Central High School junior Hannah Pray has established herself as one of the top guards in the Eastern Maine schoolgirl basketball ranks.
The 5-foot-8 Pray has helped lead the Red Devils to a 6-0 start after Tuesday night’s Class C victory over Piscataquis Community of Guilford.
She’s averaging 18.4 points per game and enjoyed one of her strongest outings of the season last Friday night, scoring 19 of her game-high 27 points in the second half to power Central to a 57-34 win over defending regional Class C champ George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill.
Pray, along with classmate Bekah Campbell, helped lead Central to the brink of a Bangor Auditorium appearance in the Eastern Maine Class B tournament last winter. The team fell to Winslow in the preliminary round, and with the Red Devils dropping to Class C and a talented nucleus led by those two returning, coach Diane Rollins’ club has emerged as one of the favorites in the region.
Pray took time after a practice Monday afternoon for a question-and-answer session.
Probably a lot of country and a lot of rap, Eminem kind of stuff, and Jason Aldeen.
Which genre pumps you up before a game?
Definitely the rap, [and] the country just because we’re a school in the middle of nowhere.
I like a lot of sports movies because I think they’re really inspiring, my favorites are Glory Road and Coach Carter.
Favorite TV shows?
I watch anything that really interests me and usually a lot of sports, like ESPN and stuff.
Steak and potatoes.
Favorite leisure activity?
We’re a big hunting family.
How big was beating George Stevens, the defending Eastern Maine champion?
I think it definitely showed people that we’re not a joke or anything, we really are working hard this year. I think everyone’s really toughed up a lot.
Central played in Class B your freshman and sophomore years. What is the biggest difference between Classes B and C?
Class B, there’s a little more height, it’s a little bit faster paced and the schools are bigger. Class C, I think it’s more evened out.
We got lucky this year with Bekah and Jocelyn. All 12 of us are pretty fast, even some of our tall girls.
A lot of coaches pegged Central as one of the best teams in Class C this winter. How did playing in Class B boost your confidence and how has your team handled those expectations so far?
I think (playing in Class B) showed us the competition’s different, so we had to step it up then, and coming down we have to keep up the same intensity no matter what. I think it boosts my confidence, personally. The (Class B) point guards are quicker.
Foxcroft Academy moved down to Class C with your team. How big is that rivalry going to be?
I think (Foxcroft) is going to be (our biggest rival). They were last year when we were in Class B and they followed us back down to C.
You play Foxcroft for the first time on Jan. 12. Is that date circled on your calendar?
I’m excited, I can’t wait.