Thursday, December 30, 2010
New England Roundup: Maine
By Gary Hawkins
Little has changed among the top five boys' basketball teams in the state, with the exception of a one-point loss by Hampden to Lawrence. Here's a look at the Top 10 teams in Vacationland.
Cheverus (4-0): The top-ranked Stags continued to roll with a 49-28 win against Portland. In a previous game, Kennebunk tried to slow things down against Cheverus and nearly pulled an upset before losing 31-25. The Stags are averaging 57 points a game while giving up a paltry 29.
Edward Little (4-0): The Red Eddies rolled to a pair of victories against Oxford Hills (67-45) and Brewer (65-47), getting 28 points from Bo Leary in the latter game. Next up for EL is Messalonskee with a Jan. 4 date looming at Hampden.
Camden Hills (6-0): The Windjammers cruised past Oak Hill 92-41 to run their record to 6-0, but they’ve shown some vulnerability this season, one in which point guard Keegan Pieri has yet to play due to suspension. They squeaked past Medomak Valley 84-82 and held off Gardiner 62-54.
Thornton (4-0): The Golden Trojans remained unbeaten with wins against Gorham and Bonny Eagle. Next up are road games at Sanford and Deering before a home showdown Jan 11 against Cheverus.
Hampden (4-1): The Broncos were upset 50-49 at Lawrence when Spencer Carey hit a 3-point shot with three seconds left to play. They remain one of the state’s top teams, however, and will try to confirm that against Edward Little at home on Jan. 4.
COULOMBE IS CENTER OF ATTENTION Alexa Coulombe is a 6-foot-2 junior center playing for Catherine McAuley High School in Portland who has already verbally committed to play basketball for Boston College. As a sophomore she averaged 10 points, 13 rebounds and six blocked shots a game with a high of 16 in one contest. She took time for an interview at a recent holiday tournament:
Q: Why do you attend McAuley?
A: "My parents wanted me to get out of the public school system and go private."
Q: Why did you choose Boston College?
A: "I’ve wanted to go there since I can remember. It’s close enough to my home, it’s not really far away. A girl on my AAU team went there before I did and I really like the coaches. Everything clicked really well."
Q: Why such and early decision?
A: "I did a lot of work this summer and I thought about it a lot and what school would work for me. I figured out, why wait? It was kind of a no-brainer for me."
Q: Did you consider the University of Maine?
A: "I was basically looking more south. I knew I wanted to get out."
Q: When did you start playing basketball?
A: "In third grade. Because I was always tall (my parents) said why don’t you go try it. I did, and I liked it."
Q: Do you feel more comfortable on the perimeter or in the post?
A: "Originally I was a post player, but I had to work a lot (on my perimeter game) on my AAU team. I was in the 3 spot. I had to transition completely out of post play. I had to have a guard mentality. (My AAU coach Kara Leary) really helped me with that."
Q: Where do you need to improve?
A: "I need to become stronger. I need to be a better guard, a better shooter. I work out all the time but I’m not a really big person."
Q: What are your other interests?
A: "I don’t play any other sports. I’m into basketball all the time. I’m in a lot of clubs and I’m an ambassador for the kids coming into (McAuley)."
Q: What are you long-term plans?
A: "I don’t really know. I think I’m just going to take it as it comes."
GIRLS' TOP 10
McAuley (4-0): Catherine McAuley High of Portland remained the state’s top girls basketball team following a 45-42 win over Cheverus. Despite having two Division I bound players in Becca Knight (Maine) and Alexa Coulombe (Boston College), the Lions have yet to completely jell. They lost by four to Deering at the Capital City Hoop Classic in Augusta, but don’t play the Rams in regular-season games until the end of the season.
Deering (5-0): The Rams stayed unbeaten with a 51-45 win against south Portland in which University of Vermont bound senior Kayla Burchill scored 32 points, including seven 3-pointers. The Rams don’t play against McAuley until Feb. 3 but did knock them off in a Christmas tournament 53-48 this week.
Morse (6-0): The Shipbuilders are cruising with recent wins against Cony and Lawrence. Nikoline Ostergaard, the team’s point guard and an exchange student from Denmark, is drawing interest from U.S. colleges.
York (5-0): The defending class B state champions look like the team to beat again this season. The Wildcats knocked off previously unbeaten Greely 54-28 last week and there don’t appear to be many challenges on the horizon.
Cheverus (4-1): The Stags led McAuley last week for most of the game before falling by three points and remain one of the teams to beat in Western Maine Class A. They host a solid Windham team next week.
BOYS' HOCKEY TOP 10 No. 1 Lewiston remained unbeaten with a 5-2 overtime win last week against rival St. Dominic. Between the neighboring schools have more than 40 New England high school hockey championships. The Blue Devils showed a little early season vulnerability, though, when they were tied, 2-2, by Biddeford.