Boston High School: York (Maine)

Northeast 7v7: Prep claims North title

July, 19, 2014
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EXETER, N.H. -- James DiBenedetto had a hard time getting on the field when the St. John’s Prep football team had the ball last season. It’s unlikely the same will be true this fall.

DiBenedetto, a 6-foot-4 wide receiver, caught a touchdown pass and another pass for a two-point conversion to help St. John’s Prep defeat Tewksbury 16-8 to win the Under Armour 7-on-7 tournament’s North Regional on Saturday.

“We still have a strong running team here, but coach (Brian) St. Pierre likes to throw the ball,” DiBenedetto said. “As you can see, we’re a pretty strong with passing. It’s good to win this. This really shows how much chemistry the team has.”

DiBenedetto, who will be a senior this season, is a Topsfield resident who played primarily safety and outside linebacker last season.

“It was hard to find an offensive position for him last year,” said Mike O’Leary (son of former St. John’s Prep coach Jim O’Leary), who coached the Eagles in the 7-on-7 event. “There was a senior at the X (wide receiver) last year, so he was all over the map (on defense). This year he’s moving to the offensive side of the ball.”

DiBenedetto was part of a deep group of receivers that seemed to separate St. John’s Prep from most of the competition Saturday. That group included 6-foot-4 tight end Jake Burt, wide receiver Michael Calascibetta and wide receiver Owen Rockett. Burt also caught a TD pass against Tewksbury. Rockett capped the scoring with a two-point-conversion catch.

Calascibetta is known as “Gloves” because he once was the only player to wear gloves to a quarterback/receiver camp. Burt, a Lynnfield resident, committed to Boston College in April. He said Virginia and Harvard were also in the picture when he chose BC.

“I wanted to play a higher level of football than the Ivy League, so BC was everything I wanted in a school,” Burt said. “It’s always good to start off the season with a win, no matter what kind of football it is. It’s still football.”

St. John’s Prep, which used both A.J. Carrigan and Oliver Eberth at quarterback, also won the North Regional last year, when the Eagles went on to win the tournament championship. Carrigan was with St. John’s Prep last season. Eberth is a transfer from Andover.

St. John’s Prep went 3-1 in pool play, and then won single-elimination games against Marshwood (South Berwick, Maine), Danvers and York, Maine, to reach the championship game. The tournament featured 40 teams.

“Our quarterback play was good,” O’Leary said. “They did just what we asked them to do. Between James and Jake, those are two very tall, tall kids. Very tough to cover for small corners out there.”

Championship bound: By reaching the North Regional’s championship game, St. John’s Prep and Tewksbury each advanced to the New England championship, which will be held July 30 at Bishop Fenwick High School (4 p.m.).

The New England championship will feature 10 teams: the finalists from each of the three regionals, plus four wildcard teams. The South Regional will be held today at Oliver Ames High School in North Easton, and the East Regional will be July 26 at Bishop Fenwick.

Jaguars make strong statement: Windham (N.H.) handed St. John’s Prep its only loss. The Jaguars were led by 6-foot-2, 215-pound quarterback Brendan McInnis, who will be one of the top QBs in New Hampshire next season.

Dartmouth, Brown, Merrimack College, Holy Cross and the University of New Hampshire are among the schools that have shown interest in McInnis.

“Dartmouth has emerged as the frontrunner,” McInnis said. “Right now I’m focused on getting to UNH (the site of New Hampshire’s state championship games), then I’ll try to make a decision.”

Windham won its first five games before it lost to Tewksbury in the quarterfinals.

New digs, same success: Former Longmeadow coach Alex Rotsko led Marshwood to a 4-0 record in pool play, but the Hawks were eliminated by St. John’s Prep in the Round of 16.

Longmeadow had a 184-38 record in Rotsko’s 19 seasons as head coach. He guided Longmeadow to 15 consecutive Super Bowl appearances.

“You get a lot of work on both sides of the ball,” Rotsko said when he was asked about the value on 7-on-7 events. “This is a great opportunity to work on your pass game, work on your defense and also to look at personnel. The big thing is you don’t waste a week or two weeks in preseason having a kid playing in some position he’s not going to be able to play. It saves you a ton of time.”

