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A look back at past all stars

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: March 20th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

A look back at past all stars
The Courier-Gazette
By Mark Haskell
For the past 30 years, The Courier-Gazette has compiled a list of what its sport department feels are the most deserving players in the Midcoast. At the end of each sports season the paper has honored them as Courier-Gazette All Stars.

    A whopping 566 all-star awards have been doled out during the past three decades. As this year marks the 30th anniversary of the boys basketball all-stars, The Courier-Gazette has chosen to reprint the all-star selections from the past 30 winter sports seasons.

    While the selection process was done differently at times during the past three decades, the one thing that remains constant is the rigorous amount of time spent by the C-G sports department in pronouncing a worthy candidate. Students from Rockland District, Camden Hills (Rockport) Regional, Georges Valley (Thomaston), Medomak Valley, North Haven, Vinalhaven and Islesboro high schools, as well as Lincoln Academy (Newcastle) and Glen Cove Christian Academy are among the schools to have CG All Stars through the years.

    From 1987 to 1995, the C-G All Stars were split into separate teams for the annual Courier Gazette All-Star Games. The games were suspended after the 1995 season.

    The following is a look back chronologically at The Courier-Gazette All-Stars for the past 29 seasons. The 30th edition all stars are listed in a separate story.

    1978/79 — First Team: Scott Johnson of GVHS; Mike Shaffer of RDHS; Dwayne Sanborn of Vinalhaven; and Mark Crockett and Frank McGrady of MVHS.

    Second Team: Ed Swan of GCCA; Mark Jones and Toby Benner of MVHS; Richard Gross of CRHS; and Casey Morrill of RDHS.

    Honorable Mention: Jim LaHaye of MVHS; David Doughty of Vinalhaven; Dave Bickford and Tim Richards of RDHS; Dana Nickless of GCCA; and Mark Hopkins and Arnold Adams of North Haven.

    1979/80 — First Team: Mark Jones, Henry Bither and Bobby Cogan of MVHS; and Dave Bickford of RDHS.

    Second Team: Jim LaHaye of MVHS; Shawn Chilles of Vinalhaven; Deerin Brott of CRHS; and Tim Richards and Casey Morrill of RDHS.

    Honorable Mention: Dave Witham, Karl Pitcher and Mark Begley of MVHS; Jay Carlsen and David Doughty of Vinalhaven; Scott Johnson of GVHS; Terry Lawry of RDHS; and Mark Hopkins and Arnold Adams of North Haven.

    1980/81 — First Team: Mark Begley and Robbie Barter of MVHS; Scott Johnson of GVHS; and Randy Hooper and Terry Lawry of RDHS.

    Second Team: Hank Davidson of Vinalhaven; Kelly Thorndike and Ricky Robinson of GVHS; and Mike Sprowl and Dave Witham of MVHS.

    Honorable Mention: Mike Standel of RDHS; Jimmy Clark of GVHS; Steve Alex of CRHS; Dennis Warren of Vinalhaven; and David Waterman of North Haven.

    1981/82 — First Team: Paul Hendricks and Mike Standel of RDHS; Nick DePatsy and Steve Heintz of MVHS; and Scott Johnson and Kelly Thorndike of GVHS.

    Second Team: Ricky Robinson of GVHS; Dave Stevens of RDHS; Seamus McGrady of MVHS; Jeff Hall of CRHS; and Shaun Cooper and Brian Osgood of Vinalhaven.

    Honorable Mention: Dewey Sanborn and Hollis Hopkins of Vinalhaven; Steve Alex of CRHS; Jim Clark of GVHS; David Waterman of North Haven; and Mike Sprowl of MVHS.

    1982/83 — First Team: Seamus McGrady and John Cousins of MVHS; Jim Clark of GVHS; Shaun Cooper of North Haven; and Will Gartley of CRHS.

    Second Team: Mike Sprowl of MVHS; Bill Robinson and John McMillian of GVHS; Kurt Drinkwater of CRHS; and Kevin Allen of RDHS.

    Honorable Mention: Todd Eaton and Mont Conway of Vinalhaven; Jake Barbour and Scott Winstead of RDHS; and Steve Philbrook and Barry Farley of MVHS.

    1983/84 — First Team: Jim Clark and John McMillan of GVHS; Paul McFarland of CRHS; Shaun Cooper of North Haven; Billy Robinson of GVHS; and John Cousins of MVHS.

    Second Team: Kevin Allen of RDHS; Tim King of GVHS; Kurt Drinkwater of CRHS; and Steve Philbrook and Tim Andrews of MVHS.

    Honorable Mention: Trevor Chaney  and Tom Luttrell of RDHS; Darryl Townsend of GVHS; Roman Cooper of North Haven; Matt Conway of Vinalhaven; Tim Abbleby and Dan Littlefield of CRHS; and Mike Moore of MVHS.

    1984/85 — First Team: Kevin Allen and Trevor Chaney of RDHS, Tim Andrews of MVHS; Mont Conway of Vinalhaven; and Tim King, Mike Nelson and Darryl Townsend of GVHS.

    Second Team: Roman Cooper of North Haven; Ernie Kavanaugh and John Post of RDHS; Dan Littlefield of CRHS; Victor McGrady of MVHS; Travis Thorbjornson of GVHS; and Matt Slivinski of Vinalhaven.

    Honorable Mention: Raymond Alley of Vinalhaven; Tim Appleby of CRHS; Dan Gargan of RDHS; David Hildings of Vinalhaven; Mike Moore and Jeff Spear of MVHS; and Craig Strong of GVHS.

    1985/86 — First Team: Ernie Kavanaugh and John Post of RDHS; Victor McGrady of MVHS; Roman Cooper of North Haven; and Stephen Cox of CRHS.

    Second Team: Dan Gargan of RDHS; Rick Stumm and Peter McFarland of CRHS; Raymond Alley of Vinalhaven; and Scott Robinson of GVHS.

    Honorable Mention: Pat Mellor, Chuck Adams and Per Hendrickson of GVHS; Corey Fogarty, Steve Malcolm and Kevin Lutrell of RDHS; Don Osier and Phillip Cohen of MVHS; Tim Beverage of North Haven; and Tex Oakes of Vinalhaven.

    1986/87 — North All-Stars: Ernie Kavanaugh, Peter Keller, Dan Gargan, Corey Fogarty and Kevin Luttrell of RDHS; Rick Stumm, Steve Butler, Tom Fifield and Jamie Bourget of CRHS; and Tim Beverage of North Haven.

    South All-Stars: Raymond Alley, Tex Oakes and Robert James of Vinalhaven; Scott Murray, Jim Wyman, Dwayne Neubig and Phillip Cohen of MVHS; and Pat Mellor, Clint Elliot and Per Hendrickson of GVHS.

    1987/88 — North All-Stars: Raymond Alley and Robert James of Vinalhaven; Tom Fifield of CRHS; and Dwayne Knowlton and Rich Mazurek of RDHS.

    North All-Star Reserves: Sean Kalloch and Eric Jackomino of RDHS; Dennis Wellert, Jon Berry and Skip Freeman of CRHS; Jeff Osgood of Vinalhaven; and Kevin Durkee of Islesboro.

    South All-Stars: Bob Culler and Clint Elliot and GVHS; Dominic DePatsy of MVHS; and Chris McKenney and Kyle O’Bryan of LA.

    South All-Star Reserves: Brandon Erickson and Peter Mitchell of GVHS; Michael Cohen, Matt Moody and Tyler Worden of MVHS; and Ryan Gleason and Sean Bailey of LA.

    1988/89 — North All-Stars: Raymond Alley and Robert James of Vinalhaven; Tom Fifield of CRHS; and Dwayne Knowlton and Rich Mazurek of RDHS.

    North All-Star Reserves: Todd Drinkwater and Mike Freeman of CRHS; and Eric Jackomino, Todd LeBlanc and Woody Woodbury of RDHS.

    South All-Stars: Dominic DePatsy and Matt Moody of MVHS; Chris McKenney and Kyle O’Bryan of LA; and Greg Young of GVHS.

    South All-Star Reserves: Michael Cohen and Kevin Bryant of MVHS; Bob Culler, Clint Elliot and Brandon Erickson of GVHS; and Josh Sprague of North Haven.

    1989/90 — North All-Stars: Todd Drinkwater and Mike Freeman of CRHS; and Sean Kalloch, Rich Mazurek and Tim Mooney of RDHS.

    North All-Star Reserves: Dwayne Davis of Vinalhaven; Matt Graf of Islesboro; Tom Mannig of CRHS; and Lincoln McRae and Jesse Smith of RDHS.

     South All-Stars: Chris Jameson of North Haven; and Wes Daggett, Tim Stinson, Bob Strong and Butch Taylor of GVHS.

    South All-Star Reserves: Chuck Clark of MVHS; John Petersdorf of GVHS; and Justin Day, Jason McKenney and Darren York of LA.

    1990/91 — North All-Stars: TJ Hoffman and Todd Shaw of CRHS; Mike Johnson of Vinalhaven, Seth Wilbur of Islesboro; and Jeff Woodman of RDHS.

    North All-Star Reserves: Aaron Crossman and Mark Fishman of RDHS; Brett Hayward and Doug Teel of CRHS; and Trapper Standish of Islesboro.

    South All-Stars: Matt Cousins, Justin Day and Jason McKenney of LA; Michael Roy of MVHS; and Bob Strong of GVHS.

    South All-Star Reserves: Mike Anderson of LA; Rob Dostie  and Cody Wyman of MVHS; Chip Robinson of GVHS; and Michael Staples of North Haven.

    1991/92 — North All-Stars: Mark Fishman, Jim Montgomery and Jeff Woodman of RDHS; TJ Hoffman of CRHS; and Chris Radley of Vinalhaven.

    North All-Star Reserves: Erik Carlson, Shane LeBlanc and Mike Norton of RDHS; Kyle Genevicz of Vinalhaven; Nathan Quinn of North Haven; and Jaime Weir of CRHS.

    South All-Stars: Rob Dostie and Josh Nash of MVHS; Josh Hatch of LA; and Ian Saastomolen, Myles Standish and Seth Wilbur of Islesboro.

