There hasn’t been much Lawrence High School of Lawrence senior center Nia Irving hasn’t accomplished in her remarkable career.
The only thing missing from her trophy case is the title of Miss Maine Basketball and that’s because the award, as well as the Mister Maine Basketball award, only goes to the state’s top seniors.
Irving was named the Gatorade Player of the Year in the state last season as she led her Bulldogs to their first state Class A championship since 1994. She was a first-team Bangor Daily News All-Maine selection after averaging 22.5 points, 14.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists.
She has had an even better year this season and on Wednesday was announced as one of the Miss Maine Basketball semifinalists.
Joining her are teammate Dominique Lewis, Mount Desert Island’s Kelsey Shaw and Sierra Tapley, Oxford Hills of South Paris’ Tianna Sugars, Edward Little of Auburn’s Emily Jacques, York’s Chloe Smedley and Shannon Todd, South Portland’s Maddie Hasson and Jess Willerson of Catherine McAuley of Portland.
Irving has had her best season this year, averaging 25 points and 21 rebounds for Lawrence (19-0) going into Wednesday’s semifinal against Hampden Academy.
The 6-foot-1 center was named the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Player of the Year for the fourth consecutive season and, for the first time, she was selected to the All-Defensive first team.
“I’m proud of it. I want to be as well-rounded a player as I can be, so I felt I needed to bring my defense up to where my offense was to have better balance,” said Irving, who will attend Boston University on a scholarship.
On the Mr. Maine Basketball side, Hampden Academy’s Nick Gilpin and Brewer’s Matt Pushard are joined by Caribou’s Donovan Savage, Medomak Valley of Waldoboro’s Nicholas DePatsy, Andrew Fleming of Oxford Hills in South Paris, Dirigo of Dixfield’s Riley Robinson, Portland’s Amir Moss, Mt. Ararat of Topsham’s Shyheim Ulrickson and Lake Region of Bridgton’s Jackson Lesure.
The fields will be whittled down to three finalists on each side after the basketball tournaments are over. The winners will be named at the Maine McDonald’s High School Senior All-Star banquet on Friday, March 11, at the Anah Shrine Hall in Bangor.
Gilpin and Pushard were honored by their semifinalist status.
“It’s definitely exciting,” said Gilpin, whose brother, Zach, was a finalist two years ago.
“To be named on that list is a great honor,” said Pushard.
“It shows with all the hard work and dedication I put into basketball over the years,” said point guard Gilpin, who has led the Broncos to a 19-0 season entering Wednesday’s Class A North semifinal against Oceanside of Thomaston/Rockland.
“My brother was a finalist two years ago and it’s obviously something I wanted to get. We’ll see what happens,” added Gilpin, who has averaged over 15 points and six assists per game.
“It’s great to see that all the effort you’ve put in over four years has resulted in an honor like this,” agreed Pushard, a 6-4 forward who has averaged 17 points and over 10 rebounds per game.
Pushard has led the Witches to a 15-4 season entering Wednesday’s Class A North semifinal against Medomak Valley.