Shire star among basketball finalists

Posted Feb. 17, 2010, at 9:55 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — When Maine Association of Basketball Coaches president Peter Murray was announcing the list of the Miss Maine Basketball semi-finalists from Eastern Maine, Vanessa Sanderson just sat quietly, not knowing what to expect.

Then her name was revealed among the list of five Eastern Mainers, and the Houlton High School senior stood up slowly and smiled.

“I had no idea, I was so surprised,” said Sanderson. “It just totally blew my mind. I just had no idea.”

The Miss and Mr. Maine Basketball semifinalists among Eastern Mainers, along with the Maine McDonald’s High School Senior All-Star rosters for the eastern region, were announced Wednesday afternoon at a press conference at the Bangor Civic Center.

The McDonald’s All-Star games are March 13 at Husson University while the All-Star banquet is March 12 when the Mr. and Miss Maine Basketball winners will be announced.

The other girls semifinalists include Messalonskee of Oakland’s Hannah Dexter, Hannah Fenwick of Mount Ararat of Tospham, Edward Little of Auburn’s Kirsten Prue and Jen Nale of Waterville.

The four boys semifinalists are Dom Drake of Brewer, Hampden Academy’s Jacob Moore, Clark Noonan of Bangor and James Philbrook of Edward Little.

The Western Maine semifinalists will be announced today at conferences in Augusta and Portland.

Sanderson’s high school career ended with a 45-38 loss to Washington Academy of East Machias in a regional Class C quarterfinal Wednesday, but the way the Shiretowners hung tough plus the nomination equaled satisfaction.

“After the loss this morning, I was just really proud of the girls, just ending the season with a great group of girls,” Sanderson said. “Just having this announced right now just kind of makes everything come together, and it’s awesome.”

Sanderson scored more than 1,000 points in her high school career, and will play at Husson University in Bangor next winter, along with fellow 1,000-point scorer Taylor Boucher of Fort Kent.

Sanderson’s nomination speaks volumes about the quality of individual talent in the Class C ranks.

“I do feel that sometimes Class C and D get overlooked,” Sanderson said. “I think Class C has just as many good players as Class A or B.

“I’m just so honored and I’m so blessed, I count my lucky stars really. It’s awesome.”

But she knows none of it would have been possible without her supporting cast.

“My 1,000 points, everything, this whole season has revolved around my teammates,” said Sanderson.

Noonan, whose Rams lost to Edward Little in a Class A regional semifinal Wednesday night, was just as surprised as Sanderson.

“I had no idea, I was almost happy and surprised, but I’m happy that I got nominated,” said Noonan.

He added it was nice to see two fellow local players in Brewer’s Drake and Hampden’s Moore garner nominations.

“They’re all a great group of guys, all great basketball players,” Noonan said. “I’ve been playing with them for years, and its just great that it’s senior year and at least some of us are competing for the state title.”

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