The 2009-2010 Maine schoolboy basketball season had its unique aspects.
Some of the state’s top players battled injuries and ineligibility, yet through it all several programs’ pursuit of championship glory coincided with the presence of premier individual talent that has earned its way onto the 55th annual Bangor Daily News All-Maine Basketball Team.
Four schools — Cheverus of Portland, Edward Little of Auburn, Brewer and Westbrook — have two players each among the 15 standouts recognized, and all four battled deep into postseason play.
Indiana Faithfull, a senior guard from Cheverus who sat out the final five games of the regular season due to eligibility issues before returning to lead the Stags to their second Class A state title in three years, was this year’s leading vote-getter.
“Most of his game was about making his teammates better,” said Cheverus coach Bob Brown of the 2010 Mr. Maine Basketball. “Indy wants his team to win more than anything else.”
Faithfull is joined on the All-Maine first team by senior guard Stefano Mancini of Falmouth, junior center Tyler McFarland of Camden Hills of Rockport, senior forward Dominic Borelli of Westbrook and senior guard Yusuf Iman of Edward Little of Auburn.
The lone returning player from last year’s first team, senior guard Keegan Hyland of South Portland, played in just one regular-season game and two tournament contests this winter due to a pelvis injury.
The second team consists of senior center Nich Jobin of Westbrook, senior forward Jacob Moore of Hampden Academy, senior guard Dom Drake of Brewer and junior forwards Cam Shorey of Calais and Andrew Shaw of Saco’s Thornton Academy.
Earning third-team honors are senior center Clark Noonan of Bangor, junior guard Ray Bessette of Brewer, senior guard Ben Teer of Washington Academy of East Machias and junior forwards Bo Leary of Edward Little and Alex Furness of Cheverus.
The All-Maine team honors the state’s top 15 players regardless of class, position or region, as selected by the BDN sports staff with input from coaches, officials and other basketball observers from Kittery to Fort Kent.
FAITHFULL, a third-year starter at Cheverus, scored more than 20 points in a regular-season game just once during the regular season.
But when the Stags needed more direct production from the lefthanded shooter, Faithfull delivered during postseason play. He scored 22 points in the Western Maine final against Westbrook and then 23 in a 55-50 victory over Edward Little in the state final that capped Cheverus’ 21-1 season.
“He’s just capable of doing so much to help a team win, whether it’s scoring or setting up his teammates or rebounding or playing team defense,” said Brown. “He’s just been a pleasure to coach.”
A second-team BDN All-Maine choice as a junior, the native Australian plans to play prep basketball at St. Thomas More of Oakdale, Conn., next season.
MANCINI gave up his senior year as quarterback of the Falmouth football team to lead the school’s basketball team to the Class B state title.
In addition to being one of the state’s top scorers, the 6-foot-1 point guard was among the Yachtsmen’s leaders in rebounds, assists and steals while earning first-team All-Western Maine Conference status and being named his team’s MVP for the third straight year.
“He always gives it everything he has, he just loves basketball,” said Falmouth coach Dave Halligan. “He can score when he needs to, he led us in scoring the last three years, and he has so many intangibles that just makes him a winner.”
Mancini also was MVP of the Western B tournament before scoring 27 points in the state final as Falmouth outlasted Camden Hills in overtime.
“I thought he was the best player we were going to have a chance to play against this season,” said Camden Hills coach Jeff Hart.
Mancini, a Mr. Basketball finalist, is expected to play prep basketball at Worcester (Mass.) Academy next winter.
MCFARLAND moved up from second-team All-Maine status a year ago to the first team this year as his game grew from that of a low-post threat to a face-up performer comfortable either shooting mid-range jumpers or powerfully driving to the basket.
“Anybody who saw us play saw how much his game developed from the beginning of the year,” said Hart. “We were able to get him to play facing the basket more this year, but at the same time he kept improving his back-to-the-basket game.
“It’s pretty exciting to watch him continue to develop. He’s the whole package.”
The 6-foot-6 junior was the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B player of the year after leading Camden Hills in scoring and rebounding, shooting 53 percent from the field and also ranking as one of the state’s top shot blockers.
He went on to be named MVP of the Eastern Maine Class B tournament while helping the Windjammers capture their second straight regional title, then scored 32 points in the state final against Falmouth.
“He has the confidence level you find in great players,” said Halligan. “What a competitor he was, one guy wasn’t going to stop him.”
BORELLI, also a second-team All-Mainer in 2009, had to overcome a torn meniscus suffered early this season.
“We held him out of practices and a few games to try to get him through the year, and I thought he played his best at the end of the season,” said Westbrook coach Mark Karter.
Borelli, a first-team All-SMAA choice and finalist for Mr. Basketball, scored 24 points in a Western A quarterfinal against Portland and 26 in the semifinals against South Portland.
Borelli will continue his career next winter at Division II Saint Anselm College of Manchester, N.H.
IMAN is the latest in a series of quality guards who have helped Edward Little emerge as one of Eastern A’s top teams.
Iman switched from point guard to shooting guard this season with dramatic results — highlighted by a game-winning 3-pointer during the regular season at Brewer and a long game-winner from beyond the arc in overtime against Bangor in the Eastern A semifinals.
“In his junior year his role was to take care of the basketball,” said EL coach Mike Adams. “He struggled early this season with his new role of being more aggressive with the basketball, but later in the year he just exploded and hit arguably two of the biggest shots in the history of our program.”
Iman was named KVAC Class A South player of the year, then most valuable player of the Eastern Maine Class A tournament by the BDN.
Iman will play next winter at the University of Maine at Farmington.
JOBIN stepped up his game this winter to help Westbrook compensate for Borelli’s injury problems and finished second among SMAA players in scoring and first in rebounds.
“He had an outstanding year, one of the best of any player I’ve had since I’ve been at Westbrook,” said Karter, the Blue Blazes’ 18th-year coach.
The 6-foot-6, 220-pound Jobin was named the SMAA’s player of the year largely due to his inside presence, but he also displayed much deeper shooting range, as evidenced by his three 3-pointers in the Western A semifinals against South Portland.
“Nich was just dominant in so many games,” said Karter.
MOORE epitomized the balance of a Hampden Academy team that finished 15-5 and reached the Eastern Maine Class A semifinals.
The KVAC Class A North Player of the Year led the Broncos in scoring and steals and ranked second in assists.
“Jacob’s mentality is to take the ball to the basket,” said Hampden coach Russ Bartlett. “Obviously he likes to shoot from the perimeter, too, so he’s a very tough matchup. You have to pick your poison when you try to guard him.”
Moore will continue his basketball career next season at Division II Bentley University of Waltham, Mass.
SHOREY’S strong return from a sophomore season lost to a torn anterior cruciate ligament helped a youthful Calais team back to the brink of its fifth straight Eastern Maine Class C crown.
He led the Blue Devils in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots, then averaged 22.7 points and 11 rebounds during the Eastern Maine tournament as Calais reached the regional final before falling to eventual state champion Washington Academy.
“When the lights were their brightest, I think Cameron played his best,” said Calais coach Ed Leeman, whose team finished 18-3.
Shorey plans to complete his high school career at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, N.H.
DRAKE not only led the KVAC Class A North in scoring (17.6 ppg), he emerged as perhaps the conference’s top all-around defender with a league-best 4.1 steals per contest.
Drake’s defensive assignments ranged from point guards to power forwards as he led the Witches to a 17-4 record and a berth in the Eastern Maine Class A final
“Dom’s a very smart player,” said Brewer coach Ben Goodwin. “And he brings everything he has every night. Some nights we needed him to score a lot, and other nights he’d have 10 rebounds and 10 assists.”
SHAW led the SMAA in scoring with a versatile game that included 33 3-point goals. He also led Thornton Academy with 6.9 rebounds per game while helping the Trojans finish 13-5 after advancing to the Western Maine Class A quarterfinals.
“Andrew has great range on his jump shot, but he also can go inside,” said Thornton coach Bob Davies.
“He creates a lot of matchup problems.”
Shaw was named a first team SMAA all-star.
“He’s a very good player,” said Cheverus’ Brown.
NOONAN proved to be a relentless force near the basket during his first year as a starter at Bangor.
He was particularly effective as an offensive rebounder and led the KVAC on the backboards while helping coach Roger Reed’s club post a 17-3 record and a berth in the Eastern Maine Class A semifinals.
A first-team All-KVAC Class A North honoree, Noonan will play at Saint Joseph’s College of Standish next season.
BESSETTE was one of the state’s most improved players from the start of the 2009-10 season to its finish.
The junior point guard was equally adept at taking the ball to the basket for his own shot or setting up teammates — while averaging fewer than two turnovers per game.
The first-team All-KVAC Class A North choice was among the conference leaders with 5.3 assists per game.
LEARY, a role player for Edward Little a year ago, stepped his game up when frontcourt teammate James Philbrook began this season battling turf toe.
His play ultimately forced rival coaches to revise their game plans to devote special attention to him even after Philbrook returned to fulltime duty.
Leary was a first-team All-KVAC Class A south honoree and received the Al Halliday Award as the outstanding player-sportsman of the Eastern A tournament.
TEER guided Washington Academy to new heights — the school’s first state championship in boys basketball.
The four-year starter at point guard for the Raiders was among the state’s leading playmakers with 7.4 assists per game, giving him a nearly 3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.
A first-team Penobscot Valley Conference all-star and MVP of the Eastern Class C tournament, Teer plans to play postgraduate basketball at Lee Academy next season.
FURNESS showed his considerable versatility in his first season for Cheverus after transferring from Wells.
The rangy forward displayed shooting prowess well beyond the 3-point arc, yet also possessed the ability to beat defenders off the dribble, making him a difficult defensive assignment for opposing teams.
The All-SMAA honoree was among his team’s shot-blocking leaders, as well as Faithfull’s backup at point guard.