated the West, 73-68.
In the boys’ C-D contest, Hunter Turner of Easton scored 12 points in the East’s 113-105 triumph. Dillon Kingsbury, coach of the Easton boys, was on the East’s bench as one of the co-coaches.
The West swept the A-B games. The West girls won 83-44, while the boys posted a 143-115 victory. Jeff Hudson, coach of the PI girls, and Chris Casavant, coach of the Caribou boys, were selected as coaches for the East in the games.
Allie Clement of McAuley won the girls’ three-point contest and Nick Burton of Falmouth was the winner in the slam dunk contest.
Free throw champions were also determined, with Emily Keene of Spruce Mountain and Garvey Melmed of Old Town walking away with titles. Keene made 44 to beat Bragg, who had 43 while representing the North region.
At the awards banquet held Friday at the Cross Insurance Center, the Easton boys were selected as the Maine Red Claws/Maine McDonald’s Team of the Year along with the Falmouth girls.
The award honors teams that have made an exceptional impact on Maine high school basketball and in the lives of others through contribution to community, exemplifying sportsmanship, team competitiveness and spirit and commitment to academic excellence.
The 2013-14 Easton boys’ varsity basketball team has earned a reputation for determination and sportsmanship on the court, academic achievement and service to their communities. Having just set a school record with an undefeated season (18-0) shows great dedication to practice, teamwork, competitiveness and team spirit.
They are role models as team members have volunteered their time with the Aroostook County Special Olympics basketball program, coaching, supporting and practicing skills with the athletes. They have also volunteered their time to help coach, referee and run the clock for the Easton Recreation Department’s Little Bears basketball program.
Just recently, after a very busy week of basketball, the team offered two basketball clinics with over 40 children participating in the program. The players, who exemplify sportsmanship, leadership and strong values, are role models to these young children.
The Easton team was instrumental in helping to organize a benefit dinner for two separate families whose homes were completely destroyed by fire. The players helped prepare, cook and serve food, as well as clean up after the event. Also, the team organizes its own bottle drive fundraisers that help support their summer basketball program.
Out of 11 team members, six are National Honor Society members. One holds the regional office of president. Three additional players were recently invited to apply for membership. This honor roll team has a cumulative GPA of 93.2 and most players have earned high honors or highest honors. In addition, team members are also involved on a record-breaking soccer team, volleyball, math team, Key Club, Varsity Club, student government, band and play productions.
According to a community member who nominated the team for this award, “These players have displayed outstanding character, integrity, sportsmanship, and teamwork throughout the season. The members of the Easton boys’ basketball team are true leaders within the school and community.”
Clement and Dustin Cole of Bonny Eagle were chosen as Miss and Mr. Basketball for the state. Other finalists were Tiana-Jo Carter of Lake Region and Parise Rossignol of Van Buren for girls and Zachary Gilpin and Isaiah Bess, both of Hampden Academy, for boys.
The Spirit of the Game awards went to Connor Kane of Dirigo and Gilpin. Messalonskee’s Mikaya Turner and Spruce Mountain’s Erik Taylor were recipients of $2,000 Maine All-State Academic Scholarships. Ron Cote, a longtime coach who spent most of his time in the Biddeford area, was honored with the D. Robert Brown Contributor Award and William “Bim” Gibson of Auburn was presented the Maine Association of Basketball Coaches Media Award. Gibson does halftime and post-game interviews for MPBN’s tournament coverage.