Marshwood lost to Kennebunk in last year’s Western Maine Class B championship game, and is expected to be one of the top teams in Class B this year.

“We hope to be in the thick of it again,” Rotsko said.

New England Roundup: Maine

May, 31, 2013
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On May 16, a Foxcroft batter was hit by a pitch in a game against Hermon. Within a couple weeks, Hermon had a new baseball coach.

MaineNumerous media outlets have suggested that those two events are related. According to the Bangor Daily News, Foxcroft led 7-1 in the fifth inning and needed four runs to end the game by the 10-run mercy rule.

With one out, Brooks Law put down a suicide squeeze to score Foxcroft's ninth run. Law reached first on the play, then stole second and third. The batter was hit by the next pitch.

"It did seem suspicious because they were clearly getting very frustrated and it felt like the pitcher really reared back and put something extra on that pitch," Foxcroft coach Mark Chevalier told the BDN.

Aaron Brideau is no longer Hermon's coach. Junior varsity coach Justin Perry coached the hawks in their final regular season game. In his article about the incident, BDN writer Ernie Clark wrote, "The coaching change is believed to be related to the circumstances involving a batter hit by a pitch" in the game in question.

NEW DEFINITION OF PITCHER'S PARK
Madison High completed an undefeated softball season Wednesday with a 7-2 victory over Oak Hill. The Bulldogs are 16-0, and will go in as the No. 1 seed in Western C.

One of Madison's stars is junior pitcher Emily McKenney. With McKenney leading the way, the Bulldogs allowed only 27 runs during the regular season.

But other than the undefeated record, the highlight of Madison's season was a recent home game against Oak Hill. In the top of the first inning, Oak Hill batter Jamie Prue noticed McKenney seemed unusually close. When somebody brought out a tape measure before the fourth inning, it was discovered that the pitcher's plate was 40 feet away, not the regulation 43 feet.

"I got up there," Prue told the Kennebec Journal, "and I remember I squared up to the plate, and I was like, 'She's on top of me.' Three feet is a big difference in softball, and obviously, it was very noticeable. I could tell just by how she was leaping out of the circle. It was unbelievable how close she was."

McKenney, who is a strong candidate for the Moluntain Valley Conference's Player of the Year award, said she believed the pitcher's plate had been at 40 feet all season.

"I definitely told my stepdad at other away games, 'I feel really far away when I pitch,'" McKenney told the KJ. "But I never thought anything of it."

It should be noted that McKenney has pitched -- and hit -- well in both home and road games this spring.

FRIEDLAND, LEAVITT WIN TENNIS SINGLES TITLES
Lincoln's Jordan Friedland defended his state singles title, but Falmouth's Olivia Leavitt upset No. 1 seed and defending champion Maisie Silverman of Brunswick in the state tennis singles tournaments.

Friedland, the No. 1 seed, lost a total of 14 games in his five matches during the tournament. He defeated No. 2 seed Brendan McCarthy of Falmouth, 6-3, 6-0, in the finals.

Silverman rolled through her first four matches, as she lost only six games combined. But in the finals, Leavitt posted a 6-1, 6-1 victory.

That matched appeared to turn in the third game of the first set. Silverman was trailing and appeared to hit a winner and yelled a short burst of encouragement to herself. But Leavitt returned the ball, and then complained that Silverman broke the rules by shouting during play. Silverman was given a warning, and Leavitt went on to win the next eight games.

"After that I feel like I wasn't as focused as I was in the beginning," Silverman told the BDN. "But she played really well. She really didn't miss a shot at all."

A happier moment came on the first day of the Round of 48. In a second-round match, Johnny Xue of George Stevens Academy was looking a match point for a straight-sets win. Xue retired at that point because he would have been unavailable for his third-round match two days later. That enabled York's Andrew LaMonica to advance to the next round, where he lost to McCarthy, 6-3, 6-3.

