Fairhaven's Baldwin repeats as Player of Year

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Posted: March 23rd, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Fairhaven's Baldwin repeats as Player of Year
By Ed Collins
Standard-Times staff writer
March 23, 2008 6:00 AM

MIKE VALERI/The Standard-Times Fairhaven’s Erin Baldwin played the season on a bad ankle, but still won her second straight player of the year award.

FAIRHAVEN — It's a raw and windy Friday afternoon and Erin Baldwin is wrapping up an interview and photo session on the outdoor basketball court at East Fairhaven Elementary School.

For most high school kids this would be something out of the ordinary, but Baldwin is used to the attention. She's been in the basketball spotlight since her freshman season at Fairhaven High School and her four years with the Blue Devils were nothing short of spectacular.

A senior swingman, Baldwin finished as the school's all-time leading scorer with 1,466 career points and she's been named The Standard-Times Girls Basketball Player of the Year for the second straight season.

A fierce competitor and one of the best outside shooters to ever play in the area, Baldwin helped the Blue Devils make school history a year ago.

She teamed up with fellow juniors Maggie Rossi, Kaleigh Charette, Tessa McMullen and Colleen Pepin to achieve two firsts for the girls basketball team — a South Coast Conference championship and an appearance in the Division 3 South Sectional final.

This season, Baldwin passed the Class of 1993's Nate Pickup to put her name at the top of the school's scoring list and, despite playing with an injured right ankle, she helped lead the Blue Devils to a 20-5 record, a second SCC title with a 16-0 league mark and the sectional semifinals.

Baldwin, who had surgery on Wednesday to repair torn ligaments and bone spurs, said nothing was going to keep her from playing her final season.

"I broke my ankle in the seventh grade and it's never been the same. I knew it was going to be either play in pain or don't play at all. It hurt all season. It wasn't that bad during games, because I taped it up and wore a brace, but I felt it afterwards," said Baldwin, who's facing a four-to-five-month recovery period. "There was no way I was going to give up my senior year with my teammates. We had a great junior year together and we had a lot to look forward to."

With Baldwin in the lineup the last four years, the Blue Devils went 72-26 under coach Dave Brogioli, who stepped down this past season after going 109-50 in seven seasons.

"Erin is a complete player. She can shoot, she can pass, she plays defense and she runs the floor," said Brogioli. "She played with a sore ankle all season, but she toughed it out and still ended up leading us in scoring."

Baldwin averaged 15.3 points, 9.4 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 3.2 steals a game en route to earning SCC All-Star honors for the fourth straight year and finishing second in the coaches voting behind Dighton-Rehoboth's Mary Nwachukwu, a high-scoring junior center.

"It was a pleasure to coach Erin. She has a tremendous work ethic and she's a total team player. There's no telling what she could have done this season if she hadn't been hurt," said Brogioli. "She couldn't take the ball to the basket like she had in the past and she had to play without that quick first step that made her so tough to guard as a junior."

She signed to play at Division II Southern New Hampshire University in August and can't wait to start her college career.

"Signing early was a big load off my shoulders. It was one less thing that I had to worry about. It's a small school, but the team and the coaches are great and I loved the campus," said Baldwin, who will major in sports management and hopes to become a sports agent. "I'm happy with the high school career I had. I loved playing with my teammates and we made some history. It was a great four years and I'm looking forward to taking my game to the next level."

Where the interviews and photo sessions are sure to follow.


Girls basketball Super Team


Kaleigh Charette, Fairhaven

Forward, Senior

A 5-foot-8 fighter in the paint, Charette averaged 12.3 points, 11.6 rebounds and 2.3 steals a game en route to being named a South Coast Conference All-Star for the third straight year. ... Was able to compete against bigger players because of her jumping ability. .. Proved to be a tough rebounder and a quick defender on the team's full-court press. A hard worker, she never stopped hustling and gave the Blue Devils a physical presence in the middle. ... Could end up playing at UMass Dartmouth or Salem State College.

Kelsey Craveiro, Apponequet

Guard, Junior

Scored a team-high 14.1 points, pulled down 8.0 rebounds and dished out 2.5 assists a game for the height-challenged Lakers, who did not have a player taller than 5-9. ... Earned South Coast Conference All-Star honors. ... Won the three-point shooting contest at the SCC All-Star game. ... A three-year starter, she helped the team with her defense and helped spark the offense with her shooting and drives to the basket. ... Has led the Lakers in field-goal percentage the last three seasons.

Shelly DePina, New Bedford

Forward, Senior

A very athletic player, DePina was a good shooter on the baseline and played tough defense for the Big 3 Conference champion Whalers. ... Earned Big 3 All-Star honors and scored a team-high 11.4 points a game to go along with 5.8 rebounds. ... Averaged a steady 9.0 points in the team's five-game tournament run that resulted in the school's first-ever Division 1 South Sectional championship and appearance in the state semifinals. ... Will play with teammate Stephanie Houtman at Bridgewater State College.

Stephanie Houtman, New Bedford

Guard, Senior

A good ballhandler and tenacious defender, Houtman averaged 10 points, 3.0 assists and 3.0 steals a game en route to earning Big 3 Conference All-Star honors for the league-champion Whalers. ... Played a key role on the team's full-court press, which helped fuel the offense by generating turnovers. ... Her experience helped lead the Whalers to the school's first Division 1 South Sectional title and appearance in the state semifinals. ... Will move on to Bridgewater State College with teammate Shelly DePina.

Brittany Mello, New Bedford

Center, Sophomore

Mello was a key ingredient on a New Bedford team that won the school's first-ever Division 1 South Sectional and advanced to the state semifinals. ... Averaged 9.0 points and 8.0 rebounds a game and helped lead the team to the Big 3 Conference championship... A tough rebounder, Mello gave the Whalers a rugged inside presence. ... Proved to be a good scorer in the paint and was very aggressive taking the ball to the basket against bigger players. ... Earned Big 3 All-Star honors in her first full season as a starter.

Maggie Rossi, Fairhaven

Guard, Senior

One of the area's most versatile players, Rossi averaged 13.3 points, 6.2 assists and 4.2 rebounds a game for the Blue Devils. ... Finished as the school's No. 2 girls scorer, behind teammate and all-time leader Erin Baldwin, with 1,172 career points. ... Earned South Coast Conference All-Stars for the third time. ... Did a great job running the team's offense and pushing the ball on the fast break. ... Showed good-range on her outside shot and was deadly shooting pull-up jumpers at the foul line. ... Will play at Colby-Sawyer next season.

SECOND TEAM

Athlete School Year

Center Kate Farias Westport Junior

Forward Arielle Gomes New Bedford Freshman

Forward Jordan Manchester Bishop Stang Senior

Guard Kelsey Johnson Apponequet Freshman

Center Lauren Kelleher Dartmouth Junior

Center Carissa Kennedy Bishop Stang Senior

Guard Kristen Peck Apponequet Senior


Contact Ed Collins at ecollins@s-t.com