    South All-Star Reserves: Nate Cook and Albert Hooper of LA; Jacob Emerson and Troy Smith of MVHS; Matt Mackie of GVHS.

    1992/93 — North All-Stars: Mark Fishman and Mike Norton of RDHS; Mike Geisler and Corey Staples of CRHS; and Kyle Genevicz of Vinalhaven.

    North All-Star Reserves: Sam Bickford of Vinalhaven; Zach Conover and Jesse Day of Islesboro; and Matt Cook, Nathan Gilbert and Jaime Weir of CRHS.

    South All-Stars: Matt Lash, Tyler Lupien, Greg Miller and Josh Nash of MVHS; and Matt Mackie of GVHS.

    South All-Star Reserves: Elisha Brown of North Haven; Jim Wood of GVHS; Albert Hooper and Ben Kelsey of LA; and Shawn Reed and Troy Smith of MVHS.

    1993/94 — North All-Stars: Kyle Genevicz of Vinalhaven; Mike Norton of RDHS; and Mike Geisler, Dale Landrith and Corey Staples of CRHS.

    North All-Star Reserves: Sam Bickford of Vinalhaven; Zach Conover and Jesse Day of Islesboro; Ben Laukka of CRHS; and Jamie York of RDHS.

    South All-Stars: Justin Drake of LA; Garrett Hilchey and Matt Mackie of GVHS; and Greg Miller and Josh Nash of MVHS.

    South All-Star Reserves: Dan Jacques of GVHS; Brock Moholland of LA; Kevin Reed and Jason Witham of MVHS; and Jeremiah MacDonald of North Haven.

    1994/95 — North All-Stars: Justin Drake of LA; Daren Fields of MVHS; Garrett Hilchey of GVHS; and Josh Nash and Kevin Reed of MVHS.

    North All-Star Reserves: Ian MacKenzie, Nathan Travers and Matt Weatherwax of CRHS; Bruce Phillip of Vinalhaven; and Chris Seavey of RDHS.

    South All-Stars: Justin Drake of LA; Garrett Hilchey of GVHS; and Daren Fields, Josh Nash and Kevin Reed of MVHS.

    South All-Star Reserves: Cory Benner and Tim Spear of MVHS; Jeremiah MacDonald of North Haven; Brock Moholland of LA; and Toby Stinson of GVHS.

    1995/96 — First Team: Matt Breen and Cam Brown of RDHS; Daren Fields of GVHS; Peter Masin-Peters of CRHS; and Bruce Philip of Vinalhaven.

    Second Team: Josh Conover of Islesboro; Chris Jones and Jeremy Nash of MVHS; Jon Masin-Peters of CRHS; and Matt McNealy of RDHS.

    Third Team: Matt Magnusson and Dan Morse of GVHS; Colby Oakes of Vinalhaven; and Nathan Travers of CRHS.

    Honorable Mention: Wesley Chilles of Vinalhaven, Miah Cook, Jeff Libby and Mike Tolman of RDHS; Ben Luce of CRHS; and Dragoljub Fidancev of MVHS.

    1996/97 — First Team: Matt Breen of RDHS; Nick Callanan of CRHS; Matt Magnusson of GVHS; and Chris Jones and Jeremy Nash of MVHS.

    Second Team: Jon Moro and Jim Wilson of CRHS; Aric Odone of GVHS; Travis Reynolds of RDHS and Jacob Thompson of Vinalhaven.

    Third Team: Max Leighton of CRHS; Mike Philbrook and Jeff Ward of MVHS; Ben Sparhawk of North Haven; and TJ Shorey of RDHS.

    1997/98 — First Team: Matt Wall of RDHS; Jon Masin-Peters and Jim Wilson of RDHS; Matt Magnusson of GVHS; and Joe Kay of MVHS.

    Second Team: Zach Andrei and Chris Jones of MVHS; Tim Marden of CRHS; Travis Reynolds of RDHS; and Jacob Thompson of Vinalhaven.

    Third team: Jon Moro, Tory King and Nathan Neville of CRHS; Lysha Smith of GVHS; and Jeremy Nash of MVHS.

    Honorable Mention: John O’Dell and Don Williams of RDHS; Mike MacDonald and Zach Rogers of CRHS; and Jon Spear of MVHS.

    1998/99 — First Team: Tory King, Mike MacDonald and Jim Wilson of CRHS; Joe Kay of MVHS; and Jim Stewart of RDHS.

    Second Team: Travis Magnusson of Lysha Smith of GVHS; Jon Moro of CRHS; and Matt Wall and Don Williams of RDHS.

    Third Team: Jeremiah LaBree of RDHS; Corey Guilford of GVHS; Wes Crockett of MVHS; and Tim Marden and Nathan Neville of CRHS.

    Honorable Mention: John O’Dell and Colby Grindle of RDHS; Brent Curtis of MVHS; Murray Thompson of Vinalhaven; and Noah Davisson of North Haven.

    1999/2000 — First Team: Jeremiah LaBree of RDHS; Kyle Benner of MVHS; Mike MacDonald and John Knutson of RDHS; and Travis Magnusson of MVHS.

    Second Team: John O’Dell of RDHS; Brian Fitzpatrick and Zac McIntyre of CRHS; and Mike Irons and Dusty Starr of MVHS.

    Third Team: Wes Crockett of MVHS; Noah Davisson of North Haven; Sam Schmonsees of GVHS; and Murray Thompson and Joseph Pratt of Vinalhaven.

    Honorable Mention: Ben Marshall of CRHS; Adam Alexander of North Haven; Anthony Lufkin of MVHS; Ryan Taylor of GVHS; and Greg Harjula of RDHS.

    2000/01 — First Team: Travis Magnusson of RDHS; Greg Harjula of RDHS; Brian Fitzpatrick and John Knutson of CHRHS; and Dusty Starr of MVHS.

    Second Team: Wes Crockett and Anthony Lufkin of MVHS; Sam Schmonsees and AJ Staples of GVHS; and Tyler Warren of CHRHS.

    Third Team: Chad Benner of MVHS; Noah Davisson of North Haven; Casey Kenniston of RDHS; Joseph Pratt of Vinalhaven; and Nick Wilson of CHRHS.

    Honorable Mention: Todd Curtis and Jake LaBree of RDHS; and Abe Dugal, Grant Lippman and Zac McIntyre of CHRHS.

    2001/02 — First Team: Casey Kenniston of RDHS; Chad Benner of MVHS; Travis Magnusson of GVHS; and Troy Gabrielle and Tyler Warren of CHRHS.

    Second Team: Todd Curtis of RDHS; Sam Schmonsees of GVHS; and Grant Lippman, Peter Moro and Tim Stammen of CHRHS.

    Third Team: Jon Burns and Eric Rytky of MVHS; Brett Hutchinson of GVHS; Wade Oliver of RDHS; and Josh Doughty of Vinalhaven.

    Honorable Mention: Casey Brown and Jake LaBree of RDHS; Will Dennen of CHRHS; James Havener of MVHS; and Ryan Lantagne of North Haven.

    2002/03 — First Team: James Havener of MVHS; Wade Oliver of RDHS; Brett Hutchinson of GVHS; and Greg Stammen and Tim Stammen of CHRHS.

    Second Team: Casey Brown of RDHS; Jamey Davis of CHRHS; Justin Rice of MVHS; and AJ Staples and David Wilgus of GVHS.

    Third Team: Mike Boetsch of MVHS; Alex Curtis of North Haven; Greg Crupi of CHRHS; Shawn Hiller of GVHS; and Mike Worcester of RDHS.

    Honorable Mention: Aaron Creamer of RDHS; Daron Massey of CHRHS; Josh Miller of Vinalhaven; and James Parlin and Jestin Turffs of MVHS.

    2003/04 —First-team: Brett Hutchinson and A.J. Staples of Georges Valley; Greg Crupi of Rockland; and  Jamey Davis and Tim Stammen of Camden Hills.

    Second team: Mike Boetsch and Justin Rice of Medomak Valley; David Wilgus of Georges Valley; Wade Oliver of Rockland; and Will Horn of Camden Hills.

    Third team: Ryan Fitzgerald of Camden Hills; Ryan Holbrook of Georges Valley; Josh Miller and Josh Doughty of Vinalhaven; and Ryan Lantagne of North Haven.

    2004/05 —First team: Tim Stammen and Jamey Davis of Camden Hills; Wade Oliver and Ben Baudanza-Sturks of Rockland; and Matt MacKenzie of Medomak Valley.

    Second team: Max Johanson of Georges Valley; Will Horn and Nick Tedford of Camden Hills; Adam Mauro of Medomak Valley; and Ansel Orne of  North Haven.

    Third team: Cameron Puls and David Pike of Camden Hills; Randy Pitts of Vinalhaven; Andy Ferrier of Medomak Valley; and Matt Judkins of Georges Valley.

    2005/06 — First team: Ben Baudanza-Sturks of Rockland; Cameron Puls of Camden Hills; Todd Cousins of Georges Valley; Matt MacKenzie of Medomak Valleyl and Ben Lovell of North Haven.

    Second team: Brian Walton of Rockland, Gordon Fischer of Camden Hills, Nate Frisbie of Georges Valley and Zach Armstrong and Andy Ferrier of Medomak Valley.

    Third team: John Coppola of Rockland; Christian Pieri of Camden Hills; Ansel Orne and Jesse Davisson of North Haven; and Randy Pitts of Vinalhaven.

    2006/07 —First team: Gordon Fischer and Christian Pieri of Camden Hills; Colin O'Donnell and Zach Durkee of Medomak Valley; and Nate Frisbie of Georges Valley.

    Second team: Garrett Worster and Nick Baudanza of Rockland; Paul Draper of Camden Hills; Brandon Staples of Georges Valley; and Justin Ames of Medomak Valley.

    Third team: Teel Ilvonen and Brian Walton of Rockland; Nick Wootton and Paul Campbell of Camden Hills; and Chris Eustis of Georges Valley.

30th edition of boys basketball all stars unveiled

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: March 20th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

30th edition of boys basketball all stars unveiled
The Courier-Gazette
By Joseph Cyr

For 30 seasons, The Courier-Gazette has had the privilege of honoring local schoolboy basketball players by naming them to the newspaper’s all-star team. There have been hundreds of student athletes honored over the years. (See accompanying story for a look back at all 30 years of all-stars.) And while the process has evolved, one thing has remained constant, saluting the best players in the Midcoast is an honor for the newspaper.