The lightest moment of the tournament came when North Yarmouth Academy's Burke Paxton outlasted Cape Elizabeth's Peter Higgins, 6-7 (6), 7-6 (3), 6-4 in a three-hour match.

After reporting the score, Paxton said to the tournament directors, in reference to his next match later that afternoon, "How long do I have? An hour? Let's push it to the last second possible."

New England Roundup: Maine

March, 6, 2013
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Like any old building, it has its flaws. It's cold and drafty sometimes, and way too hot other times. Everyone's relieved when the roof doesn't leak during games, or when a week of basketball tournament games goes on as scheduled without any old parts breaking down.

MaineBut the Bangor Auditorium, which hosted its last high school basketball tournament game on March 1, has history on its side.

The basketball part of the arena, of course, is old-fashioned. There are Maine high school tournaments at the Augusta Civic Center and the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland. In Augusta, the concession stands are behind one of the baskets, creating a depth perception problem that knocks some teams right out of the tournament. In Portland, the seats are so far away that watching a game from the front row is like trying to watch your neighbor across the street.

At the Bangor Auditorium, everything is enclosed. There is little space behind the baskets or out of bounds, so the sound bounces off the walls loud enough that it can be impossible to hear the person talking next you.

“To this day, I wonder how anyone can play in that atmosphere,” Lawrence coach Mike McGee told the Bangor Daily News. “It’s amazing to look straight up and see the crowd. Your mouth is dry, all you want to do is drink water, and it makes you wonder how all those great athletes were able to perform in that setting.

“Since we’ve gone to the [Augusta] Civic Center coaching hasn’t been the same for me,” McGee added. “The fans are so on top of you in Bangor. You hear a giant roar when you score and now it’s just silence by comparison. They can hear me all over the Civic Center, and back when we played in Bangor we had to use play cards because the players could never hear me.”

Several newspapers and television stations have done tributes to the Auditorium over the past couple weeks. As the BDN wrote, “The Bangor Auditorium is filled with the echos of the basketball heroes it created, from Mike Thurston making a halfcourt shot as time expired to win the 1969 Class LL state championship for Caribou to Joe Campbell’s buzzer-beating basket that rallied Bangor past Deering of Portland for the 2001 Class A crown.”

Campbell's shot is one of the most famous in state history. He came from the other side of the basket to get a rebound and reverse layup just before the buzzer (Many still insist Bangor got a few extra seconds on the play because the clock operator was slow to re-start the clock.). Within a couple seconds, the floor was covered with Bangor fans. During this year's Eastern A boys tournament, Hampden freshman Nick Gilpin hit a 30-footer to beat Lawrence at the buzzer – a shot that made SportsCenter's list of Top 10 plays for the night. A group of adults formed a wall to make sure the Hampden fans didn't rush the court. No one thought to do anything like that in Bangor.

Maine has long had a problem keeping its high school graduates in the state or even in the area. That's especially true when you get north of the Portland area. Many big schools have seen their enrollment drop over the last 20 or 30 years. Presque Isle used to be in Class A and is now a normal-sized Class B school. Waterville has around 1,500 students in the late 1970s, and now has well under half that.

But even with the economy faltering and the small towns getting smaller, they still had the Bangor Auditorium.

"So many people, when they say 'That's the worst place to play,' they're not from northern Maine or eastern Maine,” Lindsey Welch, who played at Nokomis and now coaches at Winslow, told the Morning Sentinel. “They don't know. I would get so defensive about the place. It's like family."

MR., MISS MAINE BASKETBALL SEMIFINALISTS NAMED
The 10 semifinalists for the Mr. and Miss Basketball Awards were announced recently, with the winners to be announced on Friday, March 8.

On the boys' side, the semifinalists are Garet Beal of Jonesport-Beals, Spencer Carey of Lawrence, Anthony DiMauro of Boothbay, Charlie Fay of Falmouth, Quin Leary of Edward Little, Garrett Libby of Old Town, John Murray of Medomak Valley, Aaron Todd of York, Mitch Worcester of Washburn, and Evan Worster of Forest Hills.

Beal is one of the favorites, even though his Jonesport-Beals team was stunned by Easton in the Eastern D tournament.

