Boston High School: Alexa Coulombe

New England Roundup: Maine

April, 23, 2012
4/23/12
11:37
PM ET
Mt. Blue boys basketball coach Jim Bessey retired recently after 37 years with the Cougars. Bessey, who also coached at Madison Memorial High School, leaves with 479 wins. This year’s team reached the Eastern Maine Class A championship game where it lost to Hampden 46-44.

MaineBessey, 68, led the Cougars to the Eastern Maine title in 1997. He answered some questions regarding his team and coaching philosophy.

Q: Who were your early influences in the game?

A: "My high school coach, Rod Shain. My whole life has been connected with sports. It was and always has been my niche. I played for a small high school and had the physical ability to excel and the internal desire to win. Coach brought this out in me."

Q: How did you first get into coaching?

A: "I started out as a JV coach at Farmington High School."

Q: When did you start to feel comfortable as a coach and why?

A: "I have always been comfortable as a coach and I knew in the sixth grade that it was I wanted to do. I think my comfort level has always been connected to my ability to relate to my players."

Q: How would you describe your coaching philosophy?

A: "It has always been to get players to work together as a team and to make them understand that everyone on the team can and must make a contribution for the team to be successful. Every player has the ability to make the team better. That little things are important. To convince them that playing and practicing hard are talents."

Q: Where did it come from?

A: "I developed it over time."

Q: Who were your coaching role models?

A: "At the high school level Dick Hunt (Cony), Bob Brown (Cheverus), Tom Maines (Morse, Scarborough). At the college level Dick Whitmore (Colby), Dick Meader (Farmington) , Ed Kohtala (Maine), Steve Clifford (Orlando Magic)."

Q: How has the game changed and how have you adapted to it?

A: "The inability to score the ball-which may be related to more aggressive defense. This demands better ballhandling skills and more time has to be spent on it. More drills."

Q: What do you believe is the key to a successful basketball program?

A: "The key is to get young people to commit to the time it takes to be good."

Q: What will you miss most?

A: "The contact with the players and the coaches and the relationships developed as a result."

Q: How do you hope to be remembered as a coach?

A: "As someone who gave his best and always came prepared. As a coach who made a difference in the big picture of his players, who used sport to teach life lessons."

(Read full post)

New England Roundup: Maine

March, 2, 2012
3/02/12
3:20
PM ET
State championship matchups are set for this weekend for boys' and girls' basketball teams in four classes.

Here’s a rundown of the games:

Class A Boys
HAMPDEN (20-1) vs. DEERING (16-3)

MaineRegional finals: Both teams were tested in regional finals and won on last second shots. Hampden’s Brian Fickett scored on an inbounds play with two seconds left to give the Broncos a 56-54 win against Mt. Blue. Christian led Hampden with 14 points. Deering beat Bonny Eagle 45-42 in the Western final on Pat Green’s 3-pointer at the buzzer. Green paced the Rams with 17 points.

Matchup: Both teams have good overall size and experience. In addition to McCue, the Broncos are led by 6-foot-7 center Fred Knight, 6-6 forward Logan Poirier and Pat Gilpin. Besides Green, the Rams are led by 6-6 Labson Abwoch, 6-4 Thiwat Thiwat and guard Jon Amabile.

History: Deering last won a state title in 2006 when it beat Hampden, Hampden won in 2005 by beating Deering in the state final.

Class B Boys
GARDINER (19-2) vs. YARMOUTH (17-4)

Regional finals: Both teams upset unbeaten top seeds in the finals. Gardiner beat Mt, Desert Island 70-58 behind 23 points from Jake Palmer and 16 from Aaron Toman. Yarmouth knocked off Falmouth 56-50 behind 26 points from Chris Knaub and 12 from Josh Britten.

Matchup: The teams are similar in size and style of play. Gardiner relies on team defense and rebouding. Toman is the tallest player at 6-4 while Palmer has taken off in the playoffs, scoring 33 and 23 in his last two games. The Tigers have good rebounders in Alonzo Connor and Matt Hall. Yarmouth looks to Britten, its 1,000 point scorer, to carry the offense, but showed others, like Knaub, can contribute. Sam Torres is also a key team member.

History: This is Gardiner’s first-ever trip to the state championship while Yarmouth last played for a state tile (Class C) in 1973 and last won in 1968.

Class C Boys
DIRIGO (20-1) vs. Lee (19-2)

Regional finals: Dirigo cruised to a 69-38 win against third-seeded Boothbay. during the three-game tournament, the Cougars outscored their opponents by a average scored of 76-35. Lee got 25 points from Boubacar Diallo to knock off upset-minded Houlton 58-47.

Matchup: This is a rematch of last year’s state final, won by Lee, 65-55. Because it’s a private school, many of Lee’s players from last year moved on but they do have some valuable additions including Boubacar and D.J. Johnson. The Cougars, led by Cody St. Germain, Ben Holmes and Josh Turbide, return most of their team with a new coach Travis Magnusson in charge. They run and pressure the ball which should make for an entertaining game.

History: Last year’s state final win was the first-ever by Lee. Dirigo has appeared in each of the last three state games without a win. They last won a state championship in 1983.

