There is no question that the two catalysts for the first-time state champion Oceanside High School Mariners girls basketball team from Rockland have been freshman phenom Bailey Breen and junior sharpshooter Audrey Mackie.
But head coach Matt Breen, whose Mariners beat Hermon 31-28 in last Friday’s state Class B championship game at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor, will tell you that they are much more than a two-player team.
He said the players who supplement his daughter and Mackie have been “huge.”
“Anna [Kingsbury] and Ahlivia [Morris] have given us that senior leadership,” Breen said. “Anna has had a great season for us. She was our third-leading scorer throughout the season. [Emily] Sykes has stepped up and made huge shots in the tournament. And to be honest, [Abby] Waterman is a stud.”
Six-foot-three center Breen averaged 19.5 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocked shots during the regular season and 19.5 points per game in the four playoff games.
Guard Mackie averaged 18 points, four assists and four steals during the regular season and 13 points per game in the playoffs with a pair of 19-point outings.
But Mackie said the supplemental players mean “everything” to the team.
“It’s not just me and Bailey,” Mackie insisted. “Anybody on our team can get it done. It took every one of us to win it. Everyone can score. [Sykes] can knock down shots from anywhere. So can [Kingsbury]. They’re both great three-point shooters. [Morris] can come in and be feisty and get layups here and there, so can Aubrianna Hoose.”
The state championship game was an example of the importance of the Oceanside role players.
The Mariners triumphed despite the fact Breen was held to 12 points, 10 below her average in the Class B South Tournament, and Mackie was limited to eight, 6.7 ppg below her South tourney average.
Junior Sykes hit a three in the third quarter and two crucial free throws in a one-and-one situation with 24.1 seconds left to give Oceanside a 29-26 lead.
Morris had come off the bench and converted a layup off a Breen pass for the first points of the fourth quarter.
Waterman had four points and grabbed eight rebounds, dished out two assists and made two steals. It was a typical all-around game for the hard-working Waterman, who averaged eight points, 10 rebounds, three assists, four steals and two blocked shots during the regular season.
She averaged 11 points and 7.7 rebounds in the South tourney.
Sykes had four rebounds to go with her five points in the final and had a pair of nine-point games in the regional tournament.
“There have been games where everybody has stepped up and not just been a role player. We’re all comfortable with our roles on the team. There are no hard feelings,” Kingsbury said.
For Kingsbury and Morris, it was a terrific way to cap their careers, having spent their freshman and sophomore seasons watching the tournament after being eliminated in preliminary round games when Oceanside was in Class B North.
Oceanside had never won a regional title in girls basketball and neither had the two schools that merged into Oceanside: Rockland High and Georges Valley High of Thomaston.
The team did go undefeated and won the COVID championship last year and will take a 33-game winning streak into next season.
“It’s a really great feeling. I felt like part of the team. We all just worked together so well. It’s great to end the season with a win and not go home feeling sad and feeling I could have done more,” said Kingsbury, who admitted that she felt this team was capable of winning the state title at the outset of the season.
She was right, and the Mariners will be favorites to defend next year with all but two returning.