Central Aroostook dedicates basketball season to fallen alum

1 year ago

MARS HILL, Maine — The Central Aroostook Panther girls varsity basketball team is confident about the upcoming Class C basketball season, with all players returning from last season.

The Panthers are dedicating this year’s season to Libby Grass, a former player who died last spring while attending college in the University of Maine Orono. 

“These girls are more determined than ever to show everyone that they can honor the legacy of Libby Grass through tough defense and tenacity.” said new Coach Paul Deschaine. “I am excited to get the chance to coach thes girls again since I started with these girls in junior high.”

This year will be coach Deschaine’s first year as the girls varsity basketball coach as he takes over the program from Krystal Flewelling. Deschaine  has been a junior high coach for the Panthers for four years and believes the Panthers will be a defensive-minded team, along with a harder to defend inside and outside game.

“We are confident this season. I coached them in junior high, so we are confident that we can be very successful since we already know each other,” Deschaine said.

Last season the Panther’s finished 10-8, and were ninth in Class C North. The Panthers were on the road for a prelim contest against No. 8 Sumner, falling 48-42 in a tight contest.

The roster for the 2022-2023 season will have seniors Kira Fitzherbert and Mallory Kingsbury, juniors Abby Haines, Skylynn Tilley, Izabel Pryor, Rylee Pierce, Ira Fletcher, and freshman Maggie Mahan.

Panthers Fitzherbert, Haines, Pryor, Kingsbury, Pierce, and Fletcher were all on the state championship team in 2020 when Grass played for Central Aroostook High School.

“Our goal is to make it to Bangor and you never know what will happen when you get there. Deschaine said. 

Fitzherbert is a leader on and off the court, and will be starting in all games. Allen has kept working on getting better, threatening to have a breakout season. Haines has been a point guard for the last couple of seasons and will keep up her momentum of helping her team win. Pierce will be a beast on the inside game this year and has a goal of getting more rebounds for the Panthers.

Coach Deschaine expects to battle with other good teams like Hodgdon and Fort Kent in Class C North, while Penobscot Valley, Stearns, and Calais will also be teams to watch out for the Panthers.