BANGOR, Maine — Five of the top 10 players recognized on the 58th annual Bangor Daily News All-Maine schoolboy basketball team are juniors and sophomores, suggesting a bright future for the sport next winter.
But leading this year’s group of honorees is senior guard Garet Beal of Jonesport-Beals, back on the All-Maine squad for the third straight year — and for the second time earning first-team accolades.
Other first teamers are senior guard Tanner Hyland of South Portland, junior guard Dustin Cole of Bonny Eagle of Standish and junior forwards Zach Gilpin of Hampden Academy and Isaiah Bess of Penquis Valley of Milo.
The BDN All-Maine team recognizes the top 15 players statewide regardless of class, position or region as selected by the BDN sports staff with input from coaches, officials and other basketball observers.
Second-team selections are senior guard Mitchell Worcester of Washburn, senior centers John Murray of Medomak Valley of Waldoboro and Aaron Todd of York and sophomore forwards Kyle Bouchard of Houlton and Jack Simonds of Falmouth.
Third-team honorees are senior forwards Labson Abwoch of Deering of Portland, Spencer Carey of Lawrence of Fairfield, Quin Leary of Edward Little of Auburn and Garrett Libby of Old Town and senior guard Anthony DiMauro of Boothbay.
Beal ranked among the state’s top scorers while averaging just 24 minutes per game in helping Jonesport-Beals to an undefeated regular season.
The four-year starter also set school records with 55 points in a game and his career total of 1,686 points.
Beal subsequently was named the state’s Mr. Basketball and also was recognized as Maine’s Gatorade Boys Basketball Player of the Year for the second straight season.
“As good a player as he is, Garet is even a better person,” said Jonesport-Beals coach Gordon Faulkingham.
Beal will continue his basketball career at the University of Maine on an athletic scholarship.
Cole, a second-team BDN All-Maine choice a year ago, helped Bonny Eagle make its third straight trip to the Western A final.
Cole led the Southwestern Maine Activities Association in scoring and assists and was named the conference’s player of the year.
“This year he added size and muscle and more quickness, which allowed him to be more durable and consistent throughout the season,” said Dan LeGage, who recently stepped down as head coach at Deering of Portland. “His court vision improved tremendously, and because of the overall improvement in the aforementioned areas — coupled with his uncanny ability to get to the rim and make shots from beyond the arc — he virtually became unguardable.”
Cole, who already has 1,296 career points, is being recruited by numerous Division I college programs.
Gilpin’s versatility was pivotal as unbeaten Hampden Academy won its first Class A title since 2005.
“Zach is a phenomenal athlete with an incredible jump shot,” said Edward Little coach Mike Adams. “He shoots the mid-range shot as well as anyone. His size and athleticism make him an incredibly difficult matchup as he will post smaller defenders and overpower them and blow by bigger defenders on the perimeter.”
Named Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A North most valuable player, Gilpin also was selected MVP of the Eastern A tournament and scored a game-high 23 points in the state final as Hampden edged South Portland 45-41.
“Not only was Zach our leading scorer and rebounder, he was also an emotional leader for us,” said Hampden coach Russ Bartlett. “When we needed him to step up and carry our team offensively, he did. There is no better example of this than the state final against South Portland.”
Hyland was a first-team All-SMAA choice, then was named the Western A tourney MVP after averaging 23.3 points in three postseason games — including 30 points in the final as South Portland outlasted Bonny Eagle 56-52 to win its first regional crown since 1993.
Hyland then scored 17 points in the state final, including 15 in the second half to lead a comeback bid that fell just short against Hampden Academy.
“Tanner made his teammates better with his fantastic point guard play,” said South Portland coach Phil Conley. “When we needed a big shot, Tanner came through for us.”
Bess was an explosive offensive presence on a defensive-minded Penquis team.
An honorable mention All-Maine choice in 2012, Bess was a first-team Penobscot Valley Conference all-star and an Eastern C all-tournament selection for the second straight season — this year earning tourney MVP honors.
Bess, who scored his 1,000th career point in the regional quarterfinals, scored a game-high 27 points as the Patriots defeated Boothbay 61-54 to win their first state title since 2000.
“Isaiah works so hard at his game, he plays year-round,” said recently retired Penquis coach Tony Hamlin. “He always plays well in the big games, and he’s got an unlimited upside.”