Class D Boys
FOREST HILLS (18-3) vs. JONESPORT-BEALS (18-2)

Regional finals: Forest Hills pulled off one of the most dramatic comebacks in the history of the Western Maine tournament when it rallied from 19 points down late in the third quarter to defeat top-seeded Hyde 61-60. Junior Evan Worster led the Tigers with 33 points and set a tournament scoring record with 106 points in three games. Jonesport-Beals shot 62 percent from the field in stopping Deer Isle-Stonington 75-62. Garet Beal led the Royals with 20 points while Cole Beal scored 14.

Matchup: Jonesport-Beals has the history and experience on its side, not to mention size with a couple of 6-5 forwards in Garet Beal and Justin Alley. The Tigers have only eight players on their team — the school enrollment is 54 — and start three freshmen.

History: This is Forest Hills’ first-ever appearance in a state final while Jonesport-Beals is gunning for championship No. 10.

Class A Girls
CONY (21-0) vs. MCAULEY (21-0)
Regional finals: Cony got past No. 2 seeded Edward Little 46-41 behind 17 points from Mia Diplock who scored two key baskets down the stretch. McAuley coasted to a 61-43 win against second-seeded Scarborough. Allie Clement led the Lions with 19 points and seven assists while Olivia Smith added 15 and tournament MVP Alexa Coulombe scored eight points, grabbed seven rebounds and had seven steals.

Matchup: The Lions are the defending state champs and enjoy a decided height advantage with Coulombe and Smith, both 6-2, in the lineup. Cony relies on the guard play of Diplock and junior Josie Lee and a host of three-point shooters. Both teams like an uptempo game.

History: Cony is making its sixth appearance in a state final since 2002 while McAuley is making its fifth. The Rams defeated McAuley for the title in 2007.

Class B Girls
PRESQUE ISLE (21-0) vs. LAKE REGION
Regional finals: After losing in the final the past two years to Nokomis, Presque Isle finally broke through and downed the Warriors 52-40 behind 13 points from Chandler Guerette and 11 from Hannah Graham. Lake Region defeated Greely 46-30 behind 22 points from Sydney Hancock and 14 rebounds from Tianna-Jo Cater.

Matchup: Presque Isle averaged 70 points a game during the regular season and would like to push the pace while a slower pace would favor Lake Region.

History: The teams last played for a state championship in 2006 when Presque Isle defeated lake Region 48-36. Lake Region last won a title in 1975.

Class C Girls
HALL-DALE (18-3) vs., CENTRAL (18-3)
Regional finals: Top-seeded Hall-Dale knocked off No. 7 Waynflete behind 16 points and some big plays down the stretch from Carylanne Wolfington. Central beat Stearns 42-41 in overtime behind 21 points from freshman Brianna Skolfield and nine from Sam Brownell.

Matchup: Hall-Dale is the defending state champion but a different team with the graduation of center Taylor Massey. Wolfington is a Miss Basketball finalist and a versatile player who can score inside and out. Central relies on defense and will likely assign Max McHugh to guard Wolfington.

History: Hall-Dale won its first state title since 1986 last season while Central last won in 1982.

Class D Girls
RICHMOND (20-1) vs. WASHBURN (20-1)

Regional finals: Richmond junior Jamie Plummer scored 21 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to led the Bobcats past Rangeley 46-33. Freshman Mackenzie Worcester scored 20 points and Carsyn Koch added 19 as the beavers flew past Hodgdon 68-44.

Matchup: The game is a rematch of last year’s state final won by Washburn 43-40. The Beavers will press, run and try to quicken the pace of the game while the Bobcats would like to slow things down and get the ball inside to Plummer and six-footer Alyssa Pearson.

History: This will be Richmond’s seventh appearance in a state final but the Bobcats have yet to win one. Washburn won its fourth championship last year.

TOURNAMENT RECORDS
Waynflete junior Martha Veroneau and Forest Hills junior Evan Worster each set tournament records last week at the Augusta Civic Center. Veroneau, a 5-7 guard, scored 47 points against Boothbay to break the single-game Class C tournament record of 45 set by Boothbay’s Katie Sibley. Veroneau also connected on nine 3-pointers to break her own tournament record of seven in a single game.

Worster scored 51 points in a quarterfinal win against A.R. Gould to set a single game Class D record of 45 set by A.R. Gould’s Ian Nono. Worster, a 6-3 forward also set a new tournament scoring record of 106 points, breaking Buckfield’s Paul Bessey’s mark of 96.

New England Roundup: Maine

December, 30, 2010
12/30/10
5:51
PM ET
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.
Maine
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Bangor
  7. Mountain Valley
  8. Ellsworth
  9. Scarborough
  10. Greely
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
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Hampden
  7. Leavitt
  8. Skowhegan
  9. Medomak
  10. Gorham
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.
  1. Lewiston
  2. St. Dom’s
  3. Biddeford
  4. Falmouth
  5. Brewer
  6. Thornton
  7. Greely
  8. Bangor
  9. Houlton/Hodgdon
  10. Edward Little

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