Again this season, the newspaper has selected 15 student athletes to receive recognition. The selections are equally distributed by first-, second- and third-team honors.

Camden Hills has five all stars, while Rockland has four, Georges Valley three, Medomak Valley two and Vinalhaven one.

The first-team all stars are: Camden Hills’ Gordon Fischer and Paul Campbell; Georges Valley’s Trevor Wilson; Rockland’s Chris Nolan; and Medomak Valley’s Alex Goldrup.

The second-team all stars are: Camden Hills’ Christian Pieri; Georges Valley’s Chris Eustis; Rockland’s Nick Baudanza and Teel Ilvonen; and Medomak Valley’s Alex MacKenzie.

The third-team all stars are: Camden Hills’ Keifer Lammi and Graham Safford; Georges Valley’s Brandon Staples; Rockland’s Tyler Patterson; and Vinalhaven’s Keith Drury.

The all stars feature a healthy mixture of seniors and underclassmen. Pieri, Campbell, Eustis, Wilson, Staples are seniors; Baudanza, Ilvonen, Patterson, Fischer, Goldrup and Drury are juniors; MacKenzie and Nolan are sophomores; and Safford is a freshman.

Selecting which athletes will receive all-star recognition is an arduous process. It is often difficult to compare players on Class B squads to those on C and D, mostly because the level of competition varies with each classification.

Only those players from The Courier-Gazette’s coverage area of Medomak Valley, Georges Valley, Rockland District, Camden Hills Regional, North Haven and Vinalhaven high schools are considered.

Players are nominated by their coaches: Rockland's Matt Breen, Camden Hills' Jeff Hart, Medomak Valley's Nick DePatsy, Georges Valley’s Lysha Smith and Vinalhaven's Matt Slivinsky. North Haven did not have a boys basketball team for the second straight season.

The nominations are reviewed by the newspaper’s sports department of Sports Editor Joseph Cyr and sports reporter Mark Haskell. The sports department makes the final determination on which athletes are chosen and what team they will make.

A student-athlete cannot achieve all-star status if he were ineligible for his team during the regular or postseason for violating school policies, such as academics or drug and alcohol violations. If injured, an athlete must have played in at least half of his team's games to be considered.

Often times more players are nominated than are selected.

Camden Hills was once again one of the elite squads in the Midcoast, advancing to the Eastern Class B championship game. The Windjammers finished 17-1 in the regular season (21-2 overall) and were the No. 3 seed in Eastern Class B. The only two losses on the year were to No. 1 Maranacook.

Camden Hills beat the eventual state champion Black Bears 79-73 in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B championship. The Windjammers had a solid postseason, beating No. 14 Hermon 82-71 in the preliminary round; besting No. 11 John Bapst 73-35 in the quarterfinals; defeating No. 2 Presque Isle 61-60 in overtime in the semifinals; before falling to No. 1 Maranacook 84-72 in the regional championship.

Rockland also had a sensational season, compiling a 12-6 regular season record (13-7 overall), which was good enough for the eighth seed in Eastern Class B. The Tigers beat No. 9 Gardiner 59-57 in the preliminary round with a thrilling game decided by a buzzer-beater. Rockland then gave No. 1 Maranacook more than it bargained for, but ultimately fell 59-57 to the Black Bears. It marked Rockland’s first appearance at the Bangor Auditorium since 2000.

Medomak Valley, in the first-year of coach DePatsy’s tenure with the team, finished an impressive 10-8 in the regular season and was ranked 10th in Eastern Class B. The Panthers finished 11-9 overall, after beating No. 7 Mount Desert Island 55-49 in a preliminary round and losing to No. 2 Presque Isle 56-51 in the semifinals.

Georges Valley finished 9-9 during the regular season and was ranked 13th in Western Class C. The Buccaneers finished 9-10 overall, after losing to No. 4 Boothbay 62-40 in a preliminary playoff game.

Vinalhaven finished 4-12 in Western Class D and did not make the postseason.

The following is an alphabetical breakdown of the first, second and third teams.

First team

Campbell, a 6-2 guard, is a two-time C-G all star. An exceptional defender, Campbell was one of the team’s leaders on and off the court. According to his coach, Campbell was “willing to do whatever we needed to win.”

Capable of shooting the trey, penetrating the lane or dishing the ball to open teammates, Campbell was the consummate team player.

He averaged 12.3 points per game during the regular season, which was fourth best in the Midcoast. He totaled 221 regular season points and finished the season with 269 total points, including the playoffs.

Campbell also averaged four assists and four steals per game. He had single-game highs of 23, 18 (twice), 16, and 15.

Last season, Campbell tallied 175 points during the regular season (9.7 average), which ranked him 12th in the Midcoast. Including the playoffs, he netted 230 points. He had single-game highs of 21,19, and 18. He also averaged 3.4 assists and 3.2 steals.

Fischer, a 6-5 center, was one of the best all-around players for the Windjammers, and yet was probably the most unselfish member of the team, according to his coach.

Capable of taking the ball inside or drilling the shot from the perimeter, Fischer often gave opponents fits with his diversity on the court.

Fischer averaged 12.8 points during the regular season, which ranked him third in the Midcoast. He finished with 231 regular season points and 280 points including the playoffs. He also averaged eight rebounds. He had single-game highs of 22, 21, 20 and 19 and scored in double figures in 14 of 18 regular-season games.

As a sophomore, Fischer continued his maturation on the basketball court. One of several key cogs of the Windjammers, Fischer tallied 266 points during the regular season (14.8 average), which ranked him second among all Midcoast boys. He had single-game highs of 25, 20 (3 times) and 19 (twice) and averaged 9.9 rebounds a game.

During the postseason, he tallied 47 points, including 20 points during the KVAC championship game. Therefore, his final season tally is 313 points.

As a freshman, Fischer had a marvelous first season with the Windjammers, making an immediate splash on an already talented Camden Hills squad. He scored 162 points during the regular season (9 per game), which ranked him second on the Windjammers and 11th in the Midcoast. Including the playoffs, Fischer tallied 172 points. He also averaged 4.4 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game, and shot 49.5 percent from floor and a whopping 75 percent from the foul line. Fischer had single-game highs of 21, 17 and 15 during the season. In the playoffs, he tallied 10 points in the preliminary round.

In three seasons, he has compiled an impressive 765 points.

Goldrup, a 5-10 guard, was the complete package for the Panthers in his junior season. A perfect combination of quickness and agility, Goldrup became the focal point for the Panthers, with the bulk of the offense flowing through him on a nightly basis.

Not one to shy away from taking a shot in a clutch situation, Goldrup led the Midcoast in scoring with his 14.9 points per game average. He tallied 268 regular season points and finished with 320 overall points.

One of the best rebounders from the guard position, Goldrup also averaged 6.6 rebounds per game (second best on the team). He led the Panthers in steals (2.6) and assists (3.0) and shot 67 percent from the foul line.

Goldrup had single-game highs of 23, 21 (twice) and 20, but his best efforts came in the postseason, when he scored 22 points in the preliminary win over MDI and dropped a season-high 30 in the quarterfinal loss to Presque Isle.

Nolan, a 5-8 guard, had a sensational sophomore season for Rockland as he filled the role of point guard, floor general and was the team’s leading scorer.

Nolan averaged 12.2 points (fifth best in the Midcoast), 2.5 assists and two rebounds per game, proving to be one of the most complete players on the Tigers’ roster this season.

Blessed with amazing footwork and a quick first step off the dribble, Nolan burned many opponents who came out to guard him by streaking to the baseline for an uncontested layup.

He scored 219 points during the regular season and finished with 236 total points. Nolan had single-game highs of 26, 24, 18 and 16, while in the playoffs, he netted 12 in the Tigers’ preliminary-round game.

Wilson, a 6-3 forward, was one of the hardest working players for the Buccaneers this season. A supporting player a year ago, Wilson was thrust into the spotlight as the Bucs full-time center and the big man heeded the challenge. At times, Wilson simply dominated inside the paint, resulting in three games in which he tallied more than 20 points and had 10 rebounds. He also finished the season with four consecutive “double-double” in points and rebounding.

Wilson averaged 13.9 points (second-best in the Midcoast), 8.3 rebounds (team high), 2.2 assists, and 1.6 steals for the Buccaneers. He also shot 40 percent from the floor and 59 percent from the free throw line.

He tallied 251 regular season points and finished with 264 total points, including the playoffs. Wilson had single-game highs of 27, 25, 22 and 19 (twice).

Second team

Baudanza, a 6-0 guard, brought solid veteran leadership to the Tigers in his junior season. A rugged athlete, capable of playing much larger than his 6-foot frame, Baudanza led the team in rebounding with an average of seven boards per game. He also averaged 10.5 points (ninth best in the Midcoast).

Baudanza netted 189 regular season points. He had single-game highs of 22, 17, 16 and 15.

Last year, Baudanza was one of several sophomore sensations for the Tigers. He had one of the hottest starts of any player in the Midcoast as he dropped 31 points in the season opener. He finished the season with 246 points (13.7 average), which ranked him fourth in the Midcoast. Baudanza also netted 28, 26 and 23 points in various games during the season and averaged five rebounds per game.

Eustis, 6-0 guard, is a two-time C-G all star who continued to elevate his game. One of the most reliable ball-handlers in the Midcoast, Eustis was voted team MVP for his contributions on the floor.

Equally proficient at taking the ball to the hole or dishing it to an open teammate, Eustis averaged 11.8 points (seventh best in the Midcoast), 4.1 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 2.9 steals. He tallied 213 regular-season points and had 228 overall. He had single-game highs of 19, 18 (twice) 16 and 15.

He shot 38 percent from the floor and an impressive 68 percent from the foul line. His free-throw shooting of 84 for 123 was tops in the MVC.

As a junior, Eustis had a scary start to his season when he suffered a neck injury during a preseason game. After missing the first three games of the season, he returned to action and assumed the duties of starting point guard and ball handler for the Bucs.

