The Caribou High School Vikings celebrate their victory over Cape Elizabeth High School in the boys Class B state championship basketball game at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland in March 2019.

A celebration 50 years in the making

Five decades had passed since Caribou High School won a state championship in boys basketball. That came only after one of Maine’s most iconic sports moments — Mike Thurston’s 1969 buzzer-beater from beyond half-court.

When the Vikings got their chance in early March to end generations of frustration, their fans were ready. They made the 300-mile drive south to make it almost seem like a home game against Cape Elizabeth and 6-foot-9 center Andrew Hartel at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland.

When Caribou scored the only two points of the second overtime and a last-second shot by the Capers bounced off the rim, first-year coach Kyle Corrigan and his Vikings had a 49-47 victory, a Class B state title — and unleashed decades of pent-up emotion.

“It means everything for us to win this game, and not just for the players and the coaches,” Caribou’s top player, Parker Deprey, said. “We’ve had people who’ve lived their whole lives and not seen Caribou win the gold ball, so this feels great.”

— Ernie Clark

Credit: Gerry Broome | AP

A season for second chances fulfilled

Parise Rossignol made a painful decision after the 2015-2016 basketball season at the University of Maine. The former Bangor Daily News All-Maine pick, who scored 2,589 career points at Van Buren High School, walked away after two frustrating seasons riding the bench for head coach Richard Barron.

But Rossignol desperately missed the competition and the camaraderie. Last winter, she capped a triumphant, two-year comeback.

After being welcomed back for the 2017-2018 season by coach Amy Vachon, Rossignol was a key reserve who earned the America East Sixth Player Award. Last winter, she earned a starting spot and averaged 11.4 points and 3.7 rebounds on the way to being named to the All-America East second team.

Rossignol shot 45.2 percent from the floor and 42 percent from the 3-point arc to help UMaine win its second straight conference title and earn a second consecutive NCAA tournament berth.

Her second chance also developed into a new career as, upon completion of her senior season last March, Rossignol was hired as a full-time assistant coach at her alma mater.

— Larry Mahoney

Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik

‘She’s just part of the team’

For Karessa Anderson, playing football isn’t about breaking down barriers.

It’s simply about playing a sport she enjoys.

The 14-year-old from Eddington, who took up football as a middle-schooler, found herself in a rare position at the Class B level in Maine this fall — a ninth-grade girl starting at defensive end for Brewer High School.

The 5-foot-7, 145-pound Anderson, who played at tight end and defensive end one year earlier at Holbrook School, expected to play at the subvarsity level as a first-year high school player. But she suddenly was pressed into varsity duty during Week 3 when injuries left her atop the Brewer depth chart at defensive end.

She started the rest of the season, using her own athleticism and growing knowledge of the game to battle bigger, more experienced opponents.

“We don’t think of her as a female on the football team,” Brewer senior defensive lineman Damyan Greenlaw said. “She’s just part of the team.”

— Ernie Clark

Credit: Ernie Clark

Street driven to help Old Town-Orono win regional title

Nobody would have blamed defenseman Dylan Street for taking the rest of the hockey season off. The junior on the Old Town-Orono hockey team had just spent 2 1/2 weeks at Boston Children’s Hospital after developing an infection stemming from a rare illness called hydrocephalus.

The condition is an inflammation of the brain that can cause swelling and bleeding. It had slowed him, but hadn’t prevented him from playing baseball for Old Town High School and driving a stock car at Speedway 95 in Hermon.

Street, whose shunt to drain excess fluid from his brain into his stomach had become infected, needed it surgically replaced.

Despite being sidelined since Jan. 5, 2019, he returned to practice on Feb. 14. He slowly regained his game legs and provided some key minutes on defense during the Black Bears’ stretch run.

“It’s great to be back in a team environment with my buddies,” Street said upon his return.

His presence served as an inspiration to his teammates and Old Town-Orono responded by winning its second straight Class B North title.

— Larry Mahoney

Pete Warner

Pete graduated from Bangor High School in 1980 and earned a B.S. in Journalism (Advertising) from the University of Maine in 1986. He grew up fishing at his family's camp on Sebago Lake but didn't take...