For Hampden Academy guard Nick Gilpin and Oxford Hills of South Paris forward Andrew Fleming, the basketball season didn’t end as they had hoped — in a state championship game this weekend.
But the two four-year fixtures on the high school scene, whose teams were both ousted in the regional semifinals, will share in the chance to win the state’s most coveted individual award in the sport after being named finalists for the title of Mr. Basketball on Tuesday afternoon.
Gilpin and Fleming are joined as Mr. Basketball finalists by Falmouth guard Thomas Coyne, who will be playing in a state final Saturday afternoon when the Yachtsmen face Oceanside of Rockland-Thomaston for the Class A crown at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland.
That game will be preceded at 1 p.m. by the Class A girls final that will feature two of the three Miss Basketball finalists in Nia Irving of Lawrence of Fairfield and Shannon Todd of York. The third Miss Basketball finalist, Maddie Hasson of South Portland, advanced her team to the Class AA South final before the Red Riots were ousted by undefeated Gorham.
Mr. and Miss Basketball will be announced during the Maine McDonald’s High School Senior All-Star Awards Banquet on Friday, March 11, at the Anah Shrine Hall in Bangor.
Criteria for the award, presented by the Maine Association of Basketball Coaches in conjunction with Maine McDonald’s owner-operators, is shown on the Maine Association of Basketball Coaches website:
“The Mister and Miss Basketball Award is presented each year to the senior player who has exhibited outstanding skills throughout his/her career, has made a significant impact on his/her team, has demonstrated respect for the game through leadership on and off the court, has epitomized the values of sportsmanship and has been a positive school and community citizen.”
Among the Mr. Basketball candidates, Coyne earned third-team Bangor Daily News All-Maine recognition as a sophomore before missing most of his junior year with a knee injury. The 5-foot-11 guard has returned this winter to lead Falmouth to a 17-4 record and a chance to win the second state crown of his high school career — the Yachtsmen won the 2013 Class B title.
The Bates College-bound Coyne was named the outstanding player-sportsman of the Class A South tourney.
Fleming, who has accepted an athletic scholarship to continue his playing career at the University of Maine next fall, averaged more than 30 points and 15 rebounds per game this winter. A third-team BDN All-Maine choice as a junior, he amassed more than 500 points as a senior while leading Oxford Hills to a 15-5 record and a berth in the Class AA semifinals.
The 6-6 forward scored 72 points en route to being named the tournament MVP, and finished as Oxford Hills’ career scoring leader with 1,397 points.
Gilpin concluded his four years at Hampden Academy with more than 1,000 points and 500 assists and nearly 500 rebounds for Hampden. The 6-3 guard helped the Broncos win three consecutive Eastern Maine titles and Class A state championships in 2013 and 2015 while compiling an 82-4 career record.
A first-team Bangor Daily News All-Maine choice last winter, the Bates College-bound Gilpin led the Broncos to an undefeated regular season and the Class A North semifinals this year.
Hasson, a third-team BDN All-Maine choice and first-team All-SMAA selection in 2015, is a four-year varsity player who led South Portland to the No. 3 seed in the final Class AA South standings this winter.
The Red Riots’ post player will attend Bowdoin College next fall.
Irving is a four-time Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A player of the year as well as a first-team BDN All-Maine first-team choice from last winter who will attempt to lead undefeated Lawrence to its second straight state championship. She is a two-time Class A regional tournament MVP as well as the state’s reigning girls basketball player of the year.
The 6-1 center, who has led Lawrence to 42 wins in its last 43 games, has accepted an athletic scholarship to play at Boston University next season.
Todd led York to an undefeated regular season and then was named most valuable player of the Class A South tournament as the Wildcats topped defending Class B state champion Greely of Cumberland Center in the regional final.
The versatile Todd received nine Division I scholarship offers before opting to attend Northeastern University in Boston next fall.