Eustis tallied 95 points on the season (6.3 average), but more importantly he distributed the ball extremely well, as evidenced by his 5.1 assists per game average. He also had a whopping 16 assists in one game against Wiscasset.

Ilvonen, a 5-10 guard, is a two-time C-G all star with exceptional quickness and a silky smooth jump shot. He averaged 9.2 points (12th best in the Midcoast), five rebounds, 3.5 assists and two steals per game. Ilvonen netted 165 regular-season points and finished with 190 overall.

He had single-game highs of 22, 18 and 15. At Bangor in the quarterfinal round, he had one of his best games, tossing in 20 points in the loss to Maranacook.

Last year, Ilvonen burst onto the Midcoast varsity scene as a sophomore with the Tigers, netting 16 points in the season opener. Ilvonen tallied 177 points (9.8) during the regular season. He also averaged 9.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals. Ilvonen had single-game highs of 24, 19 and 18.

MacKenzie, a 6-2 forward, was the second-leading scorer for the Panthers in his first full varsity season, as he continued to grow both in size and ability on the court. He averaged 11.1 points (eighth best in the Midcoast), led his team in rebounding with 8.1 caroms per game and also led the team in blocks with 14.

He finished with 200 regular-season points and 228 points, including the postseason. MacKenzie had single-game highs of 24, 18, 14 and 13 (twice).

According to his coach, MacKenzie has great hands around the basket and his footwork improved dramatically as the season progressed.

Pieri, a 6-1 guard, is a three-time C-G all star and was one of the quickest guards in the backcourt in the state, according to his coach. A fierce competitor, Pieri seems to play his best in big games.

He averaged 9.9 points per game, which ranked him 10th in the Midcoast and added four assists per game. He scored 179 regular-season points and 240 overall. He had single-game highs of 16, 15, 12 and 11 (twice). In the postseason, he had a season-high 18 points in the KVAC championship game.

In his junior season, Pieri improved by leaps and bounds. When a tough basket was needed, it was usually Pieri who answered the call. He tallied 188 regular-season points (10.4 average), which ranked him ninth in the Midcoast. He finished with 244 points overall and averaged 4.2 assists and 3.3 steals.

He had single-game highs of 16 (twice) and 15 (three times). He led the Windjammers in scoring during the postseason with 56 points, including 16 in the quarterfinal round.

As a sophomore, Pieri showed tremendous poise on the court. He finished with 155 points (8.6 per game) during the regular season, which ranked him 14th in the Midcoast. He finished with 170 points overall.

Pieri also averaged 3.1 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.1 steals, while shooting 49.1 percent from the floor and 68.3 percent from the foul line.

He had single-game highs of 16, 15, 12 and 11 (four times). In the postseason, his 15-point effort in the preliminary round was tops for the Windjammers.

In his final three seasons, Pieri netted 654 points.

Third team

Drury, a 6-0 guard, was the Vikings’ top offensive threat this season. A talented shooter capable of knocking down a shot from practically anywhere on the court, Drury averaged 9.4 points (11th best in the Midcoast) and tallied 170 points. He had single-game highs of 16, 15, 14 and 13.

Lammi, a 6-4 forward, improved tremendously as the season progressed and displayed a marvelous ability to take the ball to the hoop or drain the outside shot. He averaged 6.3 points during the regular season and had numerous rebounds. He finished with 114 regular-season points and 172 points overall.

He had single-game highs 17, 15, and 11. Lammi saved some of his best efforts for the postseason, as he netted 20 points in the KVAC championship game, and added 14 in both the preliminary and quarterfinal games. A bothersome back kept him out of the Windjammers’ semifinal game against Presque Isle, but he returned for the championship game and netted 10 points.

Patterson, a 6-5 center, played the role of “big man” to perfection for the Tigers. He showed steady improvement as the season wore on and had his best games of the year in the postseason.

Patterson averaged 8.5 points, six rebounds, two blocks and tallied 153 points during the regular season. Including the playoffs, he netted 180 points.

He had single-game highs of 14 (three times) and 12 (four times) in the regular season, while in the playoffs, Patterson scored 12 points in the preliminary round and 15 in the quarterfinals.

Safford, a 6-0 guard, burst onto the scene, making an immediate impact with the Windjammers in just his first year of varsity play.

According to coach Hart, Safford “might be the most talented freshman ever to come out of this school.” A leader on the floor, Safford brought a competitive edge to the team and his shooting continued to improve as the season wore on.

He averaged 9.2 points during the regular season. Safford totaled 166 regular-season points and 214 overall. He had single-game highs of 16, 15, 14 and 13 during the regular season. In the playoffs, Safford tallied 15 in the KVAC championship, added 15 in the quarterfinals and 12 in the semifinals.

Staples, a 6-4 forward, is a two-time C-G all star. Although technically a center, Staples proved more than comfortable lurking around the perimeter and was fully capable of draining shots from behind the 3-point arc.

Staples’ success this year was all the more impressive, considering he played much of the season with a torn meniscus. It was later discovered he also had a fractured knee cap,

He averaged 11.9 points (sixth best in the Midcoast), 7.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. He tallied 215 regular-season points and 219 overall. Staples had single-game highs of 24, 21 and 17. Staples also shot 34 percent from the floor and 52 percent from the foul line.

As a junior, Staples netted 213 regular-season points (11.8 average), which ranked him sixth in the Midcoast. He also averaged 9.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.1 steals. Staples hit nine 3-pointers on the year, was 52 percent from the floor and 67 percent from the free-throw line.

Including the postseason, Staples netted 229 points on the year. He had single-game highs of 21, 18 (twice) and 15 (twice).

Labreck sets an incredible standard at Messalonskee

Sport:   Posted: March 20th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Labreck sets an incredible standard at Messalonskee

Morning Sentinel staff photo
Morning Sentinel staff photo
TOP OF THE CLASS: Messalonskee High School’s Jesse Labreck is the Morning Sentinel’s Girls Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Year.

Jesse Labreck was nervous at the start of the Class A indoor track and field state championship meet. The Messalonskee senior expected a lot of herself and wanted nothing more than to meet all of her goals.

When the meet was over, Labreck couldn't help but smile.

Labreck dominated, setting state records in the 55-meter hurdles, the high jump and the triple jump.

"I thought it was really amazing," Labreck said. "(Setting state records) made it a lot more fun for me. It made it better for me. I was nervous because of what I wanted to do going in."

For her outstanding season, which also included a second-place and a third-place finish at the New England championships, Labreck has been named the Morning Sentinel Girls Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Year.

Labreck had nerves heading into the state meet, but was also confident because of the work she had put in during the season. After a good warm up, she felt she was ready to have a strong day and she did way more than that.

A year after setting the state indoor record in the 55 hurdles and the triple jump, Labreck set a new standard in those events, while adding the high jump state record to her resume. In the 55 hurdles, Labreck won with a time of 8.25 seconds. She won the triple jump at 38 feet, 4.25 inches and the high jump at 5-6.

"I was really prepared for that day," said Labreck, who recently signed a letter of intent to compete in track at the University of Maine. "It meant a lot to me, really. It was nice getting what I wanted after I worked so hard."

Less than a week after the state championship meet, Labreck won the Maine Indoor Pentathlon at the University of Southern Maine. She dominated the five-event competition, beating second-place finisher Jackie Mendes of Thornton Academy by nearly 700 points (3,541-2,878).

She was especially dominant in the high jump, where her leap of 5-8.75 was among the best in the nation this winter.

"To do what she did, you have to be an exceptionally gifted physically," said Waterville coach Ian Wilson, who coaches Labreck during the winter season. "People can work very hard their entire career, but she was tied for first in the nation in high jump and to do that you have to be pretty physically gifted."

Gifted, sure, but Wilson also said Labreck's intensity and desire to win helped make her the all-time great that she is.

"She gets this look on her face during practice, when we do a drill or whatever we may be doing, she gets this look like there is no way anyone is going to beat her," Wilson said.

"The look on her face is worth a thousand words."

With three titles at both the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A and state championship meets her senior season, Labreck ends her high school indoor track career with seven individual Class A state titles and eight KVAC A individual titles. She holds three Class A state records and three KVAC A records.

"In terms of overall ability, no," Wilson said when asked if he ever coached anyone as talented Labreck in his career. "She is a special kid, the type you see once every 10 years."

Scott Martin -- 621-5618


Healthy Alexis dominating on the track

Sport:   Posted: March 20th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Healthy Alexis dominating on the track

Morning Sentinel staff photo
Morning Sentinel staff photo
ON THE FAST TRACK: Waterville Senior High School’s Dominick Alexis is the Morning Sentinel’s Boys Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Year.

Dominick Alexis' biggest goal this winter was to be healthy enough to compete. A junior at Waterville Senior High School, Alexis was unable to compete his sophomore season because of health issues, including surgery for spontaneous pneumothorax, which is described by the American Lung Association as "a sudden collection of air or gas in the chest that causes the lung to collapse in the absence of a traumatic injury to the chest or lung."

Alexis was able to stay on the track this winter and, despite continued struggles with his lungs, was able to dominate the competition.

This winter, Alexis won the Class B state title in the 55-meter hurdles and the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B title in the triple jump and the high jump. He also finished second in the state in the triple jump and high jump, helping the Purple Panthers to a third-place finish.

For his outstanding season, Alexis has been named the Morning Sentinel Boys Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Year. Messalonskee High School's Eric Anderson was also considered.

Alexis had surgery for his lung problems the summer between his freshman and sophomore year. He still, however, struggles catching his breath.

"Usually, after warmups I can't breathe," Alexis said. "Then after that, I'm fine. I've gotten used to it."

Now that he has learned to deal with his health issues, Alexis has taken off on the track. The 6-foot-4, 165-pound Alexis blossomed into one of the top multi-event athletes in the state. At both the Class B and KVAC B championship meets, Alexis leaped 6 feet in the high jump, then cleared 6-5 at the New England Indoor Track and Field Championships. In the 55 hurdles he won the Class B title with a time of 7.86 seconds. He was second in the triple jump at 43-6.5.

Waterville coach Ian Wilson knew it was just a matter of Alexis being able to compete.

"I've seen this kid in practice do incredible things," Wilson said. "One time, wearing no shoes and on a short approach, he did 20 feet in the long jump.

