Some thoughts surrounding the arrival of the Maine McDonald’s senior all-star basketball weekend at Husson University in Bangor …

… This marks the 25th year Mr. and Miss Basketball will have been crowned in Maine, a long time removed from when Tim Scott of Ellsworth and Julie Bradstreet of Central Aroostook of Mars Hill received the inaugural honors in 1988.

While Cony of Augusta’s Mia Diplock and Windham’s Meghan Gribben are worthy finalists, it’s hard to imagine McAuley of Portland’s Alexa Coulombe, who has led the Lions to the last two Class A state championships and committed to Division I Boston College as a junior, not being named Miss Basketball during the Maine Association of Basketball Coaches banquet at Newman Gymnasium on Friday night.

But the Mr. Basketball race, seemingly a wide-open affair since the start of the season, offers considerable intrigue as there is no clear-cut favorite among Christian McCue of Hampden Academy, Cam Sennick of Mt. Blue of Farmington and Cole Libby of Bonny Eagle of Standish.

All three led their teams deep into postseason play, with McCue reaching the Class A state final while Sennick and Libby’s teams lost in regional Class A title games that were in doubt until the final seconds. All three posted significant individual statistics, and all three made their teammates better.

No guess here, just good luck to all the finalists. …

… Speaking of finalists, an under-the-radar state championship will be held Saturday morning before the McDonald’s senior all-star games as Maine’s best high school free-throw shooters will be crowned.

Participants in the 50-shot finals are North Region winners Colton Bivinghouse of Katahdin of Stacyville (43 of 50 during qualifying competition earlier this winter) and Carmen Bragg of Washburn (45-50), East Region representatives Chase Vicaire of Mattananawcook Academy of Lincoln (44-50) and Angel Lyons of Machias (43-50), Central Region qualifiers Dylan Price of Madison (42-50) and Meryl Bond of Erskine Academy of South China (41-50) and South Region winners Nick Clark of Greely of Cumberland Center (43-50) and Olivia Dimick of Freeport, whose 48 of 50 was the best qualifying score statewide.

Bragg, a sophomore guard who just helped Washburn win its second straight Class D state title, is the defending girls champion after making 49 of 50 free throws during the 2011 finals. …

… Several folks have advanced the nostalgic but unlikely wish of having all eight high school basketball state finals at the Bangor Auditorium next year, given that the 2013 tournament will be the last in the aging edifice before a new Bangor arena is slated to open the next September.

Short of that taking place, how about moving the Maine McDonald’s senior all-star games to the auditorium next March?

Surely it will be difficult to equal the building’s electric state-championship game atmosphere in an all-star setting.

But the participants already will be in the area, and it just seems right to end next season at the facility much of the state’s basketball community has called home at tourney time for more than a half-century.

Then there’s some historical significance in next year’s all-stars being able to say they were the last ones to test their mettle against the dead spots of the auditorium floor, the occasional leak in the roof, and everything else that has made the building part of the fabric of their sport since it opened in 1955.

Not a bad remembrance for the best of Maine’s basketball Class of 2013.

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Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...