On the girls' side, the semifinalists are Leavitt's Kristen Anderson, York's Emily Campbell, Dexter's Lauren Crane, Presque Isle's Chandler Guerrette, Lake Region's Sydney Hancock, Camden Hills' Jordan Knowlton, Cony's Josie Lee, Gorham's Kristin Ross, Waynflete's Martha Veroneau, and Orono's Jillian Woodward.

Only three of those players are taking part in state championship games this weekend. Guerrette and Hancock will face off as Presque Isle takes on Lake Region in a rematch of last year's Class B state final, won by Presque Isle in a squeaker. In the Class C final, Veroneau and Waynflete will play Calais for the Gold Ball.

The biggest omission on the girls' side was probably Richmond's Jamie Plummer, who led the Bobcats to the regional title for the third consecutive year.

TWO PLUS TWO ON THE SIDELINES FOR EASTERN A GIRLS FINAL
The Eastern A girls' basketball final between No. 2 Bangor and No. 9 Cony was notable not just for Cony's run from the last seed, but also because both coaches – Bangor's Katie Herbine and Cony's Karen Magnusson – are pregnant.

Herbine – who is so animated on the sidelines she makes Jonathan Papelbon look subdued – is nearly six months along, while Magnusson is a little over four months into her pregnancy. Both were standout players at their current schools as high school athletes.

The game was anticlimactic. Bangor had a height advantage and outrebounded Cony, 54-29, in a 57-43 victory.

New England Roundup: Maine

October, 26, 2011
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Madison Memorial High School senior Seth Sweet has established himself as the top high school golfer in the state.

MaineSweet recently won his second straight Class C state individudal title, shooting a 2-under par 70, the lowest in any class. Last summer he was one of two Maine golfers to qualify for the U.S. Junior Amateur. He also finished fourth in the Maine Amateur last year and, when he was 12, he was the youngest qualifier ever for that tournament. He recently answered questions about himself and the game he loves.

Q: How did you get started in golf?

A: "My dad introduced me into the game when I was 2 years old. He brought me out to a little par three course with a plastic set of Little Tikes golf clubs. I didn’t play that often but he brought me to the golf course just enough so I could really get a liking for this game. After a while I knew there was something about this game that was special and I knew it would be able to take me places."

Q: When did you first get hooked on the game?

SWEET
SWEET
A: "I first became serious around the age of 10. I played my first tournament when I was 7 but did not realize what it took to really become an elite golfer. I started playing several tournaments when I turned 10, and began to practice a lot harder. I tried to take my game to the next level and set different levels of goals that I needed to achieve."

Q: Who have been your greatest influences in the game?

A: "My dad has definitely been the biggest influence in my game. He taught me everything I needed to know to become who I am today. He made it so I could play in every tournament I wanted to play in, and would do everything for me. My mother has also been there supporting me and always telling me that if I want it I can get it. She is always there to watch me play tournaments, and I couldn’t do it without them. My brother Zack also has been there to push me as he is a good golfer and always taught me how to act, as well as made me the best I could ever be. My swing coach has also been able to bring me to the tip top in my game and has taught me how to play this game like the pros.

Q: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment to date?

A: "I believe my greatest accomplishment has been making the U.S. Junior Amateur in Bremerton, Washington where I played two great days to make a playoff to make the cut for match play. Unfortunately, I missed the playoff, but was the proudest to place 55th best junior in the nation. I may not have met my goal, but was very pleased with how I played."

Q: How often do you play and practice?

A: "I play every day and practice every day. In order to be the best you have to have the club in your hand acting like it is your lifeline."

Q: What do you work on?

A: "Lately I work on the short game because I am able to hit the ball on the green, but where I am going to save strokes is making the putts for birdies. I will also work on hitting the ball in different shapes, I usually hit a draw but I understand that I need to be able to hit the cut to be one of the best as well. I believe that short game is where the pros make it look easy and win the tournaments."

Q: Where will you attend school next year?

A: "I have recently just verbally committed to Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia."

Q: How did this come about?

