The dust has finally settled from the weeklong drama that is the Eastern Maine basketball tournament, with only two undefeated teams remaining in the region as state championship preparation gets under way.
Click here for a complete list of BDN Eastern Maine Girls All-Tourney Teams from 1977 – 2008
The winners of the Owen Osborne Most Valuable Player awards are big reasons why, as Messalonskee of Oakland’s Hannah Dexter in Class A, Waterville’s Morgan Frame in Class B, Maddie Park of George Stevens in Blue Hill in Class C and Woodland’s Ariel Knights in Class D all came up big when their respective teams needed them in the postseason.
Waterville’s Frame was the only unanimous choice, while Park got all but two votes, with teammate Stevie Theoharidis garnering the others.
The MVP award was established in 1994 in memory of Osborne, a former BDN sports editor and reporter. The award and BDN all-tourney teams, which are listed below by classification, are selected by a vote of media, tourney officials and representatives of the Maine Principals’ Association.
Class B: Frame is arguably the toughest matchup one-on-one in the state, and the 6-foot-1 senior showcased those talents in leading the Purple Panthers to their third straight regional crown.
Joining Frame on the squad are teammate Jen Nale, John Bapst of Bangor’s Sam Gormley, Sarah Porter of Presque Isle and Winslow’s Meghan Pelletier.
Frame certainly made a statement in Waterville’s quarterfinal, pouring in 29 points and hauling down 20 rebounds in a convincing victory over Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln.
Frame followed that up with 15 rebounds to go with eight points in a semifinal triumph over Mount View of Thorndike, then saved her best game for last, the regional final against John Bapst of Bangor.
Frame dominated the post, dropping in 36 points on 16-for-21 shooting while grabbing eight boards and adding six steals.
She wound up averaging a double-double (23.3 points, 14.3 rebounds) for the tourney.
While Frame has been Miss Inside for the Panthers during their 65-game winning streak, Nale has been Miss Outside.
The 5-11 junior guard canned four first-half 3-pointers in Waterville’s quarterfinal victory, sending officials and media members alike scrambling for their programs to see if she had a shot at the Class B single-game record, held by Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield’s Amanda Leavitt and MA’s Michelle Paul (six).
Nale scored 15 points in the quarterfinal win over the Lynx, then led all scorers with 17 points in the semis while contributing 11 more in the regional final.
Nale would up averaging 14.3 points per game, with her outside play taking a lot of pressure off of Frame in the post.
Gormley was a huge reason why John Bapst of Bangor lost only two games during the regular season and gave Waterville a run for its money in the second half of the Class B title game.
The 6-foot senior center led the Crusaders in scoring during their tourney run, averaging 14 ppg, including 17 in a quarterfinal victory over Winslow.
She came up with several key rebounds in a physical semifinal game with Presque Isle, hauling down 13 boards to go with 13 points in a 37-26 victory over the rival Wildcats.
Porter was a sound presence both inside and out in helping Presque Isle, which won only six games in 2007-08, reach the regional semifinals.
The 5-8 senior forward came up big for coach Jeff Hudson’s Wildcats in the stretch run and during the season, particularly after classmate Kayla Legassie went down with a knee injury.
Porter was one of three PI players in double figures with 14 points in a quarterfinal triumph over Medomak Valley of Waldoboro while keeping the Wildcats in striking distance with 12 points in the semifinals against John Bapst, including 10 in the second half.
Pelletier had Winslow fans thinking upset in the quarterfinals against John Bapst, as she led her team with 16 points and 15 rebounds.
The 6-1 forward is only a freshman, so hoop fans can expect plenty of noise from her down the road.
Class C: Park, a 5-10 senior guard, was consistent in leading the Eagles to their first regional championship since 2000.
With Park on the Class C team are teammate Theoharidis, Andi Flannery of Washington Academy in East Machias, Courtney Hill of Calais and Taylor Seeley of WA.
Park averaged a solid 12.6 ppg during the tourney, and joined forces with teammates Emily Peake and Lydia Clapp to shut down Fort Kent sharpshooter Emily Pelletier in a quarterfinal victory.
Park scored 17 points in that game while contributing eight in a semifinal win over upset-minded Orono while tallying 13 in the regional final against Washington Academy.
