When Courtney Anderson entered her sophomore campaign at Leavitt Area High School, the Hornets of Turner were coming off a 1-17 season in the Class A schoolgirl basketball ranks.
But the Hornets have gone nowhere but up led by Anderson, reaching the Class A quarterfinals in 2009 and appearing in the Western Class B semifinals last winter.
Anderson hopes to have that same type of Midas touch in the collegiate ranks, as she has committed to play basketball at the University of Maine starting in the fall of 2011.
“I love it up there. I felt good when I walked on campus. Coach (Cindy) Blodgett is a legend,” said Anderson.
Anderson, a BDN All-Maine third-team choice her junior year, will be a preferred walk-on, which means she’ll have a spot on the Black Bears, but can earn a scholarship her second year, similar to what Kristen Baker did when she played at the school.
Anderson was at Alfond Arena when the Black Bears played Duke University last winter, and another thing that sold her on UMaine was the school’s education program.
“I’m a good student and I pride myself in my academics, too. At the start of the summer I wasn’t sure what I wanted to be when I grew up,” she said. “The UMaine system has a good teaching program. Its a good place for me to be.”
Anderson, who also looked at Monmouth and Long Island University, is interested in becoming a basketball coach someday.
The 5-foot-5 Anderson, a guard who is one of the state’s top shooters, said she’ll have to hit the weightroom frequently so she can adapt to the rigors of the college game.
“I feel in order to open up your jump shot you need to get to the rim,” Anderson said. “When I grew that into my game, the mid-range game was where I grew the most my sophomore year.”
Leavitt head coach Tammy Anderson, Courtney’s mother, thinks that the Black Bears have landed a gem.
“She likes to create a lot off the dribble. When you get at the Division I level you’ve got to have good decision-making (skills) when you penetrate,” said coach Anderson. “She just loves the game and has a pretty good basketball IQ.”
Anderson, who also plays for the New England Crusaders, an AAU team, joins Crusaders’ teammates Danielle Walczak of New Hampshire and Catherine McAuley of Portland’s Becca Knight as seniors who have committed to play for Blodgett’s Black Bears.
Courtney Anderson thinks Blodgett, who recently signed a two-year extension, has UMaine’s program heading in the right direction, sort of like the way the Leavitt program improved consistently over Anderson’s career there.
“I want to be a part of something, part of a building process and make the program better,” she said.