"We knew what he was capable of once he got his health squared away and was able to compete. It might have been a huge surprise to see what he did because no one knew this kid, but it wasn't a surprise it us."

Alexis will expand his repertoire in the spring, picking up some throwing events, the long jump and possibly a relay. At some point, he'll also practice the pole vault in preparation of the decathlon. His goal is to qualify for the Junior Olympics this summer in the decathlon.

"Last time I pole vaulted was in the eighth grade," Alexis said. "My (personal record) is 8-6."

Wilson thinks Alexis has the most potential in the high jump. He is tall and thin, a perfect body for a high jumper, and has a terrific understanding of the event.

"He is a very bright kid and understands the event remarkably well," Wilson said. "He can coach himself. I don't mess with him too much.

"He is definitely capable of 6-8 or 6-10. His vertical is tremendous."

Scott Martin -- 621-5618


Colby baseball hoping for improved pitching this season

Sport: Baseball  Posted: March 20th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Colby baseball hoping for improved pitching this season

WATERVILLE -- Colby College baseball coach Dale Plummer issued a challenge to his pitching staff this season.

"I put the onus right on the pitchers. I said 'We're only going as far as you guys take us and you really owe us from last year.' They've really worked hard," Plummer said. "At this point right now, I'm very happy with the pitching staff. Everybody seems to be throwing strikes. You've got quite a few guys with late breaking movement on their pitches."

The Mules went 7-22 last season, and the pitching staff allowed an average of more than two base runners per inning. Colby opens the season Saturday against Suffolk in Phoenix, Ariz., and Plummer hopes to see immediate improvement on the mound. The Mules issued more walks, 133, than strikeouts, 125 in 2007.

"We've been talking about that in all our pitching meetings and every day. You know, you can't put guys on base," Plummer, who was the interim head coach last season, said. "Why we gave up so many hits last year was because we were 1-0, 2-0, 3-1 (in the count). It's all about throwing strikes. We went down to St. Joe's, we walked 16 guys and hit four. You put 20 guys on base without them swinging the bat."

Sophomore Matt Moore went 2-3 with a 7.18 earned run average for Colby last year, and will open the season as the Mules' top starter. Justin Clark, Sam Kennedy-Smith and R.T. Tourek round out the rotation.

Erskine Academy graduate Zach Helm also will see time on the mound.

"I knew last year that Zach was probably a year away. He's worked his tail off, and he's doing a great job right now. I expect good innings out of him," Plummer said.

Colby graduated all-New England Small College Athletic Conference first team selection Tom Salemy, who led the league with a .467 batting average last season, but the Mules return a number of players who helped the club hit .311 as a team.

"We have a lot of depth and we'll push each other every day to get better. If you're not on your game, you're not going to be playing," senior captain Nick Spillane said.

"Teams that are competitive inside themselves are the most competitive on the field."

Spillane will start in right field. John Lerner, a transfer from Northeastern, will start in center field and hit leadoff. Second baseman John LaMantia (.280, 14 runs) will hit second, and shortstop Craig Cooper (.350, 35 runs) will hit third for the Mules.

"(Cooper) is probably one of the best shortstops in the league," Plummer said.

Tourek will start at first base when not pitching, and newcomer Spencer Jacobson will play third. Junior Kyle McKay is back for his third season behind the plate.

"(McKay) came in as a freshman, he was really a true outfielder. We didn't have anyone to catch, so we've made him a catcher. This is his junior year, he's coming into his own," Plummer said.Colby has 10 games scheduled in Arizona. Weather permitting, the Mules will play their first home game on April 1 against St. Joseph's.

"I think we're going to score runs, and we're going to play defense," Plummer said. "That's not saying we're not going to make mistakes, but I'm hoping right now our lineup will just keep putting pressure on other teams' defense."

Travis Lazarczyk -- 861-9242


Cony's Dumas overcomes injury to break state marks

Sport:   Posted: March 20th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Cony's Dumas overcomes injury to break state marks

Staff photo by Joe Phelan
Staff photo by Joe Phelan
STATE RECORD HOLDER: Cony’s Bethany Dumas is the 2008 Kennebec Journal Indoor Track and Field Girls Athlete of the Year.

The indoor track and field season is challenging enough for pole vaulters. Actual practice time spent pole vaulting is extremely limited due to the lack of facilities, so meets during the regular season are of the utmost importance.

This winter got a lot more difficult for Cony High School's Bethany Dumas, the state's top pole vaulter, when she suffered an ankle injury early in the season. She was unable to do anything for two weeks, then was extremely limited through the end of the season.

"It took so long to heal," said Dumas, who rolled her right ankle in the second week of January. "I missed two weeks. It was like starting over."

Dumas was limited, but it didn't limit her success. Once again, she set the Class A state record in the indoor pole vault, winning the state title with a vault of 11 feet, 10 inches.

For her effort, Dumas has been named the Kennebec Journal Girls Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Year. Hall-Dale High School's Laura Peterson was also considered.

Dumas also finished fifth at the Class A state championship meet in the 55-meter hurdles, despite only running in the event four times this season.

"She didn't hurdle at all," Cony coach Taylor Harmon said. "When we were getting ready in December, we didn't have a place to hurdle. Then she missed three meets when she could have hurdled and didn't get to do any of that. We were really lucky."

The only time in the regular season that Dumas ran the hurdles was on Dec. 29 when she competed in the New Year's Relays at the University of Southern Maine. She returned to the event at the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A meet and finished fourth with a time of 9.80 seconds.

"I was kind of disappointed in my times in the hurdles, but I didn't have a chance to compete because of the ankle," Dumas said.

Because of her ankle injury and her prowess in the pole vault, Harmon didn't want Dumas to compete in the event at the state championship meet. Dumas was scheduled to continue vaulting after the finals for the hurdles and Harmon was nervous she might reinjure the ankle.

Dumas wasn't having it. She wanted to compete in the event at her last indoor state meet.

"She was quite a trouper," Harmon said.

After finishing fifth in the hurdles (9.19 seconds), Dumas went back to the pole vault and continued to set the standard in the event. In the last three seasons, Dumas raised the indoor pole vault record from 10-6 to 11-10.

She said she was lucky the injury was to her right ankle because she jumps off her left foot. It bothered her more, she said, in the hurdles than in the pole vault.

"The running part (in the pole vault) bothered me," Dumas said.

Dumas didn't qualify for the championship meets until Jan. 25, a little over a week before the conference championships, with a vault of 10-0. She didn't compete in a league meet during the season until Jan. 25 but did have a chance to vault earlier in the season. She competed at the Brown Relays, where she won with a vault of 11-2. She then set the meet record at the USM relays with a vault of 11-3. At the National Pole Vault Summit in Reno, Nevada, she vaulted 11-6.

Scott Martin -- 621-5618


Morissette shows his versatility for Erskine

Sport:   Posted: March 20th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Morissette shows his versatility for Erskine

Staff photo by Joe Phelan
Staff photo by Joe Phelan
DOING IT ALL: Erskine Academy’s Steven Morissette is the 2008 Kennebec Journal Indoor Track and Field Boys Athlete of the Year.

Steven Morissette was very familiar with the 400-meter dash at the start of the indoor track and field season. The Erskine Academy senior had run the 400 as part of a relay team in the spring, but that was it.

His experience in the 4x400, where he helped the Eagles finish third at the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B championships, convinced Morissette it might be an event he could succeed in.

He was right.

Morissette won the KVAC B indoor title in the 400 with a time of 23.99 seconds. He also won the 200 despite an Achilles tendon injury which kept him from training at full speed.

"I liked running the 400 and wanted to compete individually," Morissette said. "I was happy."

For his season, Morissette has been named the Kennebec Journal Boys Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Year. Cony High School sophomore Luke Fontaine was also considered.

Morissette has shown versatility as a runner throughout his career. For most of his indoor career he has run the 55 and the 200, and during the outdoor season he has run the 100 and 200. But he has always been willing to step in and run any relay he has been asked.

"Last year, I remember we were short an athlete in the 4x800 and he was willing to step in and do that," Erskine coach Erika Reay said. "It doesn't seem to matter the distance, he does well."

A week after winning the 200 and the 400 on his way to being named the co-athlete of the KVAC B championship meet this winter, Morissette ran into the best competition he faced all year and was finally hampered by his ankle injury. A triple jumper as well, Morissette landed wrong on a jump early in the year and injured his left Achilles tendon. He said the injury didn't really bother him when he ran until the state championship meet, where he finished 10th in both the 200 and the 400.

"I had to tone down my workouts," Morissette said. "I couldn't work as hard and I had to take it easy. It was a lot of stretching and a lot of icing."

Morissette's times were actually not that far off at the state championship meet, but runners of Western B and the Eastern Maine Indoor Track League dominated both events. His time in the 200 went from 23.99 at the KVACs to 24.03 at the state meet, while his time in the 400 went from 53.15 to 54.60. Still, the only athlete from the KVAC to beat him at the state meet was Waterville's Zach Jordan (sixth in the 400).

"(The state meet) was tough for him," Reay said. "I think he would have done better, but he had the injury he was nursing along the whole season. That was one of his downfalls that day. And the competition."

Morissette has given the ankle a rest since the season was over and wears a brace at times to help heal the injury. He plans to continue running the 400 during the spring season, along with the 200 and whatever relays his coaches ask him to run in.

Scott Martin -- 621-5618


Lee postgrad coach Parker resigns

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: March 20th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Lee postgrad coach Parker resigns
By Ernie Clark
Thursday, March 20, 2008 - Bangor Daily News

Carl Parker is stepping down after two seasons as head coach of the Lee Academy postgraduate basketball team.

Parker, who resides in Bangor, cited travel as a primary reason for his decision. The Lee Academy campus is more than 60 miles from his home.

"Truthfully, there were times I was at home when I thought I should be at Lee, and times I was at Lee when I thought I should be home," he said.

Parker took over Lee’s postgraduate basketball program in its second year of existence and helped in its continuing development in conjunction with school headmaster Bruce Lindberg and athletic administrator Randy Harris.

The Pandas have had several players move on to Division I college programs under Parker, including Nate Tomlinson (Colorado) and Chris Baskerville (Central Connecticut) from this year’s team.