Theoharidis was a vital offensive presence for GSA in the semifinals and finals, scoring a game-high 15 points on 6-12 shooting in the 49-30 win over Orono while leading all scorers again in the championship game, this time with 17.
Theoharidis was also the Eagles’ most consistent free-throw shooter, going 9-12 in GSA’s final two games.
She was also 10-12 from the foul line in the contest.
Flannery’s presence down low was vital in the Raiders’ run to the regional championship game.
The 5-8 junior forward averaged 13.3 ppg during the tourney, and shot a strong 8-15 from the free-throw line in a 48-42 semifinal victory over top-ranked Calais.
Teammate Seeley, a 5-9 sophomore, joined forces with Flannery in the paint for Washington Academy.
She made a mark in her first game, scoring a game-best 28 points while grabbing 15 rebounds, including nine offensive in a victory over Penquis of Milo.
Seeley added 13 points in the victory over the Blue Devils while leading her team with 14 points in the regional final against George Stevens.
Hill, a 5-4 senior guard, helped the Blue Devils to the No. 1 seed in the region.
She went 10-10 from the foul line in the semifinals against WA while spearheading a balanced attack in a quarterfinal win over Houlton.
Class D: Knights, a 5-8 junior guard for coach Arnie Clark’s Dragons, played her heart out after missing the last five games of the regular season with a finger injury.
Joining Knights is fellow Dragon Molly White, Amanda Hotham of Fort Fairfield, Shelby Searles of Lubec and Washburn’s Rachel Palmer.
Knights averaged a solid 9.7 ppg in the Dragons’ balanced offense, while playing a key role defensively and on the backboards for Woodland.
Knights scored six points in the regional title game against Fort Fairfield while scoring in double figures in the quarterfinals and semis.
While she only averaged 7.0 ppg, White is another vital key to a Woodland defense that pressures the ball soundly.
She fueled a Dragons’ attack that forced 31 turnovers against Lubec, 29 in the first half alone against Washburn in the semis and 30 against Fort Fairfield in the regional final.
Hotham, only a freshman, showed the maturity of an upperclassmen in spearheading Fort Fairfield’s remarkable run to the Eastern Maine final.
She scored in double figures in all three games for the Tigers, averaging 16.3 ppg, grabbing 19 rebounds in a quarterfinal win over Bangor Christian while shooting 23-28 from the foul line.
Searles, one of the top individual talents in Class D, fueled Lubec’s run to the Bangor Auditorium.
She and the Hornets gave heavily favored Woodland all it could handle in the quarterfinals, scoring a game-high 24 points while contributing six rebounds.
Palmer, one of the premier post players in the region, showcased her abilities down low while leading the fifth-ranked Beavers into the semifinals.
The 6-foot senior racked up 20 points, 16 rebounds and four blocked shots in a quarterfinal triumph over Central Aroostook of Mars Hill.
Class A: Dexter’s perimeter shooting helped open up lanes to the basket for Messalonskee’s frontcourt players. The junior guard opened the tournament with a team-high 18 points in a quarterfinal victory over Leavitt of Turner Center, including 11 in the first quarter to stake the Eagles to a 22-12 lead.
Joining Dexter are teammates Kaitlyn Deering and Holly Oliver, Skowhegan’s Kaley Brown and Kayla Cummings of Edward Little in Auburn.
Dexter then connected on six 3-pointers and scored 22 points as Messalonskee edged second-ranked Edward Little in the semifinals. Her 3-point shooting outburst was just one shy of the Eastern A single-game record set by Dawn Anne Higgins of Lawrence of Fairfield in 1991.
Dexter added seven points while being the focus of defensive attention in the regional final.
Deering was Messalonskee’s most consistent inside scorer while helping the Eagles to their first regional title since winning the 1987 Class B state crown. She scored in double figures in each game, including 17 points in the quarterfinals.
Brown was a formidable presence in the low post while leading top-ranked Skowhegan to the regional final for the fourth time in the last six years. She led the Indians in scoring both in a semifinal win over defending champion Oxford Hills of South Paris with 14 points and nine rebounds, and in the final with 10 points and five rebounds against Messalonskee.
Oliver produced some of the timeliest big plays of the tournament with a big fourth quarter in the regional final. She had a basket and assist during a key 6-0 run that gave Messalonskee the lead for good against Skowhegan, then clinched the victory with four straight free throws in the game’s final 46 seconds.