BANGOR, Maine — Van Buren girls basketball head coach Matt Rossignol knows a little bit about big moments in the Maine high school basketball tournament.
As a Van Buren high schooler, Rossignol cemented his name into the record books with a historic 1985 Class B regional during which he set the tournament record for most field goals (37) and points (103). He scored 51 points against Schenck of East Millinocket in the semifinals.
Nearly 30 years after that memorable tournament, Rossignol found himself vying for another big moment Thursday as he attempted to will his seventh-seeded Van Buren girls to victory against No. 2 seed Fort Fairfield.
The Crusaders fell short, however, losing to Fort Fairfield 45-29.
“We lost to a better team,” Rossignol said. “Their pressure bothered us.”
Throughout his tenure as a coach, he had the good fortune to coach his daughter Parise, who broke her father’s scoring record last year, tallying 2,589 points in her four-year career. This winter, she is a freshman with the University of Maine Black Bears, who hold a 20-6 record.
Despite a busy schedule coaching a high school team, Matt has been able to see his daughter play.
“I’ve seen her a little bit,” Rossignol said. “It’s been a transition for her to learn to play at that level. She’s on a really good team.”
After scoring 2,257 points at Van Buren, Matt Rossignol attended the University of Maine from 1985-1989. He ranks 11th on the school’s career scoring list.
He began coaching at Van Buren in 2010 and has enjoyed success, bringing the Crusaders to the regional tournament several times.
“I love being around the game of basketball,” he said. “It’s fun whether you are a player or coach or official.”
Since becoming the head coach, Rossignol has grown accustomed to seeing people around town who he knew during his days of playing in high school.
“It’s fun being around the atmosphere,” he said. “You get to see people from your hometown that you haven’t seen in a long time.”
Despite losing in this year’s tournament, Rossignol remains optimistic.
Van Buren loses five seniors this spring and will likely have a “rebuilding year,” he said, but as the tournament moves on, he looks forward to the challenges that lie ahead.
“It’s just high school basketball in Maine,” he said, “and it’s tough to beat.”