Tyler McFarland has had a storied basketball career at Camden Hills Regional High School.
A four-year varsity player, McFarland has one state title to his credit and now three Eastern Maine Class B championships after leading the Windjammers to their third straight regional crown during Tourney Week 2011.
Now the 6-foot-6 senior center has earned a new honor — becoming the first three-time winner of the William C. Warner Award Most Valuable Player Award for his play throughout the EM schoolboy basketball tournament.
Bo Leary of Class A runnerup Edward Little of Auburn, A.J. Harris of Class C champion Lee Academy, and Mike McClung of Class D winner Central Aroostook of Mars Hill join McFarland as this year’s recipients.
The Warner Award, established in 1994 in memory of a former Bangor Daily News sports editor and reporter, and BDN Eastern Maine all-tournament teams were selected by a vote of media, tournament personnel and representatives of the Maine Principals’ Association.
Leary was a focus of attention throughout the Eastern A tournament, mixing a crafty inside game with solid mid-range play. He scored 28 points during the quarterfinals and went on to average double figures in both scoring in rebounding while becoming the third straight Edward Little player — following James Philbrook in 2009 and Yusef Iman in 2010 — to win the Warner Award.
Leary is joined on the BDN Eastern A all-tournament team by Josiah Hartley and Zach Blodgett of EM champion Bangor, Tim Mains of Edward Little and Graham Safford of Hampden Academy.
Hartley shook off an illness that landed him in a hospital emergency room the night before the Eastern Maine final to lead Bangor to a 41-38 victory over Edward Little, scoring 13 points while limiting Leary to 11 points and 10 rebounds. The Bangor senior, who returned to basketball this season after competing in indoor track the previous two winters, also had 14 points and eight rebounds during the quarterfinals.
Blodgett also scored 14 points in the quarterfinals while playing barely more than two quarters before suffering an ankle injury, but he returned to play a key role in the final — scoring the go-ahead basket with 57 seconds left and adding an insurance score with 13 seconds remaining.
Mains was a stabilizing influence in the Edward Little backcourt, though he also emerged as a scorer with back-to-back 14-point performances in the quarterfinals and semifinals. Mains was presented the Al Halliday Award as the tournament’s outstanding player-sportsman.
Safford showed why he is considered among the state’s elite guards with 22 points, nine rebounds and seven assists during Hampden’s quarterfinal win over Lewiston, followed by a 27-point semifinal performance against Edward Little that included seven 3-point goals as he helped the Broncos set an Eastern A single-game record with 12 3-pointers.
McFarland showed off his versatility during postseason play, finding success whether working on the perimeter or closer to the basket where he began his high school career. The leading schoolboy basketball scorer in Camden Hills history, McFarland scored 29 and 22 points in his first two tourney games before being slowed by the flu in the regional final, when he was limited to 12 points. He also averaged 7.3 rebounds in three tourney games.
McFarland is one of two repeat choices on this year’s BDN Eastern B all-tourney team, along with Camden Hills teammate Keegan Pieri. Also on the squad are Ellsworth senior forward Andrew Austin, Camden Hills senior point guard Joel Gabriele and Nokomis of Newport junior guard Chris Braley.
Pieri scored his team’s first 11 points of the regional final in staking Camden Hills to an early lead, and finished the first half with 20 of his game-high 24 points as he made Ellsworth pay for packing in its defense in an effort to contain McFarland.
Gabriele not only keyed the Windjammers’ defensive pressure, he turned that defense into offense, scoring in double figures in each of his team’s three victories.
Austin was a matchup nightmare for opponents, quicker than most rival big men but able to play bigger than his height would suggest against taller foes. He was one of the tournament’s most consistent scorers, with games of 23, 17 and 18 points.
The highly-touted Braley made an emphatic tournament debut, scoring 43 points and grabbing 17 rebounds during an overtime loss to Ellsworth in the quarterfinals. Braley shot 18 of 31 from the field, including 4 of 11 from beyond the 3-point arc.
A four-year varsity starter, Harris has been the glue on a balanced Lee Academy team that improved steadily throughout the regular season and is peaking at tournament time, if its 24.7-point average margin of victory during the Eastern C regional is any indication.
Harris, the son of longtime Lee coach Randy Harris, scored a team-high 23 points during the quarterfinals and reached double figures in all three postseason victories.
Harris is joined on the BDN Eastern C all-tourney team by Lee’s Artie Makovskis, Gabe O’Brien and Tylor Martin of Sumner of East Sullivan, and Joe McCloskey of Penobscot Valley of Howland.
Makovskis, a sophomore from Lithuania, quickly adapted to his new surroundings as an immediate impact player for Lee. He twice reached double figures in rebounds during the tournament, as well as playing a key role in the Pandas’ perimeter game.
O’Brien was the on-court catalyst for a hard-charging Sumner team that reached the Eastern C final for the first time since 1973. He scored in double figures in each of his three tourney games, and also sparked fullcourt defensive pressure that proved pivotal to the Tigers reaching the title game.
Martin provided much of the inside complement to O’Brien’s perimeter play, averaging six rebounds per tournament contest to go with a 22-point quarterfinal performance against Calais and an 18-point effort in the regional final against Lee.
McCloskey was a marked man throughout his senior season, typically drawing double- and even triple-teams from opposing defenses. Tourney time was no different, though the Penobscot Valley center still came through with 27 points and 13 rebounds in the quarterfinals and 19 points and 14 rebounds in the semifinals.
McClung was the primary inside threat in a balanced Central Aroostook attack, both offensively in leading the Panthers in scoring during the regional tournament and also as a rebounder and a defender near the basket for a team that allowed just 33.3 points in three postseason games.
The 6-6 junior is joined on the BDN Eastern D all-tournament team by Central Aroostook frontcourt mate Caleb Kelly, Washburn guard Mitch Worcester, Jonesport-Beals forward Garet Beal and Machias center Brian Getchell.
Kelly’s work in the high post matched well with McClung’s low-post play, with Kelly finding offense either via mid-range jumpers or slashing drives to the basket. The 1,000-point career scorer had a 21-point effort in the Panthers’ closest tourney test, a 62-45 semifinal win over Machias.
Worcester made 13 3-point goals in two games, including an Eastern D-record eight during the semifinals against Jonesport-Beals when Washburn made a record 20 shots from beyond the arc as a team. Worcester’s 30 points in that contest was the top single-game total of this year’s Eastern D tournament.
Beal, like Worcester just a sophomore, also had two big offensive performances while leading Jonesport-Beals to the final, with 26 points and seven rebounds in the quarterfinals followed by a 28-point semifinal.
Getchell displayed a strong, consistent frontcourt game during Machias’ breakthrough run to the semifinals, with 20 points and 13 rebounds in the quarters and another 20-point effort in the semis.