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Friday, March 25, 2011
New England Roundup: Maine

By Gary Hawkins

The Maine high school basketball season concluded with the McDonald’s Senior All-Star games at Husson University. Prior to the games, Mr. and Miss Maine Basketball winners were announced. Tyler McFarland of Camden Hills was named Mr. Basketball while Kayla Burchill of Deering High was named Miss Basketball.

MaineMcFarland, a 6-foot-6 forward, led the Windjammers to an unbeaten season and a state Class B title. He averaged 24.6 points and 12.1 rebounds per game. Burchill, a 6-1 forward who will play at the University of Vermont next season, averaged 22.6 points and 9.4 rebounds a game while leading Deering to a 19-2 record and top seeding in Western Maine Class A.

McFarland Q & A
Q: How do you feel about being named Mr. Maine Basketball? Were you surprised?

A: "It’s rewarding to be recognized as Mr. Basketball this season. There were many deserving players of this award throughout the state this year including the other two finalists; Graham Safford of Hampden Academy and Bowen Leary of Edward Little High. I felt that either three of us could have been named Mr. Basketball. I spent the majority of the banquet (in which the announcement was made) cracking jokes to my friends Graham Safford, Ray Bessette, and Josh Walker. I wasn’t concerned about who was going to win the award, because all of us players were enjoying a good meal, so I wasn’t necessarily surprised, but nervous about what I was going to say to the 400 people in attendance. It was gratifying to win the award, but if Graham or Bo were to be named Mr. Basketball it would have been equally as rewarding to see another great player/good kid to be presented with the award."

Q: What was the highlight of the season for you?

A: "Winning the state championship was easily the most memorable moment the year."

Q: What goals had you set for yourself and the team?

A: "Personally my focus was to lead an undefeated season this year, and we did that at 23-0. We overcame some adversity early in the year to accomplish that, which made this team stronger as well as more confident come playoff time."

Q: Who have been the greatest influences in your basketball career?

A: "Chronologically, I’ll begin with my Dad as he has pushed me to compete and play the game year round starting at a very young age. He recognized my passion for the game and provided me with opportunities to compete and play the game, whether he was coaching or driving me and my friends to AAU practice.

"Dan Gabriele is the father of the starting 2 guard on our High school team this year. Very much like my father he coached my friends from Camden and I since the age of 11. Dan piled the travel team known as “The Rock” into his black mini-van dozens of times to travel hours at a time in any direction where we could meet good competition. Jeff Hart took me under his wing in 2007 as my high school basketball coach. Coach Hart has molded me as a basketball player instilling confidence, awareness, and selflessness on the court. He has taught me that sacrifice is at times as rewarding as individual accomplishment. Looking back at myself as a freshman there are so many traits that I have attained through competing in the basketball program at Camden Hills (from then until now) that are very important to who I am as a player/person today. Carl Parker is my AAU coach of two year now and has influenced my mindset towards the game of basketball as well as life in general. Simply playing for Coach Parker has led me to become competitive to another dimension. I seek to play against the best and hope for the opportunity on any occasion which has been part of my decision to attend prep school in order to allow myself the opportunity to play at the highest level possible in the future. Coach Parker wants to see me reach my full potential with the game as much as anyone. His belief and confidence in me as a player has caused me to strive for more out of this game." Q: What other sports and/or activities do you enjoy?

A: "I’ve been around hunting and fishing throughout my childhood. When there’s time it’s good to get into the woods for a hunt or out in the boat for a few casts."

Q: How much interest did you get from colleges and when did it begin?

A: "I received interest from Bentley University (coached by Jay Lawson) in the spring of 2010. Coach Lawson was the first to directly contact me and begin discussion about a scholarship. Stonehill (coached by David McLaughlin) soon followed along with Saint Anselm (coached by Keith Dickson). Slight interest came from a few Division 1 schools scattered throughout the Patriot League along with the American East, however all offers were those Division 2 schools. A year of prep is not a definite indicator that I will strictly be looking for Division 1 schools. I’m comfortable with Bentley, Stonehill, and Saint Anselm’s as potential options for me in the fall of 2012."

Q: Where are you playing next season?

A: "I will attend Cushing Academy in Ashburnham, Mass next year."

Q: What sort of role do you expect to play in college and how have you prepared for it?