A: "I had a friend from Rhode Island who is a freshman there and had told the coach about me. He must have put in a good word for me because the next week I got a call from the coach and it eventually led to an official visit offer. I visited the campus and fell in love with it and
fell in love with the golf facilities this school has to offer."

Q: What are your short and long-term goals in the game?

A: "My short term goal for golf is to really become a better player and win my state amateur, and qualify for the U.S. Junior Amateur again. My long term goals are to become a golf professional and play on the PGA tour, I do realize this will be a tough task but I am ready to make a run for it. I also want to be in a scoring spot all four years in college and be a key asset in our successful team.

Q: What are your strengths and weaknesses?

A: "My strengths are definitely being able to drive the ball, chip the ball and putt the ball. I hit the ball about 290 yards down the middle and my short game has grown incredibly and improved greatly. I also am able to keep a great state of mind while playing golf which is to my advantage. I believe my weakness is paying too much attention to other people, I shouldn’t watch my competitors, but I do and get caught up in their game a little too much."

Q: Who is your favorite pro golfer and why?

A: "My favorite player used to be Tiger Woods because I idolized his work ethic, he won his tournaments by out-working his competitors and there was no question that he did every week. I also loved watching how he worked on the golf course he made himself expect the best of the competitors so he would not be surprised when they hit a good shot. My new favorite player is Bubba Watson, I enjoy how he hits the ball so long and is changing the game with his stride in great length. I also like how he has fun while he is playing and is very personable while he is playing. It is truly an awesome thing for him to be able to enjoy the game the way he does."

Q: What other activities or sports do you enjoy?

A: "I enjoy playing basketball with a passion; it is a very fun game for me and keeps me in shape during my long winter up in Maine. I enjoy running, and weight lifting as it keeps me in shape and I enjoy doing that every day."

Q: What are your plans for the summer before college?

A: "I plan on playing in 5-10 golf tournaments and practice my short game and the little details golf demands you to do. I am going to play in the big tournaments in the state and going to qualify for some USGA events. I just want to keep my competitive edge and make my game in fine tune for the fall college season."

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New England Roundup: Maine

September, 14, 2011
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The first two weeks of the Maine high school football season produced a number of surprises.

MaineHere’s a rundown of some of the highlights in each of the three classes:

Class A
Cheverus keeps rolling along despite the loss of several players from last year’s state championship team. Senior Cam Olson stepped in at quarterback after playing behind Fitzpatrick Trophy winner Peter Gwilym for two years and last week threw three touchdown passes. Spencer Cooke, who scored four TDs in the state game last fall, has emerged as one of the state’s top running backs. The Stags are 2-0 and have outscored opponents 94-21.

Lawrence keeps rolling along in Class A’s Pine Tree Conference. The Bulldogs traveled to Bangor and knocked off the Rams 32-25 last Saturday night to go to 2-0. Shaun Carroll led the way with 224 rushing yards and four touchdowns, Lawrence has won its last 11 regular season games, dating back to a 2009 loss to Bangor. Prior to that, the Bulldogs had won 36 regular season games in a row. They are 8-1 against Bangor since 2005.

Many high school handicappers picked Bonny Eagle and Windham among the teams to beat in North Division of the Southern Maine Activities Association (SMAA), but both teams are winless after two weeks. Windham fell 28-20 to a strong Deering team last week while Bonny Eagle fell, 31-28, to upstart Massabesic. Lewiston, one of the PTC favorites, dropped to 1-1, losing 48-27 to Messalonskee, another team that has emerged as a contender. Along with Massabesic, Sanford is the surprise of the SMAA South. Last week, the Redskins knocked off a good Scarborough team 23-12 for one of its biggest wins in years.

Class B
This class is the most competitive in the state at least at the top where four teams in each of the two divisions are unbeaten. Included in those ranks are the two teams who met in the state final last fall, Mountain Valley and Leavitt. Mountain Valley has outscored opponents 81-23 so far while Leavitt, led by quarterback and linebacker Jordan Hersom, holds an 83-12 advantage over opponents.

