Carmen Bragg’s freshman year has been a whirlwind one, complete with success on the cross country trails and the basketball court.
Now the Washburn High guard has a new trophy for her case, as she won the state free-throw shooting competition during Maine McDonald’s All-Star weekend at Husson University.
Bragg, who helped lead coach Mike Carlos’ Beavers to their first state championship since 1989, sank 49 out of 50 free throws to beat out fellow freshman Abby Pyne of John Bapst by one.
Lee Academy’s Bryan James, who helped lead the Pandas to the Class C state championship, wound up taking the boys competition by making 48 of his 50 attempts.
Bragg earned Eastern Maine Tournament Most Valuable Player honors in quarterbacking the Beavers to their respective championships.
She averaged more than 15 points per game during the regional tournament and contributed nine points, two rebounds, two assists and two steals in Washburn’s 43-30 victory over Richmond in the state championship game.
Bragg was third in Class C in the state cross country championships this fall.
John Bapst’s Pyne led the Big East conference in free-throw shooting percentage as she helped lead coach Mike Webb’s Crusaders into the Class B semifinals after posting a 16-2 regular-season record.
The other girls free-throw competitors were Lawrence of Fairfield’s Danielle Spaulding and Frankie Lally of Edward Little of Auburn, while Cape Elizabeth’s Theo Bowe, Josh Turbide of Dirigo of Dixfield and Presque Isle’s Travis Dyer rounded out the boys field.
Elsewhere during All-Star weekend, Mia Rapolla of Gorham edged Skowhegan’s Adrienne Davis in a dramatic 3-point shooting competition.
The two sharpshooters drained 10 shots from beyond the arc during the opening round, forcing a shootout in which they had 15 seconds to sink as many shots as they could.
When it was all said and done, Rapolla made five to Davis’ two.
Taylor wins Gatorade award
Nicole Taylor may not have won the Miss Maine Basketball award over the weekend, but Gatorade bestowed the state’s girls basketball player of the year award on the York High senior for the second straight year.
The award recognizes Taylor’s outstanding achievements on the basketball court and in the classroom, along with character demonstrated in the classroom and the community.
Taylor is now a finalist for the national Gatorade Player of the Year honor, which will be announced later this month.
The 6-foot center averaged 16 points, 9.3 rebounds and three steals in leading coach Rick Clark’s club to its second consecutive undefeated regular season and another appearance in the Western Maine Class B championship game. The Wildcats lost to eventual state champion Leavitt of Turner Center.
Taylor, who led York to a state championship in 2009 and appearance in the state final the year before that, became the Wildcats’ all-time leading scorer this season, finishing her career with 1,442 points, eclipsing the mark of 1,413 that Lani Boardman scored from 1997-2001.
Taylor, a BDN All-Maine first teamer the last two years, will join Miss Maine Basketball award winner Kayla Burchill of Deering of Portland at the University of Vermont next season.
Top coaches honored
The Maine Association of Basketball Coaches also recognized some of the state’s top coaches over the weekend, with four Eastern Maine girls coaches garnering Coach of the Year honors.
Among them were three coaches who led their teams to regional championship games in Medomak Valley of Waldoboro’s Randy Hooper in Class B, Orono’s Jessica Libby in Class C and Deer Isle-Stonington’s Darren Eaton in Class D.
Edward Little’s Craig Jipson was voted regional coach of the year in Class A.