A: "In attending prep school one of my goals is to expand my game from 17-18 feet out to beyond the 3-point arc with much consistency. I feel that I’m more than capable of doing that, however it is going to require a rigorous work schedule."

Q: What are you doing this spring and summer to further your basketball career?

A: "I will be playing for an AAU basketball team based out of Central Maine coached by Carl Parker."

Q: Where do you feel you need to improve on most?

A: "The consistency in my three point shooting must improve as well as my lateral quickness."

Q: What has basketball meant to you? Why do you enjoy it?

A: "Basketball has been a great outlet for me. My experiences with the sport have been great, and I’m eager for 5 more years of competing. I’ve become more independent because of the experiences and decisions that I have faced as a teen. Basketball has up and down side but the competition and feeling of accomplishment after winning a game/championship is what keeps me motivated."

Q: What will you miss most about playing at Camden Hills?

A: "I’ll miss everyone involved in the program. As a young kid I traveled to Bangor Auditorium with my friends to watch the High School tournament games. My greatest aspiration was to be playing under Coach Hart with my close friends competing for a state championship with the band playing and fans screaming. There’s so much pride within the program. Any player would want their full town in a barricade surrounding their bus as they drive home from a state championship win."

Kayla Burchill Q & A

Q: How do you feel about being named Miss Maine Basketball? Were you surprised?

A: "It is a great accomplishment to be named miss basketball, when I found out I was very excited. I knew I was up against two great basketball players [Nicole Taylor and Becca Knight]."

Q: What was the highlight of the season for you?

A: "I can't think of one moment that stood out to me, but I can say I am proud of what we accomplished this season. Nobody thought we would come as far as we did. I think we proved a lot of people wrong. Stealing the No. 1 seed and being one point shy of the western champions. I don't think we regret anything because we all worked hard."

Q: Who have been the greatest influences in your basketball career?

A: "Both my mom and dad have been big supporters through out my career but my dad, since the age of about 1 he had a basketball in my hand. He never forced me to play, I just loved it since I was little. Having him talking about his career and seeing other family members accomplish so many thing made me want to work that much harder and become the best I could."

Q: How much interest did you get from colleges and when did it begin?

A: "Colleges started becoming interested about my sophomore year AAU season. That summer is when I started doing several college visits so I knew I would choose the best fit for me."

Q: Why University of Vermont?

A: "When we heard former Colby coach Lori McBride got the job my parents immediately thought I should visit and just check it out but before we got to it she ended up calling and wanting me to come visit. When I was down there I just knew it was the right fit for me. The campus is beautiful. The coaches and team made me feel so comfortable and were very welcoming. I loved everything about it."

Q: What sort of role do you expect to play in college and how have you prepared for it?

A: "I plan on playing a guard in college, but if I get a girl smaller than me I can post up, too. I have things I can work on which is a good thing because it's only going to make me better."

Q: What are you doing this spring and summer to further your basketball career?

A: "I will be attending the Basketball Academy is Portland run by Dudley Davis that I have gone to for years to work on different things before I leave for Vermont."

Q: Where do you feel you need to improve on most?

A: "There's always room for improvement in every area, but my quickness is definitely something I will be working on over the next few months."

Q: What has basketball meant to you? Why do you enjoy it?

A: "Basketball has always been a big part of my life growing up. My summers were spent traveling to different tournaments with the New England Crusaders. It's just a fun game, you can play almost anywhere. It's one of those things you can do all year round, and for me I never get sick of it."

Q: What will you miss most about playing at Deering?

A: "I will miss my teammates more than anything. I have become so close with all of them. We get along so well, rarely do you get that from 11 girls.
We all knew what we wanted this season and even though we fell one point short, I think we represented our school well. They have taught me a lot about being a team and working together."

Hockey titles decided
Class A
Thornton Academy 4, Lewiston 3, 2OT: C.J Maksut deflected home a shot by Sam Canales with 1:27 left in the second overtime to give the Golden Trojans of Saco their first state championship. They finished at 17-5-0 and knocked off defending state champion Biddeford in the Western Maine final. Lewiston (18-2-2) was gunning for its 21st state title but now has lost in its last five appearances in the championship game.

Class B
York 4, Brewer 3, OT: Anthony Figlioli’s goal from behind the net gave York the win over defending state champion Brewer and its first-ever state championship. The Wildcats finished at 16-5-0 while Brewer closed at 19-1-1.