Garet Beal, who earlier this month led Jonesport-Beals to its first Class D state championship since 1993, has been named the 2011-12 Gatorade Maine Boys Basketball Player of the Year, it was announced Thursday.
Beal is the first boys basketball player from Jonesport-Beals to receive the Gatorade award, which recognizes not only athletic excellence but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court.
Beal also becomes just the second underclassman and second Class D player in the 27-year history of the Gatorade award to be named Maine player of the year in boys basketball. T.J. Caouette of Winthrop, who won back-to-back Gatorade awards, was the last junior to win in 1995, while 1989 recipient Raymond Alley of Vinalhaven is the only other honoree from a Class D school.
Beal, a 6-foot-5, 200-pound junior guard-forward, led Jonesport-Beals to a 15-2 regular-season record good for the No. 1 seed in Eastern Maine Class D, then was named the Bangor Daily News’ Eastern D tournament most valuable player after leading coach Gordon Faulkingham’s club to victories over Easton, Katahdin of Stacyville and Deer Isle-Stonington to earn the Royals their first regional championship since 1999.
Beal scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as Jonesport-Beals capped off its season by overwhelming Forest Hills of Jackman 83-45 in the state final played at the Augusta Civic Center. With that win, he became a third-generation state champion from his family. His father, Lindell, played on Jonesport-Beals’ 1985 Class D state championship team while his grandfather, Stanley Beal, played on the 1951 and 1952 state championship teams at Beals High School.
A Bangor Daily News third-team All-Maine selection and all-tournament choice as a sophomore, Garet Beal averaged 22.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, 3.8 steals, 3.6 assists and 1.6 blocks per game this winter. He also shot 61.5 percent from the field, 46.7 percent from 3-point range and 81.2 percent from free-throw line.
Off the court, Beal has an A-minus average in the classroom and serves as a member of the Jonesport-Beals student council. In addition to donating his time on behalf of the National Honor Society, he has volunteered as a mentor to elementary school pupils and as part of both community fundraisers and cleanup efforts.
“Garet is a dream to coach,” said Faulkingham. “He’s a coach on the floor, the first to practice and the last to leave. He’s too unselfish at times and a great teammate.”
Now a finalist for the Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year award, Beal joins Tyler McFarland (2010-11, Camden Hills of Rockport), Stefano Mancini (2009-10, Falmouth), Thomas Knight (2008-09, Dirigo of Dixfield), Ryan Martin (2007-08, Maranacook of Readfield) and Troy Barnies (2006-07, Edward Little of Auburn) among Maine’s list of former award winners.
The player of the year selection process is administered by ESPNHS and the Gatorade high school sports leadership team, which work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners.