They were teammates for their first two years of high school basketball, sharing in a state championship as sophomores at Camden Hills Regional High School.
Now Tyler McFarland and Graham Safford share another honor — they are two of the three finalists for Mr. Maine Basketball.
McFarland and Safford, who has spent the last two years at Hampden Academy, are joined as finalists by Edward Little of Auburn star Bo Leary.
The trio were selected from among 10 semifinalists for the annual award, which will be presented next Friday evening during the Maine Association of Basketball Coaches/Maine McDonald’s All-Star Banquet at Husson University in Bangor.
While the Mr. Basketball finalists all come from Eastern Maine schools, the Miss Basketball finalists all represent Western Maine.
Kayla Burchill of Deering of Portland, Rebecca Knight of Catherine McAuley of Portland and Nicole Taylor of York will vie for Miss Basketball honors after similarly being chosen from among 10 semifinalists.
The state’s highest individual honors for high school senior basketball players, the Mr. and Miss Basketball awards recognize performances on the court as well as players’ contributions to their team and basketball in Maine.
McFarland averaged 24.6 points, 12.1 rebounds and 2.6 steals per game during the regular season this winter, then went on to lead unbeaten Camden Hills to its third straight Eastern Maine Class B title and a berth in Friday night’s state final against Cape Elizabeth at the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland.
The 6-foot-6 center is a two-time Bangor Daily News All-Maine honoree, a two-time Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B player of the year, and this week became the first-ever three-time Eastern B tournament most valuable player.
Safford, a 6-1 guard, averaged 19.1 points, 6.8 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 3.7 steals this winter while being named the KVAC Class A North player of the year and leading Hampden to the Eastern Maine Class A semifinals.
Safford shot 59.5 percent from the field during the season, 37 percent from beyond the 3-point arc and 78.4 percent from the free-throw line.
Leary, a 6-4 center-forward, led Edward Little to its fourth straight appearance in the Eastern A championship game. He was named KVAC Class A South player of the year after averaging 23.1 points and 10.9 rebounds per game during the regular season, and subsequently was named MVP of the regional tournament.
Leary helped Edward Little win Eastern Maine championships in 2009 and 2010, and was a Bangor Daily News All-Maine choice after his junior year.
Other Mr. Basketball semifinalists were Zach Blodgett of Bangor, Theo Bowe of Cape Elizabeth, Griffin Brady of Cheverus of Portland, Cam Kaubris of Mountain Valley of Rumford, Joe McCloskey of Penobscot Valley of Howland, Andrew Shaw of Thornton Academy of Saco, and Alex Furness of Wells.
Burchill led Deering to the No. 1 seed in Western Maine Class A Heal point ratings this winter and a berth in the regional final each of the last two years. A two-time Bangor Daily News All-Maine first-team choice, the 6-1 forward led the Southern Maine Activities Association this year with a scoring average of 23.6 points per game to go with 9.3 rebounds.
Taylor, a 6-0 center, also is a two-time BDN All-Maine first-teamer who led York to the 2010 Class B state championship and a trip back to the Western B final this year. The state’s Gatorade Player of the Year as a junior and a two-time Western B tourney MVP, she averaged 15.7 points and 9.3 rebounds per game this winter.
Burchill and Taylor will be teammates next year at the University of Vermont.
Knight, a 5-11 forward, helped McAuley win the Western Maine Class A title and earn a berth in Saturday night’s state final against Hampden Academy. A BDN All-Maine choice as a junior, the University of Maine-bound Knight averaged 16.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.6 steals this winter.
Other Miss Maine Basketball semifinalists were Keila Grigware of Biddeford, Hannah Pray of Central of Corinth, Mia Rapolla of Gorham, Courtney Anderson of Leavitt of Turner Center, Megan Phelps of Mount Desert Island, Maggie Sabine of Oak Hill of Sabattus and Whitney Jones of Skowhegan.