Mt. Blue may be the most dangerous contender in the class. The Cougars dropped down from several years in Class A this season and in two games have outscored the opposition 87-6. Falmouth, Wells and Fryeburg are also 2-0 as are Waterville and Gardiner. The latter two teams meet Friday night in Gardiner. Waterville must find a way to stop running back Alonzo Connor who is looking to eclipse his total of 31 touchdowns form last year. In two games so far, Connor has scored 10 touchdowns.

Falmouth, which has outscored opponents 98-7 plays this week against Marshwood.

Class C
Foxcroft Academy and Yarmouth are the talk of Class C so far. They play in different divisions and don’t meet in the regular season, but could well square off for a state championship in November. Yarmouth is the defending state champ and so far the Clippers have scored 92 points and allowed seven. Foxcroft has been equally impressive outscoring opponents 108-8. There are contenders in each division. Bucksport, Orono and John Bapst are all 2-0 in the Little Ten Conference headed by Foxcroft while Freeport and Lisbon are unbeaten the Campbell Conference South along with Yarmouth.

Maranacook and Winslow are 2-0 in the Campbell’s North division and play this week in Winslow. The Black Raiders dropped down to Class C this season and are cruising so far, but they’ll face a big test in Maranacook and 6-foot-4, 210-pound running back Luke Emery.

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Andover's Boudreau named Gatorade Player of the Year

March, 10, 2011
3/10/11
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The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with ESPN RISE, today announced Nicole Boudreau of Andover High School as its 2010-11 Gatorade Massachusetts Girls Basketball Player of the Year. Boudreau is the first Gatorade Massachusetts Girls Basketball Player of the Year to be chosen from Andover High School.

The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court, distinguishes Boudreau as Massachusetts’s best high school girls basketball player. She is now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year award announced in March.

The 5-foot-8 junior guard led the Warriors to a 23-1 record entering the Division 1 North Sectional semifinals against Central Catholic High, scheduled for March 9. At the time of her selection, Boudreau was averaging 22.3 points, 7.9 rebounds, 6.0 steals, 4.8 assists and 2.7 blocks per game. The 2011 Merrimack Valley Conference Player of the Year, she had connected on 85 three-pointers at the time of her selection and had scored 1,511 career points.

Boudreau has maintained a 4.0 weighted GPA in the classroom. An elite teen golfer who is the junior champion at Andover Country Club, she has volunteered locally as a youth basketball coach and tutor.

Boudreau has verbally committed to play basketball on scholarship at Boston College beginning in the fall of 2012.

Boudreau joins recent Gatorade Massachusetts Girls Basketball Players of the Year Lauren Battista (2009-10, Oliver Ames), Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir (2008-09, New Leadership Charter School), and Felicia Barron (2007-08, Springfield Central) among the state’s list of former award winners.

Below are the winners from the five other New England states:

CONNECTICUT: KATIE MAHONEY, BACON ACADEMY

The 5-foot-10 senior guard has led the Bobcats to a 25-0 record and a berth in the semifinals of the Class L state tournament against Hillhouse, scheduled for March 11. At the time of her selection, Mahoney was averaging 22.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 3.1 steals per game. An All-State selection in 2010, she’s also a three-time All-Eastern Connecticut Conference choice.

Mahoney has maintained an A-plus average in the classroom and represents one of the state’s top academic candidates in meeting the Gatorade Award’s broad criteria. She has volunteered locally on behalf of the American Red Cross, and has raised funds to benefit cancer research and Haitian relief organizations.

Mahoney remains undecided regarding a collegiate destination.

Mahoney joins recent Gatorade Connecticut Girls Basketball Players of the Year Kastine Evans (2009-10, Norwich Free Academy), Symone Roberts (2008-09, New Britain), and Heather Buck (2007-08, Stonington) among the state’s list of former award winners.

RHODE ISLAND: KELLY MANNIX, BARRINGTON

The 5-foot-10 senior guard and forward averaged 15.4 points, 12.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 3.8 steals and 1.1 blocks per game this past season, leading the Eagles (23-2) to the Division I state semifinals. A 2010 First Team All-State selection and the 2009 Division II Player of the Year, Mannix connected on 47.7 percent of her field goals including 14-of-22 shots from 3-point range. She concluded her prep basketball career with 1,395 points and 1,007 rebounds.