A Lincoln native, Parker is a former boys varsity basketball coach at Bangor High School and Foxcroft Academy in Dover-Foxcroft, as well as an assistant coach for several years under Max Good with the Maine Central Institute postgraduate team.

He also has been one of the leaders of the state’s AAU basketball movement since helping to establish it in 1991. His success in the AAU ranks helped land Parker a berth in 2000 as an assistant coach at the third USA Basketball Men’s Youth Development Festival in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Last summer, Parker coached a team of Maine high school standouts to an 11th-place finish from among 153 teams at the junior boys/17-and-under AAU National Championships at Disney’s Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Fla.

That marked the best-ever finish for a Maine team at the AAU nationals.

Parker will continue to coach at the AAU level, and hasn’t ruled out a return to coaching at the high school or prep ranks in the future.

"I really enjoy working with the kids," he said.

King of the Hill: Newburyport alumnus has standout hockey season at UMass Dartmouth

Sport:   Posted: March 19th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

King of the Hill: Newburyport alumnus has standout hockey season at UMass Dartmouth
By Evan Mugford
Staff writer

NEWBURYPORT — After high school, students generally have three options: work, prep school or college. The first two options are usually transitional stages, preemptive choices to prepare oneself for the future.

Of course, college is arguably the largest adjustment for high school graduates, and many who rush in aren't always prepared for the responsibilities and changes higher education brings.

Newburyport native Joseph Hill knew better than to dive into an undertow, and his patience has reaped the rewards.

A graduate of Newburyport High in 2005 and a past hockey standout, Hill decided to put a full-time college career on hold to work on his skills in the rink. That decision has resulted in Hill becoming a legitimate freshman force on the UMass Dartmouth hockey team this season.

Learning to skate before some children speak, Hill's parents had the youngster sliding around the ice as a one-year-old. Five years later, Hill joined his first youth hockey team. Soon after he began joining traveling teams like the Lowell Chiefs, the North Shore Raiders and Top Gun.

Newburyport coach Paul Yameen remembers the time he spent with Hill fondly.

"Joe was one of the most intense, intelligent and adaptable players I've ever coached," explained Yameen. "He had some problems that would've forced most kids to quit, but Joe always proved what type of person he was. He was a pleasure to coach."

Though Hill attracted the attention of some Division 1 schools, the right wing knew that he had to improve to excel at the next level. Hill joined the Valley Junior Warriors, a program designed to develop and prepare players for future national and international success.

"I knew right out of high school that I was going to play juniors, at least for a year or two," Hill said, "because I needed the time to decide which situation was best for me."

The time Hill spent with the Junior Warriors was well worth it.

"Andy Heinze is a good coach and he gave me time to prepare for the college game," said Hill, who also played baseball growing up. "Everyone's a lot older and experienced in college, so the league gave me time to improve."

It was during a tournament three years ago that UMass Dartmouth coach John Rolli first met Hill. Thanks in part to a strong recommendation from his cousin, Hill made his decision to become a Corsair.

"Coach Rolli gave me a chance, and I stepped in and made the most of it," said Hill. "Coach Rolli was a big factor in me going to UMass. He runs a really great program."

The freshman has certainly made the most out of his debut season at UMass Dartmouth.

Hill earned ECAC (Eastern College Athletic Conference) Northeast All-Rookie team honors, All-ECAC tournament honors and was named MVP of the ECAC championship game in which he scored two goals, one being the game-winner with 16 seconds left.

"All the individual awards are nice, but I wouldn't have any of them if it wasn't for my teammates and the line that I was on," said Hill. "We worked well together, but I was really just aiming for a championship. It was nice to get both.

"It was actually the team's third straight ECAC title, so it was great to help them continue that streak," said Hill, who fishes and lifts whenever he has the chance. "The place was packed when we won it. It was definitely a thrill."

Though the Corsairs were dismissed early in the first round of the NCAA tournament by Trinity College, Hill was pleased with his team and their efforts.

"Trinity was a really good team, so you can't take anything away from them," said Hill. "It was just great to experience the NCAA playoffs and we're set to repeat again and go further next year.

"The team is loaded with hard-working, unselfish players," exclaimed Hill, "and coach Rolli, with the kind of team he runs, it's no surprise his past teams are always so successful."

One person Hill admires is his brother Ed, a professional defenseman on the Alaska Aces in the East Coast Hockey League.

"He was a second-round draft pick in '99," explained Hill. "I've always looked up to him."

Despite a stellar first year, scholastically and athletically, Hill knows there's always room for improvement.

"I definitely want to make the Dean's List," stated Hill. "For hockey, there's a lot of good players coming back next year and hopefully I can improve as a player and we can improve as a team and go for our fourth straight."

The Hill Report

Name: Joseph Hill

Hometown: Newburyport

High School: Newburyport (Class of 2005)

College: UMass Dartmouth

Sport: Hockey

Position: Right wing

Awards: All ECAC Rookie and Tournament Teams, MVP of the ECAC title game
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Fulfilled promise: Newburyport lacrosse program's future to be decided by School Committee

Sport:   Posted: March 19th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Fulfilled promise: Newburyport lacrosse program's future to be decided by School Committee
By Dan Guttenplan
Sports editor

NEWBURYPORT — Lacrosse lovers are circulating petitions around Newburyport in hopes that a few hundred signatures will impact the future of the Newburyport High lacrosse program.

Supporters will learn within the next 45 days whether the School Committee will honor a promise made in 2004 to fully fund the $35,000 cost of operations for the boys and girls lacrosse teams in the 2008-09 school year.

Lacrosse is currently the lone sports program at Newburyport High that is not fully funded by the school (with the exception of the standard user fees, which all sports teams require). More than 11 percent ($4,000 out of $35,000) of the school's lacrosse budget is funded through private donations. Based on an agreement made in 2003 between Clippers Lacrosse Association members who pushed to have the sport elevated to the varsity level and the Newburyport School Committee, this school year was to be the final season in which the program relied on private donations.

The School Committee will finalize its budget for the 2008-09 school year by the end of April, according to Bruce Menin, who is one of the lone remaining members since the original agreement in 2003. He is not optimistic that the program will be able to shed its public-private funding partnership next year.

"At this point, unless a source of revenue that we're not expecting is discovered, I don't know how we'll fully subsidize lacrosse," Menin said. "To do so, it would mean we'd have to remove support from another program. I can only speak for myself; I think it should be fully funded. But I don't know how realistic that is with all of the budget cuts."

'It's a respectable program'

In August of 2000, a group headed by Andrew Witherbee, co-founder of Newburyport Youth Lacrosse, made a proposal to the School Committee to have lacrosse added as a club sport at Newburyport High. The proposal was not accepted.

In 2001, the Newburyport Youth Lacrosse League had more than 150 athletes between first- and eighth-grade. It was the only youth lacrosse program in the area at the time. Since 2001, Pentucket, Georgetown and Triton have formed youth lacrosse programs and varsity-level teams at the high school level.

In November of 2001, Witherbee's second attempt to convince the School Committee was successful. For two years, lacrosse existed as a club or junior varsity-level sport — fully funded by private donors at a cost of $25,000 per season.

In the spring of 2003, Witherbee and the School Committee agreed to a five-year plan that relied on a public-private funding partnership that would see private donors account for $13,450 of the $35,000 budget in 2004 and slowly decrease the private portion to $4,000 of the $35,000 in 2008. That agreement inferred that for all years after 2008, lacrosse would be publicly funded.

"When people hear lacrosse is a varsity sport, they automatically think it's funded by the school," Witherbee said. "It's close, but it hasn't been for seven years. It needs to be written into the budget. It's a respectable program, and with participation levels as high as 60 or 70 participants, it's a stable program."

'This could be the key year'

The Newburyport lacrosse program's ability to generate donations from private donors can be perceived two ways. On one hand, the support of the Newburyport Youth Lacrosse program and several other private donors underscores the importance of keeping the sport alive. On the other, the fundraising success could be viewed by the School Committee as a constant — one that does not need to be replaced with school funds.

The timing of the lacrosse program's inception at Newburyport High would appear to be much to blame for the delay in the School Committee's agreement to provide full funding.

Lacrosse is the most recently added varsity-level sport in the school. Sports budgets at Newburyport High and all other River Rival schools have decreased over the last five years. All local public high schools have adopted user fees to help supplement the cost. A three-sport athlete at Newburyport High can pay well over $1,000 in user fees per year.

"That's another major aspect of these budget discussions," Menin said. "We need to figure out what our athletic fees should be. I encourage the other members to look at what it actually costs to play a sport. I don't think it's fair for cross country athletes to pay the same user fees as hockey players. The sports don't cost the same to the users."

Currently, Newburyport has a standard user fee per sports season depending on the particular athlete's grade level. Lacrosse players do have to pay the user fees in addition to participating in other fundraising activities.

This spring, the boys team members will sell gold cards that entitle people to discounts at restaurants and golf courses among other locations. The money raised will be used to replace the team's away jerseys for the first time in seven seasons.

"This could be the key year for the lacrosse program," Newburyport boys lacrosse coach Ed Gaudiano said. "The youth league has carried the financial brunt for several years. From the school's standpoint, it seems like there's a need to take more of the responsibility."

Setting a precedent?

Since 2001, the collection of Newburyport alumni, local businesses and one anonymous donor has generated more than $70,000 for the high school lacrosse program.

The program's public-private funding partnership is new to Newburyport High, particularly considering the sport has been recognized at the varsity level for five years. It may even be a first among River Rival schools.

Amesbury athletic director Elizabeth McAndrews said her school does not have any varsity sports that rely on private donors. Amesbury does not, however, have a lacrosse program.

"Everything we do is fully funded and obviously supplemented by user fees," McAndrews said.

So it would appear the School Committee's decision next month is vital to the future of athletics in the entire River Rival Region. Will the Newburyport lacrosse program set a precedent for public-private funding partnerships for the long term? Or will the School Committee decide that all varsity sports should be fully funded by the school?

A few hundred signatures on the online petition www.ipetitions.com/petition/clipperlaxforever point to the River Rival Region's desire to see the School Committee foot the $35,000 operational cost.

