Waterville’s Morgan Frame stands high above the rest for several reasons.
Among the 15 players named to the 33rd annual Bangor Daily News All-Maine girls basketball team, the 6-foot-1 senior center, who annexed Maine Gatorade Player of the Year and Miss Maine Basketball honors, is the lone returnee from the 2007-08 squad.
Joining Frame on the first team are York sophomore Nicole Taylor, Noble of North Berwick senior Sloane Sorrell, Deering of Portland senior Diana Manduca and Deering sophomore Kayla Burchill.
The second team is made up of Biddeford senior Aimee Mortensen, Brunswick senior Claire Baecher, Waterville junior Jennifer Nale, Massabesic of Waterboro senior Georgia Boisse and John Bapst of Bangor senior Samantha Gormley.
The third team is comprised of Fort Kent senior Emily Pelletier, Mount Abram of Salem senior Kenni Norton, George Stevens of Blue Hill senior Madeline Park, Penquis of Milo senior Erica Lyford and Scarborough junior Christy Manning.
The All-Maine team recognizes the state’s top 15 players, regardless of class, position or region, as selected by the BDN sports staff with input from coaches, officials and other basketball observers.
One voter dubbed FRAME “exceptional in every category,” and she certainly was just that for coach Ted Rioux’s Purple Panthers.
Not only did Frame post excellent stats of 21.4 points per game and 13.0 rebounds per game, she also closed her high school career on a 66-game winning streak and with three state championships, something not a lot of high school players can attest to.
“She’s been a leader for us for a couple years now, and even her sophomore year you could see the leadership start to develop,” said Rioux.
As John Bapst of Bangor found out the hard way in the Eastern Maine Class B final, Frame is arguably the state’s toughest matchup one-on-one.
“Every coach’s game plan [was] to try to take care of her. If you don’t, they’re going to beat you,” John Bapst coach Mike Webb said.
Frame added Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Player of the Year and Eastern Maine Class B tourney MVP laurels to her resume.
She honed her outside game over the summer, and that’s something she’ll look to do more as she prepares to play at Division II Saint Anslem (N.H.) in the fall.
With Frame graduating, York’s TAYLOR has serious potential, as most coaches put it, to be one of the top post players not just in Class B but statewide.
In fact, she and Frame have been teammates on the AAU’s New England Crusaders.
“Morgan was raving about her in practices, how good of a player she was,” Rioux said. “It’ll be shocking to see if she did anything but improve.”
The sophomore averaged a double-double for coach Rick Clark’s Wildcats (15.1 ppg, 11.6 rpg), and Taylor has the passion and love for the game to improve her skills even more.
“I think if she plays with the same attitude she has her first two years, she can only get better,” Clark said. “I think as long as that attitude is there, there’s going to be pretty solid improvement.”
In addition to being strong in the post, Taylor is a strong ball handler who can work opponents off the dribble.
MANDUCA is as tenacious as they come at the guard position and is a true leader.
“You can tell that she totally commands that respect of teammates and leads in a way that is positive and motivating,” said Noble coach Kyle Keenan. “I have not seen a better guard than Diana in the state.”
Manduca, who will play for Colby College in Waterville, posted numbers of 13.7 ppg and 4.0 rpg while earning first-team Southern Maine Activities Association honors.
“The last two years she did all the little things and did it on the defensive end and really set the tone,” said Deering coach Mike Murphy. “She had a huge heart and just got it done.”
She certainly got it done the last two years, as the Rams have won the last two Class A state championships.
Watch SORRELL play, and its pretty clear why Southern New Hampshire University offered the SMAA first-teamer a basketball scholarship.
Of course, that means she and Frame will be opponents in the Northeast-10 conference.
Sorrell averaged a double-double (16.0 ppg, 11.0 rpg) in addition to 3.5 steals and 2.5 blocks while amassing 1,195 career points at Noble and never missed a game.
Sorrell thought that Southern New Hampshire was a good fit.
“She had some Division I looks but probably would’ve had to sit at least a couple years. I think she’s definitely a kid that wants to play,” said Keenan, a Presque Isle native.
Along with York’s Taylor, BURCHILL is, according to many coaches and observers, the top underclassman in the state, and as one voter noted, some Division I schools are already showing interest.
The 6-2 sophomore center, who averaged 12.5 ppg and 6.5 rpg, has a vastly different style of play than that of Taylor.
“Taylor is more of a post player, Kayla is more of a wing player, believe it or not. She obviously had an advantage with her size in the post,” said Murphy.
