Here’s a scouting tip for Class D schoolgirl basketball coaches — don’t foul Amanda Hotham.
The 5-foot-6 sophomore center from Fort Fairfield High School capped off a remarkable postseason run at the line by winning the state free throw shooting championship Saturday at Newman Gymnasium on the campus of Husson University in Bangor.
Hotham made 49 of 50 free throws during the state competition to best a field of finalists that also included Hannah Pray of Central of Corinth, Alanna Vose of Medomak Valley of Waldoboro and Kayla Burchill of Deering of Portland.
Hotham had qualified for the state finals, hosted by the Maine Association of Basketball Coaches, by making 45 of 50 attempts during a Northern Region qualifying event earlier this winter.
Hotham’s accuracy at the line comes as no surprise to those who followed her and the Fort Fairfield girls basketball team’s surge through the Eastern Maine tournament en route to the program’s first Class D state championship.
Hotham set an Eastern D tournament record with 15 made free throws during the Tigers’ 50-38 victory over Central Aroostook in the regional final, and her 35 free throws made in three EM tournament games set an all-classes record.
Throughout postseason play, Hotham made 45 of 55 from the line (82 percent) and she was at her most accurate in her team’s biggest games.
She made 15 of 17 attempts against Central Aroostook, then went on to shoot 10 of 11 from the line in the state championship game, in which coach Larry Gardner’s club defeated Greenville 67-59.
Hotham was named Eastern Maine Class D tournament MVP after averaging 25.3 points and 14.3 rebounds per contest, then had 27 points and 10 rebounds in the state final for the 21-1 Tigers.
Kyle Randall of Class A state champion Cheverus of Portland won the boys state free throw shooting title. He made 48 of 50 attempts in the finals to defeat Jacob Jones of Penobscot Valley of Howland, Matt Till of Caribou and Cameron Mitchell of Waterville.
Coaches of the year named
Sixteen high school basketball coaches who compiled a combined record of 270-59 during the 2009-10 season were honored as regional coaches of the year by the Maine Association of Basketball Coaches during the Maine McDonald’s High School Senior All-Star Games held Saturday.
Leading the list were two coaches who directed their teams to state championships this winter, Gardner of Fort Fairfield and Jim Seavey of Scarborough. Each led his girls basketball team to its first gold ball, Gardiner in Class D and Seavey in Class A.
Gardner guided Fort Fairfield to a 21-1 record, while Seavey’s Red Storm compiled a 22-0 record.
Joining Gardner as Eastern Maine girls basketball coaches of the year were Craig Jipson of Class A Edward Little of Auburn, Tom Nadeau of Class B Winslow and Gary Wood of Class C Washington Academy of East Machias.
Western Maine girls coaches of the year were Seavey, Tammy Anderson of Class B Leavitt of Turner Center, Mark Simpson of Class C Livermore Falls and John Jardine of Class D Greenville.
The four Eastern Maine boys basketball coaches of the year all led their teams to regional championship games.
First-year Brewer coach Ben Goodwin earned the Class A honor after guiding the Witches to a 17-4 record, the No. 1 seed in the final Eastern Maine Heal points and a berth in the EM final before they fell to Edward Little of Auburn.
Class B honors went to Peter Austin of Ellsworth, whose Eagles finished the regular season second in the division with a 15-3 record and then defeated Rockland in overtime and Mount View of Thorndike to advance to the EM title game.
Ed Leeman of Calais guided a youthful Blue Devils’ squad back to the Eastern Maine championship game for the fifth straight year to earn Class C coach of the year honors. The sixth-year head coach led Calais to the No. 2 seed in the division and a final record of 18-3.
Named Eastern D coach of the year was Todd Alley of Fort Fairfield, who guided the Tigers to an 18-3 overall record, the No. 3 seed in their division and a trip to the regional championship game.
Western Maine boys basketball coaches of the year are Phil Conley of Class A South Portland, Jim Ray of Class B Cape Elizabeth, Travis Magnusson of Class C Livermore Falls and Matt Slivinsky of Class D Vinalhaven.
Victory milestones recognized
High school basketball coaches from around the state also were honored for surpassing career victory totals.
Leading the way were Camden Hills of Rockport boys basketball coach Jeff Hart and York girls coach Rick Clark, each of who received a clock in recognition of having surpassed 400 career wins.
Coaches honored for joining the 300-win club were Tony Hamlin of Penquis of Milo, Mike McGee of Lawrence of Fairfield, Tim Prescott of Presque Isle, Arnold Clark of Woodland, Steve LeVasseur of Schenck of East Millinocket, Ken Marks of Greely of Cumberland Center and Mark Karter of Westbrook.
Coaches surpassing 200 career wins were Todd Hanson of Brunswick, Al Veneziano of Madison, Jim Seavey of Scarborough and Paul True of Lake Region of Naples.
New members of the 100-win club were Mike Webb of John Bapst of Bangor, Ed Leeman of Calais, Mike Portwine of Stearns of Millinocket, Mike LeBlanc of Forest Hills of Jackman, Rob Schmidt of Maranacook of Readfield, Paul Marquis of Traip Academy of Kittery and Kelly LaFountain of Mount Ararat of Topsham.