"I don't know of any other sport with these responsibilities to keep the sport at the varsity level," Witherbee said. "Both the boys and girls teams play a full schedule. They both have junior varsity teams. I think there are a total of five coaches on salary. I don't know what else we'd need to show for it to be considered a legit program."

Funding lacrosse

The Newburyport High lacrosse program's operational budget is $35,000 per year. Since the boys and girls teams became varsity programs in 2004, the school has shared the financial burden with private donors. Here is the breakdown of the funding efforts.

Year School's contribution Private sector's contribution

2004 $21,550 $13,450

2005 $24,050 $10,950

2006 $29,550 $5,450

2007 $30,000 $5,000

2008 $31,000 $4,000

Sikonski again headed for Elite Eight

Sport:   Posted: March 19th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Sikonski again headed for Elite Eight


WALTHAM— Michael Sikonski practically grew up around the corner from Assumption College, but the Holden resident wasn’t very neighborly last night.

Sikonski, Bentley’s 6-foot-7 starting center, helped the undefeated Falcons (33-0) defend their Division 2 Northeast Regional title with an 88-72 victory over the Greyhounds at jam-packed Dana Center.

Sikonski scored only two points, but he’ll settle for a return trip to the Elite Eight, which gets under way March 26 at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield.

The Falcons will play South Regional champion North Alabama in the national quarterfinals. Ironically, Assumption defeated North Alabama, 85-78, on Nov. 10 in the Disney Classic.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” said Sikonski, a 2005 Wachusett Regional graduate, who helped the Mountaineers win the Central Mass. Division 1 title as a junior.

He was named Player of the Year by the Massachusetts Basketball Coaches Association as a senior while leading Wachusett to the tournament quarterfinals.

“It’s not something you think is going to happen two years in a row,” said Sikonski, whose basket in the paint put Bentley ahead, 30-19, a lead it would stretch to 47-31 by intermission.

Going to consecutive Elite Eights was hardly on Sikonski’s mind when his parents, Ed and Maryellen, used to bring him to Assumption games as a youngster.

He continued to watch the Greyhounds through high school and admits to still being a fan.

Except when they play the Falcons.

“I had no idea I’d be playing against them or even in the same league,” Sikonski said. “But Bentley was the perfect choice for me, and I couldn’t be happier how things have turned out.”

Assumption cut its deficit to five twice and four once in the second half before the Falcons pulled away in the final six minutes.

“Obviously we got off to a great start,” said Bentley coach Jay Lawson, who coached his 500th game.

“Assumption’s in this game for a reason. They’re not going to go away. They’re a tough, older team just like us. They started making shots from the perimeter, which is not their forte.”

The Falcons had five players score in double figures — Jason Westrol (22), Nate Fritsch (17), Mike Quinn (18), Yusuf Abdul-Ali (15) and Lew Finnegan (10).

“Our poise to just maintain our level of play, whether we’re ahead or behind, is outstanding,” said Lawson, whose team became the first to defend its Northeast Regional title since UMass-Lowell in 2003-04.

“We’re all very excited to be moving on to something we participated in last year. It’s very lucky, unique, special.”

Assumption stayed in the game by outrebounding Bentley, 43-32, including 16-9 on the offensive glass.

“We really respect them. They’re a really good team,” Westrol said. “They’re a very physical team and were all over the glass. I think we had a few guys that were pretty tired.”

Bentley was also perfect (32-0) entering last year’s Elite Eight, but lost to Winona State, 64-51. The Falcons’ 33 wins this season is a school and New England Division 2 record.

Siknonski, who played sparingly during last year’s playoff run, has started all 33 games this season.

He scored in all but five games, including a career-high 18 against Southern Connecticut last month.

“I wanted to work hard over the summer and do some things to try to help the team the most I could,” Sikonski said. “I’ve stepped into somewhat of a role. I couldn’t be happier with the situation.”

NCAA Division 2 Elite Eight REGIONAL FINAL: The Bentley blues

Sport:   Posted: March 19th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

NCAA Division 2 Elite Eight REGIONAL FINAL: The Bentley blues

Falcons too strong for game Hounds


Assumption’s Greg Twomey and coach Serge DeBari watch the game’s final moments. (T&G Staff/STEVE LANAVA)

WALTHAM— “Undefeated!” was not the chant Assumption wanted to hear at the end of last night’s NCAA Division 2 Northeast Regional final.

The Greyhounds had hopes of halting Bentley’s unbeaten season, but the top-ranked Falcons held off Assumption’s valiant second-half rally and prevailed, 88-72, to capture their second straight regional championship.

At 33-0, Bentley has set a program record for wins in a season, has established the longest win streak in New England history and is headed to the Elite Eight March 26-29 in Springfield, where it will face South Regional champ North Alabama. Assumption defeated North Alabama, 85-78, in the second game of the season.

A crowd of 3,233 fans packed the Dana Center, loading the bleachers on three sides of the court and standing six-deep in the open area behind the basket. The student section erupted into its group cheer with about 45 seconds to play.

The loss marked the end of a fantastic year for Assumption (24-11), which came within one victory of tying the storied program’s single-season record for wins. The Hounds were 4-23 just three seasons ago and at that point it was hard for AC’s seniors to think they’d one day be on the verge of the Elite Eight.

“Maybe in my imagination,” senior Corey Diethorn said. “Games like this are something you want to play in and something I got a chance to be part of today, and it’s something special.”

Assumption came back from deficits of 18 and 9 points to win its regional quarterfinal and semifinal games against Holy Family and Saint Rose and advance to the regional final for the first time since 2002. Bentley, aided by a barrage of 3-pointers, bolted to a 19-point advantage early in the second half.

After a timeout with 16:56 to play, freshman Dominique Price’s putback of his own miss started the Hounds on a 15-2 run to cut Bentley’s lead to 59-53 with 11:26 to play. It was like here we go again, again.

Senior Greg Twomey banged three 3-pointers during the spurt and the Greyhounds continued to hang around. Bentley pushed the lead back to eight on a Lew Finnegan basket, but with 7:58 left, Twomey buried a jumper to make it 64-60. The Hounds got no closer, though, as Bentley extended its lead with key hoops from Finnegan and Mike Quinn and free throws in the closing minutes.

“We knew we had it in us,” Twomey said. “Unfortunately we couldn’t keep it going.”

Bentley went 4-0 against Assumption this season and for the 12th time this year did not trail.

Five players scored in double figures for the Falcons, led by Jason Westrol with 22.

The Falcons’ first four baskets of the game were from 3-point territory. Quinn started 3 for 4 from behind the arc and scored 11 of Bentley’s first 19 points. Assumption made 5 of its first 10 attempts from the field, but trailed by nine 7:30 in. Bentley connected on 9 of 18 3-pointers in the first half en route to a 47-31 lead at the break.

“The three previous games they beat us inside continually, so we came into the game saying we were going to try to take that away,” Assumption coach Serge DeBari said. “We knew we were playing with fire, but when you have all the weapons, you have to pick your poison.”

Bentley finished 14 for 28 from 3-point land. The Falcons made a season-high 15 3s in a regular-season game against Saint Anselm.

Twomey led Assumption with 20 points. Junior Pat Shea added 11 and Diethorn and Mike Foti, who both played in their final games, 10 each. Twomey, who missed most of his freshman season with a knee injury, will return for a fifth year.

Last night, the Hounds got a glimpse at the future — and it looks good — as Price had 7 points and 7 rebounds in 19 minutes and freshman Mike Baldarelli had 7 points and 5 rebounds in 23 minutes. Both were on the floor for most of Assumption’s second-half run.

The Hounds will also return Shea, one of the top defenders in the Northeast-10 Conference, starting guard Courtland Bluford and guard Mitch Bajema, who gave Assumption some important minutes off the bench this season before getting hurt last week.

Assumption, coming off an 11-win season, was picked to finish 10th in the preseason NE-10 coaches poll. The Greyhounds started the year 11-3 and advanced to the NE-10 tourney final. Assumption won seven of its last 11 games – three of the four losses were to Bentley.

“Our season is a testimony to the quality of our seniors and their commitment to the program,” DeBari said. “This season started last April. That’s when you really show your character — when no one’s watching. When no one’s watching, what are you doing to make yourself a better player? These guys were great at that. They’ve set an example.

“I guess I would say I’m a little bit surprised we went this far,” DeBari said, “but when you evaluate how good the people we have are, it’s not surprising at all.”

Bentley 88, Assumption 72

Greg Twomey 8-12 1-1 20, Patrick Shea 5-15 1-2 11, Corey Diethorn 5-9 0-0 10, Mike Foti 4-8 1-2 10, Dominique Price 2-7 3-5 7, Mike Baldarelli 3-6 0-0 7, Courtland Bluford 2-8 0-1 4, Renan Malafaia 1-1 0-0 2, Walter Weekes 0-0 1-2 1, Marek Kulig 0-0 0-0 0, Mitch Bajema 0-0 0-0 0, Alex Popp 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 30-66 7-13 72.


Jason Westrol 7-17 5-5 22, Mike Quinn 6-7 2-5 18, Nate Fritsch 4-11 5-6 17, Yusuf Abdul-Ali 5-9 4-4 15, Lew Finnegan 4-8 0-0 10, Michael Sikonski 1-3 0-1 2, Tom Dowling 0-4 2-2 2, James Oberg 1-1 0-0 2, Brian Tracey 0-1 0-0 0, John Brandt 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 28-62 18-23 88.

Halftime: B, 47-31. 3-point goals: A 5-18 (Twomey 3-5, Foti 1-2, Baldarelli 1-3, Price 0-1, Bluford 0-1, Shea 0-6), B 14-28 (Fritsch 4-8, Quinn 4-5, Westrol 3-7, Finnegan 2-5, Abdul-Ali 1-1, Tracey 0-1, Brandt 0-1). Rebounds: A 43 (Foti 8, Twomey 8), B 32 (Westrol 6, Fritsch 6). Assists: A 10 (Shea 2, Foti 2, Twomey 2), B 19 (Westrol 6). Total fouls: Assumption 21, Bentley 14. Fouled out: None. Technical fouls: None. Records: A 24-11, B 33-0. A—3,233

Interview process still a couple weeks away for Peabody football job

Sport:   Posted: March 19th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Interview process still a couple weeks away for Peabody football job
By Matt Jenkins
Staff Writer

Time is of the essence in naming the next Peabody High football coach. But it's not not as important as conducting a thorough and complete search to find the right person.