Mannix has maintained a 4.02-unweighted GPA in the classroom. She has volunteered locally as part of fundraising campaigns to benefit Barrington High athletics in addition to serving as a youth basketball coach and counselor.

Mannix has signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball on scholarship at Adelphi University in New York this fall.

Mannix joins recent Gatorade Rhode Island Girls Basketball Players of the Year Allie Jones (2009-10, South Kingstown), Torey Jones (2008-09, La Salle Academy), and Brittany Wilson (2007-08, St. Mary Academy-Bay View) among the state’s list of former award winners.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: DANIELLE WALCZAK, OYSTER RIVER

The 6-foot-1 senior center averaged 19.2 points, 8.9 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 3.5 blocks and 3.3 steals per game this past season, leading the Bobcats (14-6) to the Division II state quarterfinals. The two-time returning Class I Player of the Year as named by the New Hampshire Basketball Coaches Organization, Walczak recorded a 72.0 field-goal percentage. She produced 16.6 points and 11.4 rebounds per contest as a junior in addition to leading Oyster River to the 2009 Class I state title as a sophomore. Walczak captured 2009 and 2010 Class I First team All-State honors.

Walczak has maintained a 4.00 GPA in the classroom and ranks No. 6 in her graduating class. An active member of her church community, she has donated her time as a youth basketball instructor, as part of a youth literacy-outreach program and on behalf of the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

Walczak has signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball on scholarship at the University of Maine this fall.

Walczak joins recent Gatorade New Hampshire Girls Basketball Player of the Year, three-time winner Tiffany Ruffin (2007-08, 2008-09 & 2009-10, Winnacunnet) among the state’s list of former award winners.

MAINE: NIKI TAYLOR, YORK

The 6-foot senior center and forward averaged 16 points, 9.3 rebounds, three steals and 2.1 assists per game this past season while shooting 60 percent from the floor and leading the Wildcats to the Class B regional final. The state’s returning Gatorade Girls Basketball Player of the Year, Taylor became York High’s career scoring leader, finishing with 1,442 points, breaking the previous mark of 1,413, set by Lani Boardman from 1997 to 2001.

Taylor has maintained a 92.1-percent average in the classroom. She has volunteered locally on behalf of her town’s parks and recreation department in addition to donating her time as an elementary school tutor and youth basketball coach

“Niki Taylor’s stats and awards speak for themselves, but they do not do justice to the work ethic and leadership she has supplied to our program,” said York High Head Coach Rick Clark. “She works hard every chance she gets to make herself a better player.”

Taylor has signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball on scholarship at the University of Vermont this fall.

Two time winner Taylor joins recent Gatorade Maine Girls Basketball Players of the Year Morgan Frame (2008-09, Waterville) and Rachael Mack (2007-08, Cony) among the state’s list of former award winners.

VERMONT: KYLIE ATWOOD, LAKE REGION UNION

The 5-foot-4 junior guard has led the Rangers to a 20-1 record and a berth in the Division 3 semifinals against Oxbow, scheduled for March 10. Atwood averaged 19.2 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.1 steals per game before a knee injury ended her season prior to the state playoffs. She is a two-time Vermont Basketball Coaches Association Dream Dozen selection, a two-time First Team All-Mountain Division choice and was a Third Team Burlington Free Press All-State pick as a sophomore in 2010.

Atwood has maintained a B average in the classroom. She has volunteered locally on behalf of youth basketball programs.

Atwood has verbally committed to play basketball on scholarship at the University of Vermont and will begin her senior year of high school this fall.

Atwood joins recent Gatorade Vermont Girls Basketball Players of the Year Allison Gannon (2009-10, Champlain Valley Union), Tiffany Johnson (2008-09, Bellows Free Academy), and Alyssa Herrington (2007-08, Mt. Anthony Union) among the state’s list of former award winners.

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