Burchill and Manduca teamed up to make Deering a defensive powerhouse the last couple of seasons.
NALE teamed up with Frame to give Waterville a dynamic inside-outside duo the last three seasons, and Nale came up huge.
With defenses collapsing on Frame in the paint, Nale made a living on making opponents pay with her perimeter shooting.
“From our perspective we respected those girls very much, [but the] key person was Nale,” said Clark. “We respected her so much.”
Nale, who averaged 13.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg and compiled 32 steals, has yet to lose a game in her high school career.
She thrived defensively in Waterville’s vaunted full-court pressure.
Even though she stands 6-2, BAECHER is not a typical post player.
Not only can she attack the basket, Baecher also has the ability to work opponents off the dribble and hit the occasional outside shot.
“She can handle the ball, she can shoot it, she’s got great range, she sees the floor well and she’s got decent post moves,” said former Brunswick coach Rita Maines.
The KVAC first-teamer, who will attend Williams College, was a consistent scoring and rebounding threat for the Dragons, averaging 15.4 ppg and 7.5 rpg while she was also solid distributing the ball, averaging 4.3 apg.
MORTENSEN, according to Biddeford coach Ron Cote, has been the epitome of heart and desire her junior and senior campaigns.
Enduring a pair of ankle surgeries the last two summers didn’t stop Mortensen from earning SMAA first-team honors while averaging 13.1 ppg and compiling 58 assists and 48 steals.
“It’s amazing what she’s accomplished despite the injury,” said Cote, who is Mortensen’s uncle.
Also an outstanding shortstop on Biddeford’s softball team, Mortensen will play that sport at Husson University in Bangor while Cote thinks she could excel on the college basketball hardwood as well.
BOISSE dominated the SMAA over the first half of the season, averaging 21.7 ppg and 13.4 rpg before her senior campaign with Massabesic was cut short due to a knee injury suffered in practice.
But that didn’t stop the conference’s coaches from voting her SMAA Player of the Year, and she even got to shoot two free throws — and made both — in the McDonald’s Senior All-Star game last month.
The SMAA coaches say that Boisse, who will play at Division II Bethel College in Indiana, is very deserving of those honors.
“If you wanted her to shoot outside she’d do that, she’d post up a few times, a lot of times would drive and dish off,” said Massabesic coach and Bangor native Andy Soldati. “On and off the court, you couldn’t ask for a better person.”
GORMLEY was a vital factor in John Bapst’s disciplined offense this year, and the Big East first-team honoree put up sound numbers of 12.0 ppg, 6.7 rpg and 61 percent shooting from the floor in leading the Crusaders to their second EM final in three seasons.
“She grew every year, it’s amazing the progress she made every year,” Webb said.
Webb said Gormley plans on playing in college, but she is undecided on where she is going to school.
He added that “quite a few” Division II and III schools are interested.
“She’s very well coached. I think she’s going to be a good, solid player in college,” Rioux said.
Talk to most coaches, and they’ll tell you that although she doesn’t have a height advantage, PELLETIER certainly has enormous heart.
The sharpshooting guard and Miss Basketball semifinalist is, according to one voter, “maybe the best outside shooter in the state,” having amassed 1,204 career points, including 930 from 3-point range, while averaging 24.8 ppg, 5.2 apg and 1.5 spg as a senior.
NORTON added an inside game to her repertoire this winter, and the 5-8 guard wound up averaging a double-double per game.
Norton, who has drawn interest from the University of New England and University of Southern Maine, averaged 18.5 ppg and 10.5 rpg while winning the state’s foul-shooting contest and finishing her career with 1,185 points, the most for a boy or girl in Mount Abram history.
PARK, a semifinalist for Miss Basketball who helped lead George Stevens to the Eastern Maine Class C championship, is one of the state’s more versatile guards. She averaged 18.5 ppg, 8 rpg, 3.5 apg and 2.5 spg.
MANNING flourished in Scarborough’s run-and-gun offensive scheme, averaging 15.7 ppg.
She comes with excellent basketball genes, as her mom is the former Lisa Blais, who led Westbrook to four state championships (1978-81) and captained then powerhouse Old Dominion University to a national title in her senior season.
LYFORD carried her Penquis Patriots on her broad shoulders this winter, averaging a double-double (18.0 ppg, 13.0 rpg) while drawing constant defensive pressure.
Editor’s note: Check back here next Saturday for the BDN’s 54th All-Maine Schoolboy Basketball Team.