BANGOR, Maine — One lived through an emotional roller coaster unlike that faced by any other player in Maine schoolboy basketball history this winter.
The other emerged from the shadows of her mother — one of the top schoolgirl players this state has ever seen — to carve out her own significant basketball niche.
Together, Indiana Faithfull of Cheverus of Portland and Christy Manning of Scarborough are Maine’s 2010 Mr. and Miss Basketball.
Faithfull and Manning won the most prestigious honors during an evening of recognizing the best and brightest as the Maine McDonald’s High School Senior All-Star Weekend got under way with an awards banquet at Newman Gymnasium on the campus of Husson University.
For Faithfull, the Mr. Basketball honor was the latest high point during a senior season filled with extremes.
The Sydney, Australia, native led Cheverus to a 13-0 start this winter before learning he had used up his playing eligibility under a Maine Principals’ Association rule that says a student has eight semesters to complete athletic eligibility once he starts his freshman year of high school.
Faithfull, however, had used up three semesters of eligibility in Australia before transferring to Cheverus for the start of his sophomore year in America in the fall of 2007, leaving him just five semesters to play under the MPA rule.
Faithfull missed his team’s final five regular-season games before being reinstated to the team just hours before Cheverus’ Western A quarterfinal as the result of a court order.
The 6-foot-4 point guard then led the Stags to four straight postseason victories and their second state Class A title in three years.
“I can still see him in front of the stands at the foul line [during the tournament], and the whole student body of a school saying ‘cheater, cheater’ or ‘Aussie, Aussie,’” said Brown, who coached Cheverus to a 54-4 record with Faithfull in the lineup. “Players would fall on the floor and he’d reach down to pick them up, and they’d knock his hand away.
“But he never wavered, he just went out and played his game. He showed such class through all of this. He led us, he led the team and he never abandoned his captain’s role at any time. I’m not sure too many people could have handled this with as much class as he did.”
Faithful averaged 12 points, five rebounds and six assists per game this winter, but after scoring 20 or more points just once during the regular season, he scored 23 points in the Western Maine final and 22 points in the state championship game.
“The season has had a lot of ups and downs, but to finish the way we did together as a team is just amazing,” said Faithfull, a second-team Bangor Daily News All-Maine choice as a junior. “It got hard sometimes, but I was just very lucky to have some great support with my friends, my family and my school all backing me and making me feel good.
“On the court, you don’t think about anything except the game.”
Other finalists for Mr. Basketball were Dominic Borelli of Westbrook, Keegan Hyland of South Portland and Stefano Mancini of Falmouth.
Manning came from a household steeped in basketball tradition — her mother Lisa Blais-Manning was a four-time Bangor Daily News first team All-Maine choice who led Westbrook to four straight Class A state titles from 1978 through 1981, then helped Old Dominion win the 1985 NCAA Division I national championship.
The younger Manning didn’t even pick up the sport until the sixth grade.
“My mom has definitely influenced me a lot,” said Manning. “She’s supported me all the way through it because she’s been through it, and she helped me do things I never thought I’d be able to do.
“My mom never really pressured me to play basketball. She just let it come to me, and when I finally decided to play I loved it.”
Her development throughout high school coincided with the rise of the Scarborough girls basketball program under coach Jim Seavey.
A BDN All-Maine performer as a junior, Manning averaged 15 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game this winter while leading the Red Storm to a 22-0 record and their first Class A state championship.
“None of this would have been possible without my team, they helped me to get here,” said Manning, who plans to attend Holy Cross next fall on a track scholarship.
Other Miss Basketball finalists were Jen Nale of Waterville and Claire Ramonas of Deering of Portland.
Longtime coach Bob Fallon of Scarborough was presented the Bob Brown Contributor Award by the Maine Association of Basketball Coaches, while Hugh Bowden of the Ellsworth American was named recipient of the Ron Brown Media Award.
Carlos Baeza of Rockport, who battled cerebral palsy and other health issues to serve as a four-year manager of the Camden Hills boys basketball team and a team captain this winter, received the Josh Titus Spirit of the Game Award for Eastern Maine. Molly Mooney, a three-year member of the Gray-New Gloucester girls basketball team who overcame the loss of her mother to a 10-year battle with breast cancer, earned the Patrick Thibodeau Spirit of the Game Award for Western Maine.
Maine McDonald’s High School Senior All-Star Weekend continues today with four games: Class C-D girls at 9:15 a.m., Class A-B girls at 11 a.m., Class A-B boys at 1:15 p.m. and Class C-D boys at 3 p.m.