Bouchard played with the strength of a power forward and the finesse of a point guard in leading Houlton to the Eastern C final for the second straight year.
An honorable mention All-Maine choice as a freshman, Bouchard earned All-Aroostook and All-Penobscot Valley Conference first-team honors this winter, then gained Eastern C all-tourney recognition for the second straight year after averaging 23.0 points in three postseason games.
“He is a total team player, and in most games he had to guard the opposing team’s best player,” said Houlton coach Rob Moran. “He led by example, playing hurt much of the year and always working hard. He’s a tremendous practice player as well.”
Worcester capped off one of the most prolific scoring careers in Maine high school basketball history as the Mr. Basketball finalist completed his four varsity seasons at Washburn with 2,297 points.
Worcester, previously a two-time All-State honorable mention selection, earned All-Aroostook honors for the fourth straight season and this winter was named to the Eastern D all-tournament team for the third time.
“There’s no question he’s got a lot of God-given talent,” said Washburn coach Randy Norsworthy, “but Mitch’s drive and desire to make himself better is way above normal.”
Worcester plans to attend the University of Maine this fall.
Murray’s inside presence helped Medomak Valley win the Eastern B championship.
The 6-foot-8-inch center was a finalist for the state’s Mr. Basketball award, as well as KVAC Class B player of the year and a conference all-star for the third straight season. He also was voted Eastern B tourney MVP after leading the Panthers to their first regional title since 1980.
“I think John took his game to a different level this year,” said Medomak Valley coach Nick DePatsy. “He is a very unselfish player who has helped make the players around him better, and he will do anything for the team in order for the team to be successful.”
Todd staked his claim as one of the state’s top post players regardless of class as he averaged double figures in both scoring and rebounding to lead York to the Western B final.
Todd was named a Western Maine Conference all-star for the third straight year and subsequently was selected the Western B tournament’s outstanding player-sportsman.
“He has the ability to dominate a game in the paint, yet he has the skills to step outside and make the perimeter shot,” said Falmouth coach David Halligan. “He is a difficult matchup for opposing defenses. He is an outstanding rebounder and passer and was instrumental in York’s transition offense. Aaron has the ability to play at the next level.”
Simonds helped Falmouth win the Class B state championship, as the 6-foot-5 sophomore led the balanced Yachtsmen in scoring during the regular season while ranking second in rebounding and assists.
The first-team Western Maine Conference all-star scored a team-high 19 points — including five 3-pointers — as Falmouth avenged its only loss by defeating York in the Western B final, then scored 15 of his game-high 21 points in the first half to propel the Yachtsmen past Medomak Valley in the state final.
“[Simonds] is the type of player that quietly destroys an opponent on both ends of the floor,” said DePatsy. “He is very smart and disciplined and another player who makes players around him better. He’s a very tough matchup for teams because of his size and his ability to shoot, get to the rim and play inside.”
Abwoch led Deering in scoring and rebounding and also was one of southern Maine’s premier shot blockers.
The first-team SMAA all-star also enhanced his versatility during his senior season, finding success near the basket, on the perimeter and in Deering’s transition game as the Rams finished with a 15-4 record.
Carey led Lawrence to the brink of the Eastern A championship before the Bulldogs fell to Hampden Academy at the buzzer.
The third-year starter led all Eastern A players in steals, a reflection of the defensive mindset that has the two-time first-team KVAC Class A North all-star and Mr. Basketball semifinalist heading to the University of Maine as a potential free safety for the Black Bears’ football team.
Leary was named KVAC Class A South player of the year after leading Edward Little to a 16-2 regular-season record and a berth in the Eastern Maine Class A semifinals.
The 6-foot-2 forward also was named to the KVAC all-defensive team as well as a semifinalist for Mr. Basketball and plans to attend Bates College this fall.
DiMauro was a four-year starting point guard for Boothbay who finished his career with 1,047 points while also leading the Seahawks in assists during each of his varsity years.
A Mr. Basketball semifinalist and two-time Mountain Valley Conference first-team all-star, DiMauro led Boothbay to its first regional title since 2007.
Libby was named Big East Conference player of the year for the second straight season after helping Old Town earn an Eastern B playoff berth.
Libby led the conference in scoring while shooting 48 percent from the field, 36 percent from beyond the arc and 78 percent from the free-throw line. The Mr. Basketball semifinalist plans to play next winter at Maine Maritime Academy.