AUGUSTA, Maine — Nia Irving and Dominique Lewis have been at the forefront of a resurgence in girls basketball at Lawrence High School of Fairfield that last winter produced the program’s first state championship since 1994.

Now seniors, the duo is providing not only more statistical contributions but the leadership needed for a younger Lawrence team that remains undefeated this winter and is one victory away from successfully defending that crown.

That leadership was in evidence during Lawrence’s 59-44 Class A North title-game victory over Messalonskee of Oakland last Friday.

“People see us and think we’re a veteran team because of Nia and Domi,” said veteran Lawrence coach John Donato. “But we graduated three starters last year, and we had a lot of kids that didn’t have that much experience, and Nia and Domi held us together.”

Irving, the Bulldogs’ relentless 6-foot-1 senior center, averaged 18.3 points and 16.7 rebounds per game during three tournament games at the Augusta Civic Center and for that effort has been named recipient of the Owen O. Osborne Most Valuable Player Award for the Class A North tournament.

Emily Jacques, a 6-foot senior center who led Edward Little of Auburn to its first regional title last Saturday after six previous unsuccessful trips to the final, was named the Osborne Award winner for Class AA North.

The Osborne Award, established in 1994 in memory of a former BDN sports editor and reporter, and Classes AA and A North region all-tournament teams were selected by BDN staff in attendance during those events.

The Boston University-bound Irving overcame double- and triple-teams by opposing teams to earn tournament MVP honors for the second straight year.

Her efforts included a 16-point, 16-rebound performance in top-ranked Lawrence’s championship-game win over No. 2 Messalonskee — the Bulldogs’ 42nd win in their last 43 games over two years.

And while the double-doubles have become standard fare for Irving, so, too, has excellence from the free-throw line where she made 23 of 26 attempts during the tournament, or 89 percent.

Joining Irving on the BDN Class A North all-tournament team are Lewis, Sophie Holmes and McKenna Brodeur of Messalonskee and Lauren Chadwick of Gardiner.

Lewis, a 5-5 guard, averaged 10.3 points per game during the regional, a performance that included eight 3-point goals to complement Irving’s inside work. She also was part of an aggressive perimeter defense played by Lawrence that forced numerous turnovers and otherwise disturbed the efforts of opposing offenses to establish their rhythm.

Holmes, a 5-8 junior guard, was the top scorer in the Class A North tourney, averaging 25.7 points in three games while also a double-digit rebounder in each game. Brodeur, a 5-10 junior forward, averaged 14.3 points in the tournament while playing alongside Holmes.

Chadwick, a 5-6 junior guard, helped Gardiner reach the regional semifinals this year after moving up from Class B under the statewide expansion from four to five classes. She averaged 15 points per game during the Tigers’ tourney run.

Jacques was part of a balanced Edward Little attack that produced three double-figure scorers during the second-ranked Red Eddies’ 49-34 victory over No. 1 Oxford Hills of South Paris in the Class AA North championship game.

Jacques scored 13 points in that game and 15 during a semifinal victory over Lewiston, one of four Edward Little players to reach double figures in that contest.

She is joined on the BDN Class AA North girls all-tournament team by Edward Little teammates Jordyn Richards and Karli Stubbs, Tianna Sugars of Oxford Hills and Tasia Titherington of Deering of Portland.

Reynolds, a 6-foot junior center, led the way for coach Craig Jipson’s Edward Little club in the final with 17 points and combined with Jacques and Stubbs to give the Red Eddies a formidable front-line tandem throughout regional competition.

Like Jacques and Reynolds, Stubbs, a 5-9 senior forward, scored in double figures in each tournament game, including 11 points in the final.

Sugars, a junior center, was a versatile front-court force for Oxford Hills. Working both facing the basket from the perimeter and in the low post, she led the Vikings with 12 points in both the semifinals and the regional final.

Titherington, a 5-7 junior guard, led a youthful Deering team to the semifinals. She scored 16 points — including an 11-of-13 effort from the line — during a quarterfinal victory over Cheverus of Portland, then paced the Rams again with 15 points in their semifinal loss to Oxford Hills.

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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...