"That really is the emphasis: let's do it right and take the time to make sure that we dot our I's and cross our T's," Peabody High Athletic Director Phil Sheridan said. "I don't want to do this all over again."

Sheridan estimated that between 15 to 20 candidates submitted their resumes before the March 7 deadline.

The position became open when Dick Woodbury stepped down in early February after just one season as the team's head coach. The Tanners struggled through their second straight 1-9 season in Woodbury's only campaign.

Woodbury, who resigned for health reasons, took over for Paul Uva, who resigned after two seasons at the helm. Uva compiled a 5-15 record in 2005-06.

According to Sheridan, the football selection committee will not even get together until next week. Interviews will follow sometime after that, but no official dates have been set.

The Peabody approach to hiring a football coach will be a little different this time around, because the juniors and seniors-to-be will be working with their third coach in three years.

It's important for Peabody to choose a coach who intends to stay, said Sheridan.

"The main thing is to get someone in here for the long haul," Sheridan said. "We want to get someone in place and let them go to work."

At least two former Division 1 college football players have confirmed that they have applied for the position.

Ken Farrar, once a standout lineman for the Tanners, played and eventually coached at the University of Richmond. His coaching career advanced from Richmond to the University of Charleston (W.V.), and he spent last year as the quarterbacks coach at Assumption College.

Former Salem High and Marshall University standout Germaine Satterwhite is a repeat applicant for the Tanners' post as well.

Satterwhite was a graduate assistant at Marshall after his playing career ended. He then moved on to Kean (N.J.) University as an assistant coach, and spent a year under the tutelage of Paul Boudreau as an offensive coordinator intern with the Carolina Panthers through the Minority Coaching Fellowship Program.

He also spent time coaching at Glenville State in West Virginia before returning to Massachusetts. Last year he helped rebuild the North Shore Generals, a semipro team that plays locally.

Last year, Satterwhite was not granted an interview at Peabody High.

"I wouldn't mind having my own program at the high school level and be able to build something," Satterwhite, 34, said. "I came across some different high school coaches when I was doing college recruiting, and they've got their ducks in a row. They were doing a lot of good things and extra stuff for the kids. You can really bring a community together."

Satterwhite, a middle school teacher in Lynn, has applied for some other recent high school openings. He applied at Lynn English this year, but wasn't granted an interview there. He also applied at Salem before Scott Connolly was hired in 2004, and he put his hat in the ring when the Beverly High job was open a few years ago.

Satterwhite hopes to get an interview at Peabody High this time around because he feels he would be a great asset to a high school program.

"I'm a guy that has played and coached for championship teams. Every place that I've been since I left my first coaching job has seen a big turnaround," Satterwhite said.

"I know what it takes to win. I won't sell myself short, I won't sell my players short, and I won't sell the community short."

BC quarterback Matt Ryan shows off for the NFL

Sport:   Posted: March 19th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

BC quarterback Matt Ryan shows off for the NFL
By Eric Avidon
GateHouse News Service
Posted Mar 19, 2008 @ 03:15 AM

Like tourists flocking to Fifth Avenue to stare at the Christmas display at Saks, members of the National Football League’s intelligentsia descended on Boston College yesterday.

Instead of sleighs and reindeer, they were there to gawk at football players in preparation for next month’s draft, and one in particular – quarterback Matt Ryan.

It was Pro Day at Boston College, where 20 former Eagles plus 17 players from other Massachusetts colleges and universities went through a series of physical tests and drills to show their wares for the scouts, coaches and general managers who on April 26 and 27 will determine the futures of their respective franchises.

Ryan, however, was the star of the show.

The former BC quarterback threw for 31 touchdowns and 4,507 yards as a senior last fall, and is regarded as the best QB in this year’s draft. He could wind up the overall No. 1 pick in the draft, should Bill Parcells and the Miami Dolphins decide they need a new signal-caller.

Other reasonable scenarios have him going third to the Atlanta Falcons, who have to find a replacement for Michael Vick, the Kansas City Chiefs with the fifth pick, who don’t have an established elite quarterback, or the Baltimore Ravens at eight, who started the rapidly aging Steve McNair under center last year.

Ryan attended the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis last month, and while he ran the 40-yard dash and took part in various other drills, he did not throw. He chose to wait until yesterday when he could throw in a comfortable environment to receivers he knows.

Yesterday – with all other action stopped dead and all eyes upon him – he threw 52 passes, completing 48. Three of the incompletions were drops, and the fourth was an overthrow on a deep route.

“I thought it went well,” Ryan said. “It was the first opportunity I had to throw in front of scouts live, and I went out there and threw 52 passes. I thought I showed I can make every throw you need to make in the NFL. I went through the entire route tree. It’s all stuff they could see on tape, and I just wanted to show I could do it in person.”

Ryan wasn’t going to improve his draft status with yesterday’s workout. He could have hurt it slightly if he’d had a horrible showing, or demonstrated a lack of arm strength or accuracy on a particular route, but he didn’t, so all yesterday served as was another opportunity to be evaluated.

“He pressed on a couple of throws,” said the Chiefs’ head coach Herm Edwards. “Generally, that’s what happens. It used to be that 10-15 years ago at these workouts there were five people there. Now it’s become (much bigger), which is good because it puts a lot of pressure on the kids. The game that they’re going to play is going to be pressure-filled.”

Edwards added, “The thing (Ryan) has is his ability to win. That’s the thing you like about quarterbacks – some guys win, and some guys don’t. He has all the traits that say he can be a good quarterback.”

Coach from Hingham is flying high with Bentley Falcons

Sport:   Posted: March 19th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Coach from Hingham is flying high with Bentley Falcons
Bentley coach gave up career in sales to coach 33-0 Falcons
By Eric McHugh
The Patriot Ledger

Bentley College assistant basketball coach Pat Durgin follows the action on the court Tuesday night.

WALTHAM — Take heart, Patriots fans. Inside the stuffed-to-the-rafters Dana Center last night – the overflow crowd of 3,233 included Doug Flutie and his Red Sox cap – was living, breathing proof that a pursuit of perfection is not necessarily a once-in-a-lifetime thing.

The Bentley College men’s basketball team won its first 32 games last season before defending national champ Winona (Minn.) State, also unbeaten, dashed the dream in the first round of the NCAA Division 2 Elite Eight tournament in Springfield. How did the Falcons bounce back from that heartbreak? Rather well, you’d have to say. A year later, Bentley is 33-0 and packing its bags for the Elite Eight again (it’s back in Springfield) after last night’s 88-72 Northeast Regional final win over Assumption.

“We never, ever thought it would happen again,” Bentley assistant coach Pat Durgin said.

Durgin, a former Patriot Ledger All-Scholastic guard at Hingham High, is still grieving over the Super Bowl loss – “I don’t think anybody expected that outcome” – but he’s all smiles when it comes to that other team that’s chasing immortality.

Bentley coach Jay Lawson, who had Durgin as a four-year starter at the school (1998-02), called the Falcons’ two-year odyssey “almost crazy special.” Far be it from Durgin, in his fourth year on the bench, to disagree with his boss.

“These last two years have been off the charts,” Durgin, 27, said. “It’s unbelievable.”

In beating Assumption (24-11) for the fourth time this season, Bentley built up a 19-point lead, watched it shrivel to four in the second half and then pulled away late to earn a national quarterfinal matchup against North Alabama (27-8) next Wednesday at the MassMutual Center in Springfield. Playing with fire is nothing new to Bentley, which spotted Merrimack a 14-point lead in the first round of the regional before storming back for an 81-68 win.

“It’s the mental toughness of these guys,” Durgin raved. “They never waver.” Durgin admitted that he was nervous in the Merrimack game and was getting a little antsy last night, but “I guess you can never really question these guys,” he said. “You always have a feeling that somebody’s going to make a play, someone’s going to get a rebound, someone’s going to get a stop.”

Or hit a three-pointer. That was the story last night as the Falcons knocked down an amazing 14 of 28 from behind the arc with Mike Quinn (4 of 5, 18 points), Nate Fritsch (4 of 8, 17 points) and Jason Westrol (3 of 7, 22 points) doing most of the damage.

How was Durgin from three-point land as a player? “I was great,” he said with a laugh. “I didn’t take a ton of them. I was more of a facilitator than anything else.”

A four-year starter at point guard for Bentley, Durgin never missed a game and left school 10th on the program’s assists list with 493. Given his background, he’s worked closely with Bentley’s current backcourt, especially point guard Yusuf Abdul-Ali, who last night submitted his usual sterling line – 15 points, four assists, four rebounds and one turnover in 33 minutes.

“I have a real special bond with Yusuf,” said Durgin, who lives in South Boston. “He was a freshman my first year. We’ve kind of grown together.”

“The first day when I came in, I guess he saw something in me,” Abdul-Ali said. “During freshman and sophomore year when I wasn’t playing that many minutes he always pushed me in practice. If I was slacking, he would always get on me. I think it really helped. It helped me in my junior and senior years to become more focused and more dedicated to basketball, knowing that every day counts and every practice counts.”

Abdul-Ali said he hasn’t gone up against Durgin 1-on-1, only in 5-on-5 games. “He stripped me a couple of times. He’s quick. I mean, he’s put on a couple of pounds,” Abdul-Ali said with a smile, “so he’s not as quick anymore, but he’s definitely a good player, a good defender.”

Durgin, who was ticketed for prep school coming out of Hingham High until Lawson called with a late scholarship offer, tried a career in sales after graduation. That lasted a year. Now, he says of coaching, “I don’t really see myself doing anything else.”

Life isn’t easy at the D2 level – Abington resident Mark Wentworth, 51, rounds out the three-man coaching staff – but all the winning makes all the scouting and all the recruiting trips and all the practices easier to handle.

“If we finished 2-25, I’d be questioning myself,” Durgin said, “but to go 33-0, back-to-back undefeated seasons, all the time and effort you put in makes it worth it.”

Eric McHugh may be reached at emchugh@ledger.com.
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