Winthrop High School's Jillian Schemlzer guards Central Aroostook High School's Maci Beals as she looks to the hoop in the Maine Class C Girls championship basketball game at the Augusta Civic Center. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

Maci Beals led sixth-seeded Central Aroostook High School of Mars Hill to its first state championship in 38 years in 2020 when the Panthers beat Winthrop in the Class C championship game 67-61.

The tenacious guard will stay in eastern Maine for her collegiate career as she has decided to attend Husson University in Bangor next fall.

Husson coach Kissy Walker called Beals a resilient competitor.

“Her style fits in with our philosophy. She is capable of driving, shooting, transitioning and defending,” Walker said.

Beals was named the Class C North tournament’s Most Valuable Player and was a Bangor Daily News All-Maine Schoolgirl Basketball Team honorable mention.

The 5-foot-5 Beals, a four-year starter for the Panthers, averaged 14.2 points, 5.4 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game during the COVID-19-abbreviated 2020-21 season.

Beals rose to the occasion in big games, scoring 22 points in the Class C North championship game win over Stearns of Millinocket and 20 more in the state title game win over Winthrop despite being in foul trouble.

She will join a Husson program with a stable of guards from central and northern Maine. That group includes freshmen Trinity Montigny of Ellsworth, Katherine Alley of Stearns, Makaelyn Porter of Southern Aroostook in Dyer Brook, junior Sydney Allen of Central High in Corinth and senior Emma Alley of Stearns.

Central coach Dillon Kingsbury called Beals a “once in a lifetime type of player.”

Beals, who also is an All-Aroostook softball player, plans to study exercise science at Husson.