In 1999, sophomore guard Sara Ricker led the Shead High School girls to their first Eastern Maine Class D schoolgirl basketball championship.
She scored 63 points in three upset wins for the sixth-seeded Tigerettes and was chosen the Bangor Daily News’ Owen Osborne Most Valuable Player.
Ricker, a 1,000-point scorer at Shead, was also an outstanding soccer and softball player and went on to play soccer and basketball at the University of Maine-Machias.
She is now Sara Moore and she is the fourth-year girls basketball coach at Shead. She led the Tigerettes to their first Eastern Maine Class D tournament appearance since 2005.
The Tigerettes were the seventh seed and were eliminated Monday by No. 2 Fort Fairfield 49-30.
However, the future is bright as her team didn’t have any seniors and had just three juniors.
Ricker said it “didn’t seem like it was too long ago” when she was playing for Shead at the Bangor Auditorium.
“I enjoyed playing here,” said the 27-year-old Moore.
She also said it is more nerve-wracking as a coach than it was as a player.
“When you’re a player, you just play,” said Moore, who made four straight tournament appearances as a player. “As a coach, you have to prepare your kids and get them ready for it.”
She said she didn’t talk much to her players about her experiences at the Bangor Auditorium.
“I wanted to keep their nerves down,” she explained.
Shead wound up 11-8 which is a marked improvement over her first season in 2007 when they went 2-16.
“We’ve come a long way. It has been a long wait. This was definitely an experience for the girls and they needed to experience this,” said Moore. “You can expect us back next year.”
Sitting out another tourney
There was a familiar face greeting Eastern Maine basketball fans Saturday morning in the lobby of the Bangor Auditorium, although he wasn’t filling his usual role during the tournament.
Veteran official Mike Corneil is serving on the Maine Principals’ Association tournament crew, rather than in his preferred role.
Corneil, a math teacher at Bangor High School, has been unable to work as a basketball official for 14 months after sustaining an injury to his left knee during an Orono High alumni basketball game on Dec. 26, 2008.
“I was in a brace for 12 weeks,” said Corneil, who ruptured his patella tendon. “It was horrible.”
And while Corneil admitted he misses the atmosphere of working tournament games, there have been some unexpected benefits to being on the shelf.
He has worked with video replays at University of Maine men’s hockey games and also has had a chance to watch his son Christian, play on Bangor’s JV basketball team.
“I’ve actually enjoyed it,” he said. “A little free time’s kind of nice.”