Two freshmen have earned spots on the 40th annual Bangor Daily News All-Maine Schoolgirl Basketball Team for the first time since the 2010-2011 season.
Greely High School of Cumberland Center guard Anna DeWolfe was selected as a second teamer, and Gorham High School center Mackenzie Holmes claimed a third-team spot. Catherine McAuley of Portland’s Allie Clement, and Van Buren’s Parise Rossignol earned third-team spots in 2011.
Miss Maine Basketball and two-time Gatorade Player of the Year Nia Irving from Lawrence in Fairfield headlines the first team along with fellow 2014-2015 first-team choice Emily Esposito from Gorham.
Accompanying senior Irving and junior Esposito on the first team are South Portland senior Maddie Hasson, York senior Shannon Todd and Houlton sophomore Kolleen Bouchard.
Hasson was a third-team pick a year ago, and Bouchard was on the second team.
Joining DeWolfe on the second team were seniors Emily Jacques from Edward Little in Auburn, Kelsey Shaw from Mount Desert Island, Dominique Lewis from Lawrence and Jess Willerson from Catherine McAuley of Portland.
Holmes is accompanied on the third team by Messalonskee of Oakland junior Sophie Holmes along with seniors Tianna Sugars from Oxford Hills of South Paris and Chloe Smedley from York and junior Alisha Aube from Westbrook.
The team is chosen via votes from coaches, administrators, media officials and observers.
Irving, a 6-1 forward-center who will continue her basketball career at Boston University, capped a remarkable 1,761-point, 1,206-rebound career by averaging 25.2 points, 20.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game for the two-time Class A North champion Bulldogs.
“She improved her footwork, upper body strength, jumping ability and mobility,” Lawrence coach John Donato said. “She has always had great hands, and she became even more of a dominant rebounder. She did everything we needed her to do.”
Messalonskee coach Keith Derosby said the two-time Class A North tournament MVP was “tenacious and she never stopped working.”
The 5-10 Esposito led Gorham to its first state title since 1999 by averaging 18.1 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.1 steals and 2.8 assists per game.
“She is such a great shooter. We had kids right on her, but she elevates so well,” said Edward Little coach Craig Jipson, who saw Esposito score 22 points to lead Gorham past his Red Eddies 46-36 in the state final.
“She’s is so athletic,” South Portland coach Lynne Hasson said. “She is hard to defend. She does a lot of things well. She’s a great ball-handler, she has good leaping ability and she is a solid defender.”
Todd, who stands 5-11 and is headed to Northeastern University, sparked York to a state title behind her 17 points, seven rebounds and three assists per game.
“She has great shooting range,” Donato said. “She can hit the outside shot and can also take the ball to the basket. She was a tough matchup for us.”
“She was a physical presence. She’s tough, and she has become a wonderful passer,” Greely coach Joel Rogers said.
The 5-11 Bowdon College-bound Hasson scored 21.7 points, grabbed 13.1 rebounds, made 4.3 steals and dished out 3.5 assists thanks to her off-season work in the weight room.
“She was bigger and stronger this year so when she got to the rim, even though she had people hanging off her, she was able to finish,” mother Lynne Hasson said.
“She could affect a game all kinds of different ways,” Gorham coach Laughn Berthiaume said. “She was a tremendous rebounder and could go rim-to-rim with the basketball.”
The dynamic 5-11 Bouchard led Houlton to the B state title after they won the C crown a year ago.
The Big East Player of the Year and two-time regional tourney MVP averaged 20.7 points, 9 rebounds, 4 blocked shots and 3.3 assists and had to take a more diversified role after standout power forward Katie Condon suffered a season-ending injury.
“You could play her anywhere, and she would play it well. She’s long. She has very high basketball intelligence and very good body control,” Houlton coach Shawn Graham said.
“She really carried her team,” John Bapst of Bangor coach Mike Webb added.
DeWolfe, a terrific ball-handler, averaged 20.4 points, 3.6 steals, 3.1 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game for Greely. The 5-6 guard capped her terrific freshman year with 30 points and five assists in a 66-56 loss to York in the regional final
“She had tremendous court awareness. I’ve never seen anyone play as close to Pete Maravich as Anna,” Rogers said. “She could shoot from four to 15 feet. She was a much better rebounder than anyone expected. She was unstoppable in the open court and she could shoot with both hands. Her defense away from the ball was outstanding.”
Stonehill College-bound Shaw, a 5-10 forward, averaged 17 points, 11 rebounds and 3 assists and had to assume more of an all-purpose role after high-scoring Sierra Tapley suffered a season-ending knee injury.
“She was phenomenal,” John Bapst of Bangor coach Mike Webb said.
“She has always been a very good rebounder, but she also had to handle the ball for us and she did a great job of that,” MDI coach Brent Barker said.
Edward Little’s Jacques, who will attend Springfield College, was good for 15.6 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game.
“She took her game to another level,” Jipson said. “She had a great year and carried us to our first state championship game appearance ever. She was a huge key defensively.”
“She was a prototypical college player,” Oxford Hills of South Paris coach Nate Pelletier said. “She was a 6-footer who could handle the ball and could score. She was very athletic.”
Jacques and Sugars were the Class AA North Co-Players of the Year.
Dynamic 5-5 point guard Lewis led the KVAC in 3-pointers with 63 and in assists with 5.4 per game. She also averaged 15.1 points and did an outstanding job getting the ball inside to Irving.
“She makes passes a lot of other kids can’t,” Derosby said.
The 6-2 Willerson, who will attend Cornell University, was a prolific scorer (18.3 pg) and rebounder (8.3 rpg), but she also transformed herself into a top-notch defender, according to McAuley coach Bill Goodman.
“She got in great shape during the off-season. She had the ability to alter shots,” Goodman said.
“She’s a good shooter, and she’s versatile,” Berthiaume said.
Smedley had an outstanding season for York with 13.7 ppg and 7.1 rpg.
“I thought she was, by far, the most underrated player in the state,” Greely’s Rogers said. “She was one of the best pure shooters around.”
The 6-1 Sugars’ 13 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists per game and shot-blocking proficiency led Oxford Hills.
“She improved tremendously in her four years,” Pelletier said. “She averaged close to 17 rebounds in our last eight games. And for her size and skill set, she was a very good ball-handler.”
Sophie Holmes, a 5-8 guard, averaged 20.8 ppg, 11 rpg, 3 steals, 2 assists and 2 blocks for Messalonskee. She averaged 25.7 points and double-digit rebounds in earning Class A North tourney honors.
“She could play anywhere. She has great hands, she’s much stronger than she had been and she is a very good on-ball defender,” Derosby said.
The 6-foot Aube averaged 18 ppg, 5.1 rpg and 2.9 apg.
“She can score inside and outside and has gotten better at getting her teammates involved,” Chris Aube, her uncle and coach, said. “She has a good mid-range jumper, and she has become more physical.”
Mackenzie Holmes, a 6-2 center, gave the Rams an impressive inside presence, averaging 14.7 ppg and 9.1 rpg while blocking 3.3 shots.
“She is relentless on the boards, she’ll run rim to rim and she has very good feet and hands,” Berthiaume said.